A message from our CEO, Tracy Maki
“You are my first place to call. We appreciate all you do and the chances you are taking…”
This is a voicemail from an individual who accesses our programs and it’s just one more reason we do all we can to keep providing food to those who need it right now. In our 37 years, we’ve expanded programming, knowing that nourishing food – while it solves a lot – does not solve everything. Our full spectrum of basic needs services – from food to clothing to client services – does indeed make us the first place to call for many in our communities.
As an organization, we are well-positioned to adapt to the uncertainty of a COVID-19 world. Our mission is timeless: We help people move their lives forward through basic needs services and personalized support. What may not be as obvious is our commitment to welcoming everyone who comes to us in need, no matter what their circumstance. We know everybody needs help sometimes.
The words “self-sufficient,” a concept that is popular in the United States, take on new meaning as many of us are furloughed, experience job losses or pay cuts. People are not made to be self-sufficient. We’re recognizing it’s a false narrative as we miss many of our daily human interactions and adjust to connecting in a more distant way. We thrive in community with one another and there is no shame in needing help. Very few of us provide what we need for our families with no outside resources and no external assistance. Our lives are more complicated than we realize, and we have a huge dependency on systems over which we have no control.
So what can we do in this time of change? I’d ask everyone to focus on more humility and self-awareness. Practice kindness and offer compassion instead of judgment. Focus on what it means to be a welcoming community. You or someone you know, never in need of food support or social services before, could be the next voicemail we receive.
Aside from intentional, personal actions, we invite you to sign up to volunteer with us. Our website has more information. I offer deep gratitude for the decades of support and generosity given to Valley Outreach by this community. You have created, through us, greater resiliency in our valley.
We are here if you need us.
Tracy Maki, CEO, Valley Outreach