Together, we can do so much.
"Alone we can do so little.”
In a year of upheaval - in our communities, in our nation, and even personally in our lives, there were times when nothing seemed right. Even in those moments when I would personally triumph at something good, I would sometimes turn around and see something else fall apart. Alone, the hill often feels too big to even try and climb by oneself– doesn’t it?
“Alone we can do so little. Together, we can do so much.”
Attributed to Helen Keller, those words have never been more important to me than they are today.
At MOM, 2017 brought every emotion a year can bring. The year brought sorrow and heartache – and it also brought joy and celebration. Many people were inspired to give, volunteer, and advocate for the first time, or to return to giving with a new purpose. The year’s events reminded us all how vital community is to our well-being, and how much our neighbor’s experience is intertwined with our own.
“Together we can do so much.”
At MOM, I’m reminded every day how much we all matter to each other. I’m reminded that the hill can be climbed when do it together.
You may have a neighbor whose life is much like hers, but not even know it. Each month, she managed to cover her expenses: rent, daycare, groceries, and other bills -- but just barely. Then life took an unexpected turn.
Susan worked full time. She came home every day, excited to spend time with her sweet son. As Susan paid her bills at the end of the month, she always held her breath. She knew even a small bump in the road could make everything fall apart. Most months it somehow worked - until the month where her son got sick, and Susan missed some days of work, causing a dip in her income.
Soon after that, the bills began arriving. Susan could see her life unraveling before her eyes. With no family other than her son, Susan felt alone and scared.
Then Susan came to MOM. Here, she found a community of neighbors ready to surround her with the hope she craved, and the resources she needed.
“Together we can do so much.”
It wasn’t any one thing that any one person did that changed Susan’s life. Together, each individual’s donation or gift of time did something even bigger than one person could ever do alone.
There was the donation that made it possible for Susan to meet with a MOM Case Manager and develop a plan. Another donation provided the funds for a housing grant, preventing Susan and her son from being evicted. Yet another donation kept the lights on in the Clothing Center where Susan found a winter coat for her son. Donations from a food drive filled Susan’s cart in the Food Pantry.
Together as a community, you restored stability for Susan and her son. I am beyond grateful that through your support - your donations, your gifts of time and talent, and your advocacy - in 2017 you did this for thousands of people. There are times in our lives when we all need our neighbors, and there is no greater gift you can give than being there when someone seeks that support.
In 2017, MOM distributed nearly 1.4 million pounds of food, and continued to prevent nearly 500 families from becoming homeless through our Stable Housing programs. Through school supplies, Thanksgiving Baskets, Sharing Christmas gifts, 30,000+ hours of volunteer time, countless donations of every size, participation in our outreach events, and sharing the news of the work we are all doing together, you made a better community. “Together, we can do so much!”
This coming year, we will work to understand more specifically what the needs in are in our community so we can better serve people throughout Cross Plains, West Madison and Middleton. We will dive into research and best practices to find out how we can continue to improve upon and grow the services we provide in the most effective way. We already know that an adequate supply of healthy food is critical for children’s development and academic success, so we will find ways to increase the amount of healthy food available to people who struggle with food insecurity.
Together we can ensure that people in our community have the basics they need to grow and thrive.
Here is to 2018! Together, we can do so much.
Ellen Carlson, Executive Director
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