Tuesday Night, I went to a Gala. It was hosted by the HIT Foundation. Before I type another word, let me say this. We live in a small rural community. For us, here in little Preble County, to have an organization like the HIT Foundation, is an amazing gift within our community. If you do not know what the HIT Foundation is, or does, I urge you to find out. I also encourage you to join in their mission. They are helping our county in immeasurable ways, and touching people’s lives with everything they do.
So yes. Okay. The Gala. As you know, I am not a Gala kind of girl. First, those quintessential galas involve large amounts of people, and pleasant exchanges in casual conversation. While I am more than able to participate in this way, it is very hard for my brain to remain calm and focused. It is sort of like throwing a cat in a bathtub filled with ice-cold water. Oh sure, I can swim to the edge, but it really wears me out.
The Gala. The big question then, was what to wear to such an event. Galas can be large and sweeping, like Gone With the Wind. Scarlett O’Hara might show up in the draperies, for crying out loud. But here we are in Preble County, which can also be blue jeans, and baseball caps with John Deere logos. I landed somewhere in-between, with a pair of dress slacks and sweater.
As I walked into the gymnasium, at Eagles Point, the room was filled with more than 200 people, all mingling, and conversing, and snacking on those little meatballs, and cocktail weenies wrapped in pastry. But mostly, everyone, was there for the Cause: Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week 2017 — A Fundraising Gala hosted by the HIT Foundation.
Throughout the night, there were several keynote speakers. Each one stood up at the podium, and offered a thoughtful perspective, and a glimpse of what it is like to hungry, and homeless. Not only in Preble County, but across our nation. So many people need help. Right here. In our own backyard.
We heard the stories, and the challenges. The sadness, the struggle, the fear. We learned about the stigmas, and the stereotypes, which are placed on the homeless, and hungry. We found out, that people who are receiving aid, have to work a certain amount of hours each month to qualify for help. We learned that individuals receiving food stamp assistance are getting 32 cents per day to eat.
I, no matter how hard I would try, could not eat for 32 cents per day, and not be hungry.
What I had chosen to wear to this event, no longer mattered. And my fears about being an introvert surrounded by people, subsided. The “cause” for this event was the most important thing. I realized, that there were people, outside those gymnasium doors that night, who did not have a warm bed, a roof, a bowl of hot soup. In this moment, there is someone sleeping in a drain pipe, covered with a plastic bag. And to them, the concern about what they are wearing, is absolutely vital right now. It means everything about their survival. Most of the time, I can tell you, they are not there by choice, but by unavoidable circumstance.
Tuesday night, there was a gymnasium, filled with people, all wanting to help. Led by an organization, whose mission is to make this problem disappear from our community. From our country. They have chosen this purpose. This quest. There are heroes in our midst. Heroes armed with Miracles.
I gave quiet thanks for all of them, and asked that I be given even an ounce of their kind and giving hearts. And I also asked that none of us, no matter who we are, will have to know a circumstance, that would cause us, to be hungry and homeless.
About 1.56 million people, or about 0.5% of the U.S. population, used an emergency shelter or a transitional housing program during a one-year period. One out of 50 children or 1.5 million children in the United States of America will be homeless each year.
“If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.”
― Dalai Lama XIV
“Cries for help are frequently inaudible.”
― Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
“Everyone needs help. That’s the human condition.”
― Max Allan Collins, Jump Cut