Community coming together. That takes on more meaning this year than it did last year! We are truly in this together. We depend on each other for safety and health. Certainly, we all wish it did not take a pandemic for us to realize the critical importance and value of everyone else in our community, to understand the definition of an essential employee, and to clearly realize that we are indeed, as the saying goes, stronger together. This is one of the lessons from the pandemic that we must try to hold on to! It is also one of the key reasons for the success of the Family Promise model which works because of community.

At FPL we are serving four times more families than we were this time last year. And though the need can feel overwhelming, there is also the joy – because we are not doing it alone. The community has joined together and is helping in new and creative ways. Social service agencies are all working closely on a collaborative mission to serve those in need. Our own network of volunteers has reorganized to write notes of encouragement to families in programming, provide school supplies, provide meals and groceries, run errands, make friendly check in calls with clients, answer our phones, do repair projects, and plan our fundraising events.

In all the change, adaptation and never-ending task list, life does march on. Differently, but it moves forward. And it is in the normal that some extraordinary observations can be made.  We can experience community, and find hope. Some very common examples that give me hope are:
* Families previously served through FPL bringing food for families currently in Shelter.
* Kids who previously were in the program, cleaning off and donating their gently used toys
* Moms supporting one another, including watching each other’s kids so parents can work.
* FPL staff advocating tirelessly on behalf of their clients.
* Congregation members from River City Church delivering personal thank you cards filled with messages of encouragement to FPL staff
* And this month, twins born to a family in programming. Precious little babies, the ultimate proof of a miracle that life moves forward.

There is much to be thankful for as we walk through this pandemic together. There is indeed hope quite visible in our community.

Dana Ortiz, Executive Director, FPL

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