Fall. It’s here. It’s amazing. The leaves are turning colors, lots of them are already on the ground, and that fabulous fall weather with low humidity, azure blue skies, and still-decent hours of sunlight, too.
As beautiful as the fall is, it brings with it the threat of winter. Not so long ago, winter was a harsh and scary time for families, as many things that winter brought with it, such as food scarcity, illness, and extreme weather, were considerably more difficult to overcome than they are today.
Though we have made great strides in overcoming the obstacles that winter offers up each year, there are still many for whom winter is a tough time. It costs money to heat one’s living space, to buy winter coats, and to keep the pantry stocked with food for warm meals. It costs money to salt the walkway when it snows, to put snow tires on the car so one can get to work and school safely, and extra trips to the gas station, as fuel economy dips along with the thermometer.
For people already living close to the edge, the added expenditures of winter can quickly mean the difference between paying the heating bill and buying a new coat for a child whose old one is too short in the sleeves and too tight in the shoulders. It could mean the difference between paying for produce (now at premium prices, as the local growing season is over) and paying for proteins (the most expensive part of most meals).
So, with these and other hardships in mind, we are preparing to do our part to help out those for whom these choices may be all too real. One way we are helping is through our Note in a Coat drive. In the event, clean and gently worn coats are collected throughout the county; inspirational notes are tucked into the pockets; and the coats are then distributed to people who need them. Children’s coats are especially needed. Public collection sites are Andover Cleaners and Tailors, Betty Brite Cleaners of Sussex, E & A Cleaners and Tailors, First Hope Bank—Sparta, Franklin Dry Cleaners, Lafayette Dry Cleaners, and Vernon Plaza Cleaners.
Another event that Pass It Along is running that assists those in the winter months is Family Volunteer Day. Family Volunteer Day brings Thanksgiving to tables that would otherwise lack a traditional holiday meal. Families, teams, clubs, and other groups are encouraged to “adopt” a family in need by bringing all the nonperishable parts of the meal and a frozen turkey to the event day. The entire meal is then boxed up, the box is decorated, place mats and cards are created for the meal, and other activities to support the recipients of the meals are completed. After the volunteers depart, the families come that same day to receive their Thanksgiving meal. I can almost guarantee that thankfulness at your Thanksgiving will likely be on a different level if you choose to participate in the Family Volunteer Day event.
Think about it. Many hands are needed—are yours willing to help?
–Maren Morsch, AmeriCorps Program Associate