Archives for August 2012

Go Local

We are bombarded with organizations and non-profits asking for support on a daily basis. Every time we open a magazine, turn on the TV, or scroll through a website, numbers and catchy tag-lines jump out and grab our attention. Each message is trying to connect with our unique passions and interests and draw us to their mission. It is a vortex of good intentions.

I’m not complaining. I see no reason why we wouldn’t support multiple causes — we all know how many issues are facing this planet right now — but there are a few reasons why I think you should consider making MACC one of the primary causes you support. Here are a few thoughts:

  1. We are a local effort engaging world-wide crises. Poverty, hunger and homelessness are not unique to Manchester, but the best way to meet basic emergency needs is by beginning in our own back yard. People in Africa are hungry and so are people on Main Street in Manchester. Support both.
  2. Your dollar goes far with us. By the time we calculate the impact of your dollar, we have taken into account the constant food donations, volunteer hours and financial support we receive. This is why we tell you that “$11 a week can feed a family of 4!” 
  3. You live here. Poverty affects people in this immediate area. Our reach covers Manchester, Bolton, South Windsor and Glastonbury…that is over 100,000 people who live here who have the opportunity to participate and make a difference locally.
  4. We can do it. Surely, with over 100,000 people in these towns, we could meet the needs of a minority who are suffering from homelessness, hunger and poverty. There is strength in numbers but there is change when those numbers commit to changing their community. 

I don’t just believe in MACC because I work here, I believe in MACC because we make a difference. We make a difference every day as we help people back to their feet. We make a difference as we break through stereotypes. We make a difference as our community groups, churches and individuals give of their time, energy and resources to create change.

So, the questions remains, will you Join us?

– Nathan | Community Engagement Coordinator

Upcoming Events and Opportunities:

There is always a lot going on at MACC, so we want to keep you in the loop as to some of our upcoming events and volunteer opportunities:

  • On Saturday, Sept. 1st, there will be a food drive at a New Britain Rockcats game. To get in, tickets are $6 and a portion of each ticket goes to MACC! There will be a post-game fireworks show and it begins at 7:00 pm. Bring some non-perishable food items and enjoy a night of fun for the whole family! For more info, visit The Birthday Club.
  • On Saturday Sept. 8th, there is going to be a Zumba-thon! For those of you who enjoy Zumba or want to learn more, this is going to be a benefit class that begins at 10 am. The cost is $10 in advance and $15 at the door, with a portion of the proceeds going to the MACC Pantry. The location is at 374 Tolland Tpke., Vernon. For more information, please email Anelmy at anelmy@sbcglobal.net. 
  • The Hebron Renaissance Faire is going to be kicking off on Sept. 29th and running on each weekend until October 28th. We have a table near the entrance to collect financial and food donations but we need volunteers to help run it! The hours are from 11am-6pm. To volunteer at this event, email maccserves@gmail.com
  • Burton’s Wine Dinner: on Sept 16th at 6pm, Burton’s is hosting a wine dinner for $100 per person with a significant portion of the cost to go directly to MACC. The food a drink promise to be incredible, so be sure to reserve a seat before they sell out! 

Mark these dates and, as always, email us if you have any questions: maccserves@gmail.com

 

FAMILY4FAMILY

This past weekend, at SUMMERSTOCK 2012, we launched a new initiative called FAMILY4FAMILY. It’s pretty simple actually: we are handing out assembled boxes for families to collect money together for other families in our immediate community who are in need.

The front text on the box talks about the $11 a week it takes to feed a family of four and the need for communities to come together to help other families who might not be able to afford their own groceries and meals. If you can hit $11 a week as a family, great! If not, you need to remember that no donation is too small.

One of our shelter guests was recently telling us that he never walks by a penny. “Some people tell me, ‘It’s just a penny’, but I always say that a hundred pennies is a buck!” It’s true.

If you didn’t get a box at Summerstock, our office is packed with them! You can pick a bunch up for you, your neighborhood, your MOPS group, your church, or your school. We can also mail them to you if you are unable to come by our location.

The name FAMILY4FAMILY is important because we believe that one family who has $11 a week can help a family who doesn’t have it. It also came from the Allstate commercial which says, “Dollar for dollar, nobody protects you from mayhem like Allstate.” We thought, “Family for family, nothing protects our community from poverty like unity.”

SUMMERSTOCK Video

We wanted to publicly thank all of our volunteers and guests who showed up this past Saturday, August 18th for our first SUMMERSTOCK event! If you still haven’t caught wind about what SUMMERSTOCK is, you can read this post.

The forecast called for rain the entire week leading up to the event but Saturday ended up being warm, sunny and beautiful! Enjoy this 5-minute video from the event:[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNmHoASCKqk]

Our volunteers were simply amazing and represented a variety of local churches and community groups. Many came early and stayed late, working as a team to make sure the event was a success from beginning to end.

The band who joined us, The Dale Project, did a fantastic job and created a fun atmosphere for balloon tossing and face painting. We saw lots of guests enjoying the ice cream donated by Highland Park Market and the popcorn and cotton candy run by volunteers.

Families got to stock our shelves together and many people brought generous donations of food to help fill our shelves for these remaining Summer months.

