BHH Celebrates 2015: One person…one story…one life at a time, we are breaking the cycle of dependence.

James S. Gavrilos
Boca Helping Hands
December 31, 2015

 

New Year’s Eve:  2015
One person…one story…one life at a time, we are breaking the cycle of dependence. 

In the course of a year, Boca Helping Hands receives hundreds and hundreds of donations.  Some are financial…others are “in kind”, like food, clothing, or office equipment.  All are critical to our ability to carry out our mission.  But let me tell you about two that we received in 2015.  Let me tell you why tonight, when the clock strikes midnight and we close out another year, I will be thinking of these two contributions…

  1. In early December, a real estate management company made a generous contribution towards our End of the Year Matching Campaign.  During the two months of the Matching Campaign, we received over 500 individual contributions from our volunteers, local businesses, families and foundations.  Why did this one touch me so deeply?  One person…one story…one life at a time, we are breaking the cycle of dependence.  More on that later…

 

  1. During Thanksgiving Week, a woman entered the lobby and wanted to donate two Thanksgiving Boxes to help with our Annual Thanksgiving Box Brigade.  This year, we passed out 2,000 turkeys and boxes to local families.  When we needed 2000 boxes, why did these two in particular touch me so deeply? One person…one story…one life at a time, we are breaking the cycle of dependence.   More on that later…

Before I tell you about those two contributions, let me share with you an overview of what was accomplished this year by the incredible board, volunteers, supporters and staff of Boca Helping Hands.  In the last twelve months, this amazing team…

…distributed 67,324 Pantry Bags of groceries to local families.
…served 55,401 Hot Meals in our Food Center.
… added a third job training program (CDL Program) to train commercial truck drivers.
…helped 116 graduates of our three Job Training Programs find employment.
…earned a Four Star Rating from Charity Navigator for the tenth consecutive year!!!
…provided 224 families with limited financial assistance through our Resource Center.
…recovered 1,818,846 pounds of food.
…established a medical clinic in partnership with Genesis Community Health.
…worked 60,467 volunteer hours.
…and laid the groundwork for another Strategic Plan to guide our growth through 2020.

We believe that the mission of Boca Helping Hands is to provide short term emergency assistance while we search for long term solutions to break the cycle of dependence.  For the past few years, our Board of Directors has wisely increased the emphasis on breaking the cycle of dependence.  We are and will continue to expand our job training programs and educational classes…all designed to help our clients move towards independence. Rather than focus our efforts solely on getting more food into the system, we are concentrating our efforts on getting more people out of the system. One person…one story…one life at a time, we are breaking the cycle of dependence. 

So as the clock ticks towards midnight, let me get back to those two contributions…and why they touched me so deeply…

In December, we received that contribution from a real estate management company….which is located in the Sandalfoot area…an area filled with mobile home parks and residents who are struggling mightily just to survive.  Turns out that one of the residents in that neighborhood receives pantry bags on Saturdays from our west Boca Pantry Program.  So do her neighbors.  A LOT of them.   She quietly shared the work we are doing with her association…who promptly made a contribution to support our work.  They were so appreciative of what we are doing for their residents…they wanted to give back. One person…one story…one life at a time, we are breaking the cycle of dependence. 

One year ago, a woman came to BHH looking for assistance.  Widowed and with no financial support, she needed a job.  She was one of the first students admitted to the BHH Home Health Care Job Training Program.  Today, she is a Home Health Aide…working full time for a local family…financially stable and living free of any charitable or governmental assistance.  She wanted to give back!  She wanted to help others who were in the shoes in which she had walked not twelve months ago.  So she brought us two Thanksgiving boxes to pass out to families in need.  No Thanksgiving boxes were ever as precious to me as these two.  One person…one story…one life at a time, we are breaking the cycle of dependence. 

If we believe that the mission of Boca Helping Hands truly is to provide short term assistance while we search for solutions to break the cycle of dependence, then these two got the message.  They understand that in some cases (the elderly, the infirm, those with certain mental health challenges), BHH will be there providing that emergency food assistance.  But they also understood that for many, BHH will be but a temporary port in the storm.  They come to us “shipwrecked” and in need of assistance, help, guidance, food, and training.  But above all, they come looking for love and dignity.  And our amazing volunteers give them this…and so much more.  Day after day, week after week, month after month, our team of Board, Staff, Volunteers and Supporters reach down to lift someone up.  We dust them off and “love” them back into the game.  We bandage wounded souls and lead them back into the fight.  And once their life stabilizes, they turn around and want to give back.  They no longer stand in line receiving food….they are standing across the line…serving food.  One person…one story…one life at a time, we are breaking the cycle of dependence.  Dear colleagues…it works…thanks to you.

A happy and healthy New Year to one and all.

With respect,

                                                                   Gary Peters                                                James S. Gavrilos, CFRE
                                                                   President of the Board                             Executive Director

 

 

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