Monday, November 22, 2010

Perspectives on Thankfulness

I am confronted with poverty each time I take my weekend walk around Midtown. Sacramento draws a large number of homeless people. They are – for the most part - an industrious group. I wonder at their wandering, that is, their constant movement to avoid arrest or to seek resources. Some wait patiently by the road or outside a grocery store asking for money. Others roll all their worldly possessions along the street in a shopping cart or carry them in bags on their back. One group is sometimes BBQ’ing on a small Weber in a vacant parking lot.

Often coming home from a late evening at the office, or leaving early in the morning, I see the same people searching for recyclables. These busy folks move quickly from trash can to trash can seeking what the rest of us throw away. I’m impressed by their work ethic and the long hours they keep. I’m impressed with the optimism that they will find what they need which keeps them moving, always moving.

Many non profit organizations work with homeless people. Some provide food, some shelter, some clothing, and others offer medical care and mental health services. I’ve talked with some of the people who work in these organizations. They see the hardships of life on the streets every day. They love the people they serve – they experience their humanity. These non profit folks speak of the gold that is considered by society to be in the gutters. I love the fact that grants and grant writers can make an impact by helping non profit organizations find money for services which give hope to the homeless.

As I prepare to attend a Thanksgiving feast on Thursday, I am mindful that homeless people will be outdoors in the cold that day using a hooked pole to reach into garbage bins. I am mindful that the hungry can’t afford to take a day off. Many will face the cold of that night with an empty stomach holding on to a slim hope that tomorrow will be better. If I am up early the next morning there they will be, trundling their bundles of cans and bottles along the alleyways wearing the same straw sombreros, moving, always moving.

Thanksgiving is a time to count blessings, serve, and share blessings with others. Times are tough for many, yet most of us will still sit down well-dressed and warm to a Thanksgiving feast. May we all be truly thankful for our blessings this Thanksgiving, and thereby, be motivated to bless others.

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Creative Resources and Research is a consulting firm specializing in grant writing, grant seeking, program evaluation and professional development training. We have worked with hundreds of clients including public and private schools, school districts, universities, non-profit organizations, and social service agencies throughout California, securing over $155 million from federal, state and private foundation funding sources over the past decade. Our primary grant writers and program evaluators have over 50 years of combined experience in the education and social services fields. At CRR we prefer a personal approach to the clients we work with; by developing long term relationships, we are better suited to match client’s needs with available funding sources. We provide a variety of services to help assist you, including grant writing, evaluation consulting, professional development opportunities, and workshops.