The Little Club that Could

This time of year there are lots of great organizations and folks collecting for people in need. We hear about The Empty Stocking, the Firefighters, The Salvation Army. There are boxes in banks and grocery stores, covered in holiday paper, waiting to be filled with donations.
But I am going to share with you the story of one of the best kept secrets in St. Augustine. This small group sertoma and checkworks quietly behind the scenes, not just at Christmas, but all year long, filling in the cracks for those in our community most in need. These are the parents who wait to the last minute at Christmas, hoping against hope that they can work overtime or finagle their bills just enough to buy presents for their children. They are the families who don’t apply for assistance because they hope to be able to provide on their own. But then at the last minute, a car battery dies, a child is sick and needs a prescription or the electric bill was usually high and they find themselves in the weeks before Christmas facing a hardship they never thought they would.
And that my friends, is when The Little Club that Could swoops in to save the day. They get names on a list, sizes and favorite colors, stuff for mom and dad, too.
They email to club members, enlist anyone they can and this small group of dedicated elves make Christmas magic happen.
The mom on one of the lists may have been practical, asking for laundry detergent or canned goods. But The Little Club that Could adds to that moms list and gets her some bedroom slippers or cologne, something that makes her feel special,too.
And in the last few days before Christmas, cars are packed full of Christmas joy and delivered to the homes of some of the hardest hit families in our community. They might be our neighbors, the teller at the bank, the clerk at the grocery store or someone we work with and most of us will never know that they fell on tough times and if not for the kindness, the dedication and the enduring compassion of The Little Club that Could, Christmas would have just been like any other day.
The best kept secret in town? The Sertoma Club of St. Augustine, The Little Club that Could. Though they are small, they are mighty. Though they are few, they do the work of many. And they are the best example I know of the quiet power of compassion at work, not just at the holidays, but all year long. The Sertoman’s, which is derived from SERvice To MANkind, re
mind of The Parable of The Good Samaritan, they are who they are and they do what they do because they are in the habit of helping all year long. Just like the Good Samaritan, compassion is something they practice every day. And just like The Samaritan, coming to the aid of those in need is a part of who they are.
Three qualities The Good Samaritan had, that made him the way he was were, empathy, courage and the habit of helping. Qualities latent in us all is only we worked harder to develop and strengthen them. Coming to the aid of people in need at Christmas time, or all throughout the year, are not isolated incidents. The people of Sertoma have become practitioners of responding to other peoples needs. How, the same way we all can. By going the extra mile, occasionally, by giving someone a hand, when you can, by taking our fair share of civic responsibility, when we can manage it. These things may not seem to add up to much, but then compassion need not be about some heroic self-sacrifice, but rather the endless repetition of kindtruckwith sign34

Thank you Sertoma, for your heart, your compassion and your generosity. Because you dared to dreamed big and make it happen, fewer folks in our community will fall through the cracks this holiday season and in the coming year.

Support Our Seniors

Happy New Year and welcome to news about the goals of Pie in the Sky for 2016.

The Twelve Months After Christmas

St. Johns County has one of the fastest growing senior populations in the country. Many of these seniors struggle to make ends meet. They have worked their whole lives, raised their families, bought homes, paid taxes, volunteered and now they represent a silent majority. This is a generation that doesn’t ask for help. Instead, they skip a meal or two or three. They cut their presc2myrtleription medicines in half to make them last longer. They bundle up in the winter to save on heating costs and sometimes, they have to choose any of the above basic needs, over food. They lack transportation or because of health issues, it is difficult, if not impossible to get out to the store and even if they could, they can’t afford fresh produce. It’s boxed mac and cheese, ramen noodles and Spaghetti-o’s. Not a healthy diet for anyone.

Pie in the Sky believes that no senior citizen in our community should go hungry…Ever!
Collaborating with the Council on Aging, we are identifying those who have reached out for food assistance and we aim to get them the food they need, so they don’t have to make those choices. We are going to deliver to their homes healthy, fresh food that will improve their overall health and well-being and we are going to do it for $1 per day.

