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

 

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

Summerstock Volunteers

We are really excited about our upcoming Summerstock event. The office is buzzing and we can’t wait for all the volunteers and families to come spend some time on the MACC campus.

To clear up any potential confusion, the official Summerstock time is Saturday, August 18th, from 1:00-3:30pm.

As with any MACC event, we don’t want to do this without you, so we are posting a list of Summerstock volunteer opportunities. We hope there will be a position you will consider serving in to help make this event a success. Please comment on this post or email us to get involved.

  • Hot Dog and Ice Cream Cart Volunteers: these volunteers will take orders, prepare the food, and serve the food. Each cart needs two volunteers.
  • Parking Volunteers: these volunteers will help direct vehicles to parking spots.
  • Mascot Volunteer: we need one or two people willing to “jump” into a kangaroo suit (generously donated by Kaburst) and pose for photos with kids.
  • Sign-in Table Volunteers: these volunteers gather emails and other info as well as help direct visitors to Summerstock events.
  • Pantry Volunteers: these volunteers either help families sort and stock food or help carry heavy donations from cars to the sorting room.

There are plenty of other opportunities for volunteering at Summerstock- please email Nathan, noldham@macc-ct.org, for more information.

MACC FACT

Virtual Volunteers

Some volunteers are unable to visit a non-profit but still wish to participate in the mission. Others simply offer a skill-set best utilized online. Either way, volunteers are no longer defined simply by their physical proximity to a non-profit. While many opportunities exist where people are needed on the ground, the social nature of technology has made it so that people are now able to participate in a cause from a distance.

We have been thinking about a name for those opportunists — those hidden between the screen pixels and airwaves — who want to give their time and skills to non-profits without needing to be in the same time zone (though many are). They are the rogue bloggers and online data analysts, the copy-writers and the graphic designers, the proofreaders and social media butterflies, the Excel gurus and the consultants; they are the virtual volunteers. 

These new virtual opportunities do not eliminate the need or decrease the significance of volunteers in community kitchens, pantries, shelters or offices, they simply create new ways for people to get involved. Some of the benefits of the virtual volunteer:

  • Virtual volunteers can work on projects on a flexible time schedule (no set hours). People who might otherwise have been unable to participate can now make time on their own to join the mission.
  • Virtual volunteers are often quick communicators.
  • Virtual volunteers might be from a new pool of unexplored networks.
  • Virtual volunteers bring new and unique skill-sets to many non-profits.
  • Virtual volunteers can fill vital gaps in many non-profit technology initiatives.

Being that non-profits and social service organizations are generating more online content and are increasingly aware of their marketing and branding needs, a gate into a new realm has been opened for the computer-savvy and tech-lovers, regardless of age or location. MACC is no exception.

We encourage you to contact us if you want to participate in our mission as a virtual volunteer.

Contact:

Nathan Oldham

noldham@macc-ct.org

860-942-4549

Teaching to Fish

When you think of MACC, you probably think about the food pantry and shelter or, perhaps, clothing. But the fourth part of our mission, advocacy, is equally important. This work promotes self-sufficiency, giving clients direction so they can be self-sufficient.

Advocacy can be quite rewarding, as reported by one of our volunteers, Roberta, who works in the Department of Advocacy and Support Services a couple days a week.

She had taken a call from a desperate client who needed to make a $140 payment to the electric company that day, May 9, or her electricity would be shut off. The client said she would have the money May 19, but the company refused to wait. Roberta gave the client the phone number of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), suggesting they might be able to intervene with the company on her behalf.

A few hours later, the client called back, happy and excited to thank Roberta. The DEEP had convinced the electric company to change the payment date to May 19. The client’s immediate problem was solved and, better yet, she learned how to advocate for herself.

We often don’t know when our clients have success with a utility or a SNAP application because we just don’t see them again, so it was extremely gratifying for Roberta.

This is what advocacy is all about. At the end of the day, we love helping when we are needed but , even more, we exist to teach people how to advocate for themselves.

________________________

To learn more about volunteer opportunities in advocacy or other areas of MACC, please send an email to jcampion@macc-ct.org, noldham@macc-ct.org or call at 860-647-8003.

You may have started to see the phrase “Join us.” written on various MACC materials. This is not just a catchy branding initiative, it is a firm belief that it takes a community-wide force to push back against desperation and poverty.

“Join us.” is a very different message than “Help us.” simply because we don’t want to exist as an organization where you come only when we are nearing the brink of desperation. The fact is that poverty is a tireless, day-in and day-out, relentless hope-killer. Our mission must not only match — but exceed — the weight and strength of the poverty that traps our neighbors. It takes a community of hopeful, determined, loving and passionate individuals to push back and restore hope. This is our burden to carry together.

MACC Charities has existed for years with a community that has understood what “Join us.” means. However, our pantry continues to swell with families and the elderly and our kitchen continues to plate food for the empty stomachs. The call to “Join us.” is as prevalent now as it ever was because poverty is not resting today. We don’t need you to merely fill an empty slot when we need it, we want you to recognize that there is always a need and it is our mission to meet those needs together.

So, will you “Join us.”? If you already have, will you consider spreading this message? There is no maximum capacity for this mission; there is always room.

We always have new and ongoing volunteer opportunities, upcoming events and a place to give to our mission.

https://macc-ct.org/join-us/

Upcoming Events: May 2012

Being that it is May 1st, we couldn’t wait to tell you about some of the upcoming events at MACC! Part of this list was in our most recent MACC Minute (our newsletter). If you want to join our mailing list, please contact us to receive the updates.

  • EXPO- This coming Saturday, there will be an EXPO held at Cheney Technical High School from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The entrance fee is simply one non-perishable food item which goes directly to MACC or a $1 donation which goes towards the fuel bank. You will have access to a wide variety of local businesses and services- the day promises to be an enjoyable, family-friendly event. We hope you come to support your community and to support MACC!
  • The national campaign Stamp Out Hunger is coming up on May 12th. Postal Workers will collect canned food which has been bagged and placed by a mailbox to then donate to local pantry that day (we happen to be one of those local pantries). Visit their website to learn more about the event.This is an event that can have long-lasting effects, especially when the community is aware of the opportunity! As you may know, this is the hardest time of year for our pantry. Food drives like this one keep our shelves stocked and families fed- we thank you in advance for your involvement, please contact us with any questions.
  • You are invited to participate in the 16th Annual Todd Abitz Golf Tournament as a golfer or a sponsor. This year, the tournament will be held at the Blackedge Country Club in Hebron, CT. There are going to be a wide variety of door and raffle prizes, a breakfast and dinner and plenty of entertainment. The profits from this event benefit MACC, HVCC and and the Men’s Club of Beth Sholom B’Nai Israel. For more information, please visit the event website.

We hope to see you at some- or all– of these events!

site by waldenponddesign.com