In summary, this event was a blast and we are deeply grateful to every business, individual and family that supported, volunteered, and attended our event.

Enjoy the video and feel free to share it as much as you want!

We’ll also post it on Facebook.

 

Us

There wasn’t anything special about this night. It was getting dark — as it always does near the end of the day — and I was sitting with one of our clients. The shelter guests had been checked in and were about their own business watching TV, waiting for dinner, showering, talking…

Then I heard my name. It sounded familiar, though I couldn’t place the voice. A client stepped closer and I recognized her face as she said, “I used to work under you, as a CNA.”

That was a tough moment. I never really expected to see someone I recognized — let alone used to manage in a professional environment — walk up to me as a client in a shelter for homeless individuals. It wasn’t a moment of judgement, it was a moment of stark contrast between the world of delusion and the world of reality.

There are painful and dehumanizing stereotypes around homelessness. Many people never get beyond the word “Bum” and the implications of a bottom-feeding, withering soul; a body passing most days inebriated or in a coma. Yet, here was a living and breathing example that shattered every stereotype about the poor. The reality is that life hit someone I knew — hard — and now she was working her way up.

Some people assume that the homeless are a group of aimless wanderers with no interest or  desire to return to a state of normalcy, that somehow there is a sadistic joy that flourishes under pervasive loneliness, hurt, and fear. Reality proved this wrong again. Within a few short months, I was contacted by this client and once employee. She had received the necessary treatment that allowed her to return to housing and was proudly an employed citizen. She hasn’t been back to a shelter since.

Our words hold too much weight to throw around damaging terms. Our thoughts, when allowed to run without restraint, can quickly develop false concepts around the homeless. We pick up on stereotypes from the media, or from a personal experience that reinforced a pre-existing negative label. Our goal at MACC is to break through these and reveal that we are dealing with people…not “hobos”, not “bums”, not “them”.

This is about “us”. This is about community because it takes everyone linking arms to break through misconceptions and restore human dignity to an outcast and overlooked population. Donating is helpful, volunteering is good, but changing your thoughts and ideas and becoming an advocate for the poor is even better.

Join us.

– A MACC Staff Member

Olympic Lessons

Winning needs to be redefined. It is a good thing to applaud the accomplishments of one person, but it is even better to revere the moments where people depend on one-another to accomplish a common goal.

This past week, the Olympic stadium in London thundered with applause as an injured hurdler decided to finish the race. He kissed the last hurdle, crossed the finish line and hobbled into the embrace and support of other Olympic athletes. The moment of defeat became an iconic victory that will be remembered for generations.

Victory is not always about winning gold, sometimes it is about rising from the ashes to meet the goal amidst searing pain. The thing to keep in mind is that these types of victories are not accomplished alone. This athlete probably would have simply walked away from the goal if there was no cheering crowd. Just like our hurdler, our neighbors who are deemed “disqualified” need the support of their immediate community to cross the line.

At MACC, we’re all about victory. It might not be a pretty process, but we are committed to providing the resources and encouragement to help our neighbors meet their goal. There may be no shining gold medal, but we can win the prize. When we clothe a family who lost all of their belongings in a fire, we win. When we keep an elderly woman from freezing in her house by keeping her heat on, we win. When we make it so a family can afford to eat, we win.

This is what victory looks like.

This is what community looks like.

Liu Xiang – Time Images

Thirty Seconds

Read this on the Manchester Patch:
There is an advertisement circulating the airwaves right now which leaves the audience with a question: “What can we do with 30 seconds?” The commercial has a variety of options which include beginning to learn electric guitar or creating a new language with a friend. Better ideas exist.Though the suggestions in the ad fall short of the potential energy wrapped in the message, we can develop our own list to answer the question. Here are a few ideas: in 30 seconds, we can make someone laugh. In 30 seconds, we can speak words of hope into someone’s life. In 30 seconds we can turn someone’s day around. In 30 seconds, we can speak up about an issue or donate to a cause. Even more, in 30 seconds, we can change the course of a life.

When we begin to think in terms of important phrases, taking action, keywords, and eye contact, 30 seconds begins to seem like a long time. A lot can happen in a half of a minute. Let’s take this a step further from “What can we do with 30 seconds” to “What will we do with 30 seconds?”

At MACC Charities, we have myriad half-minutes that intersect opportunities where a few words and some eye contact can completely change someone’s day or week. As James Murray — author of “The Emptiness of Our Hands” — suggests, sometimes the best gift you can give to the underprivileged is eye contact. Around here, 30 seconds hold tremendous potential and we believe this is true for the world outside of our efforts in Manchester.

Let’s unleash the potential of a half-minute together by considering what we will to do next time one arrives, ready to burst at the seams with hope, dignity, love and peace. Don’t let the moment pass you by. Make the choice to rise above your comfort and think about how much good can happen in such a short period of time.

If you want to have direct impact at MACC, take a half-minute to donate: $11 a week can feed a family. Or come and volunteer with us! Use some of your half-minutes here to make eye contact and have uplifting and hopeful conversations. However you choose to spend your time, we encourage you to go beyond creating funny languages and explore the world of potential that is before you.

site by waldenponddesign.com