This week not only began a New Year but saw some record breaking cold weather return to the mountains with wind chill dropping well below zero.
With this, Eblen Charities in partnership with Buncombe County Health and Human Services have expanded our heating assistance programs and extending our office hours to 7:00 PM on Tuesday nights throughout the winter.
With the increasing number of families that we have seen over the past few months. But there is quite a bit more to the story than room allowed to tell.
There are two important points that are the hallmark to what was written earlier that should always be a reminder to me and our entire community about those who work for the benefit of others.
The first is the outstanding job that our staff and volunteers does each day as they see and talk to our clients as they come in and call. Their job is far from being easy as everyone they see is in need and many times the need seems almost insurmountable. This isn’t an occasional instance. It is everyone they see all day, all week, all month, and all year.
It is far from being easy.
What amazes me most about our staff and volunteers is the dedication, determination, resourcefulness, and the kindness they show to those who call upon them. Of course we all have our bad days, and some days are much better than others, but to see our folks push past bad days to serve our clients can at times be a heroic feat in itself.
They are, indeed, the heart and soul of Eblen Charities.
Our intake staff of Brenda Wheeler, Sandy Kennedy, Linda Enis, Terry Johnson, Sue Renison, and Louise Hickman, kathy Conley, Deborah Burlage, Kam Drummond, Pam Hitesman, with Deputy Director Susan Riddle and our tremendous volunteers who see our clients at times nonstop, talk with them, finds out their needs, and offers assistance.
Sometimes it is as simple as a tank of gas, a prescription, or a pair of eye glasses; and at other times, it is finding a way for a family to remain in their home, help them travel to a hospital for medical care, or other emergency needs.
Whether the need seems large or small to us, we are aware that each need is vitally important to the family before us and is handled with thought, care, and compassion. Without our staff and volunteers and their dedication, none of our work could be done.
I know that they don’t do any of this for thanks, but they have earned and deserve our community’s gratitude.
But along with them the story isn’t complete without the other part of the Eblen staff who work just as tirelessly on making sure that our families are taken care of. Event and program coordinator Amanda Putnam, financial office staff Ruby Eure, Sue Spanton, Roberta Irby, Jordyn Cond, and Rhonda DeVan, community liaison Bill Waddell, and media outreach coordinator Eddie Gumm all bring extraordinary commission, skills, and talents to help those who are less fortunate.
The other important point has to do with numbers. We are seeing more as many as 100 plus families a day. Numbers are important, they in some way, validate the effectiveness of our outreach.
They show our supporters, donors, and partners the amount of work we are doing for those in times of difficulty in our community.
But the most important thing about these numbers is a simple fact. If large numbers are impressive, it should only be because they are made of small numbers. We should never loose sight that the numbers, no matter how large, are made up of the number “one”. One client, one child, one mother, one father, one family. In so many cases the total is more important than the individual members.
It is just the opposite with the Eblen Charities; the individual members are vastly more important than any total number that we report.
As always, I think Mother Teresa said it best, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But if the drop was not there, I think that the ocean would be less by missing that drop. We don’t have to think in numbers. We can only love one person at a time-serve one person at a time.”
Come and join us…