The Food Bank distributes food, including fresh produce, to more than 650,000 people experiencing food insecurity in 34 counties in central and eastern N.C., which is about 19,000 square miles. Their mission is: No one goes hungry in Central & Eastern North Carolina. They are a well-organized, well-run machine, consistently given a four star rating by Charity Navigator. They ensure that kids who rely on school meals still get food when school is out, in part through rural delivery systems that help to bring food to people who can’t get to a Food Bank branch. Their fleet of 19 trucks covered more than 543,000 miles last year. I’m giving money to the Food Bank because they can turn $1 into 5 meals, which I can’t do, and because you can’t buy gas for delivery trucks with cans of tuna.
SAFEchild is a child abuse prevention agency, developed by the Junior League of Raleigh to help fill a gap in Wake County services. Their mission is to eliminate child abuse in Wake County by helping adults and children create nurturing environments free from abuse and neglect. They offer a variety of services, including a Welcome Baby program, “Funny Tummy Feelings” to help teach first graders how to protect themselves from abuse, parent education programs and an advocacy center. The Advocacy Center helps abused children with a team of doctors, county agents, police officers and more, all working together to find a solution to heal, to stop the cycle of abuse, and move forward. I’m giving them money because I truly believe that if we can stop the cycle of abuse – all kinds of abuse – in our families then maybe we can stop the abuse we commit on each other.
I also chose these two because both of these are organizations whose services could have benefitted me, but I didn’t seek them out because I didn’t think I could. There have been times that, like 77% of households in America, I’ve had to choose between providing food for my family or paying utilities. There have been times where I’ve needed help and not spoken up for fear of being told, “Just get a better job” or “Maybe don’t send your kid to an expensive school?” There have been times that I’ve thought about how much a trip to a food bank would help, but I remind myself that I’m way better off than many and so I don’t.
There have also been times where the constant screaming of my toddler has sent me screaming into my own pillow with frustration and anxiety. When I hid my postpartum depression and anxiety so well I even convinced myself it wasn’t happening. There have been times that I wish I could have spoken up to someone about my struggles without fear that they would label me crazy.
The Food Bank and SAFEChild aren’t just for poor people, for single mothers, for the homeless, for abusive parents. There isn’t one face of someone who needs these services, no one race or religion or income or life situation that exclusively requires this kind of assistance, nor deserves it more than anyone else. They are here for me. And for you. Please support them today as part of Giving Tuesday, or consider making them the recipients of any annual donations your family makes.
Please join me in supporting these organizations, who work to nourish families and give everyone – no matter where they’ve come from, where they are now, or where they’re headed – an equal, fighting chance in the world. And when you reach to give, don’t give because the people who need these services are different from you. Give because they’re the same.