Here is how you can help!

Sponsor a senior in need for one year. That’s just $360 to make sure they have enough fresh produce to eat each month. That’s just $30 per month. Eat one less meal at a restaurant and feed a senior citizen for one month. It’s great that we do so much at the holidays, but the 12 months after Christmas are even more important.

Help us, help them!

They are vulnerable. They need help, but might be too proud to ask. They are often alone and have no one to turn too. They could be our parents, or our grandparents, and we have a duty, and an obligation to help them. It’s what we hope someone might do for us one day!

In this season of giving, please consider what $30 a month or $360 per year could do for a senior in your community. Yes, for $360 you could buy a new tablet or a grill, NFL tickets, 100 days of lattes or a five month supply of diapers; or, you can “Sponsor a Senior” with home deliveries of fresh, local produce every month for one whole year.

This is how, WE can all help! This is how, YOU can help!

Start making a difference today.

All donations are tax-deductible

Follow the link below to make your donation.

http://bit.ly/Supportseniors

 

Farm to Family: The Importance of Food

The Importance of Food: A Message from Executive Director, Malea Guiriba

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Like most folks, when I used to think about food, I thought about chocolate cake, fried shrimp, french fries and ice cream — foods I love to eat and can eat anytime I want. But after two and a half years of running a food pantry and giving away more than one million pounds of food to hungry people, I now think about food in a whole new way.

I can remember the exact moment things changed for me. There was a woman named Jean, she was in her sixties, just a little bitty slip of  girl with a lovely, lilting Scottish accent. I saw her standing in the food line several weeks in a row and one day I asked her if she would like to volunteer. Jean’s demeanor changed from arms folded across her chest and an uncomfortable look on her face, to smiles and laughter and compassion.

Jean lives in food desert in Flagler Estates, a sprawling 10,000 acre tract of land on the outskirts of Hastings. One day we were talking and Jean opened up about how she came to be in the food line.

Moving from up north with her husband, they settled on an acre of land. Both were retired from their professions, having worked hard and saved their nest egg to come and enjoy the warm winters of sunny Florida. Then Jean got sick. Medicare paid some of the bills, but before long their nest egg was gone and so was the retirement they had worked their whole lives to save.

Sitting in a rocking chair in the Pie Shop with tears in her eyes Jean said, “you work your whole life for something, you do all the right things and then the next thing you know, you’re standing in a line for food.”

She was shocked, genuinely stunned to be where she was, and I was shocked, too. Jean and her husband could have been my parents. They could have been anyone’s parents.

That was the day I changed the way I thought about food.

Read the rest of the article here on the Farm to Family website.

A Slice Of Hope

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A Slice of Hope is the Pie in the Sky version of the Angel Tree.

Slices of pie representing the specific needs of our local farm workers in Hastings will be on our tree. These pie slices are basic needs like a pair of work boots, work hats and gloves or phone minutes to call home. You can help by adopting a farm worker and offering a little bit of hope. The Hope Tree will be up at the December 9th Holly Jolly Hastings Celebration or you can contact me at pyinthesky@comcast.net.

That’s What Friends Are For

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Pie In The Sky would like to thank everyone who helped provide for our community by donating this holiday season!

  • Irene Arriola and Saltwater Properties donated a truckload of food for the home-bound, plus great clothes.
  • JCP Cares donated three truckloads of shelf stable products from their annual food drive.
  • Adecco North America is collecting food all through December, already filling up two carloads.
  • The Lions Club donated $500 in Winn-Dixie gift cards.
  • St. Vincent DePaul Society from San Juan Del Rio Catholic Church has donated food and work boots and is donating 150 Christmas goody bags for the party.
  • St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at Federal Point is donating raffle prizes and music for the party.
  • All Souls Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Palatka is also donating raffle prizes.
  • Johnny Barnes donated the funding for the airplane ride over the human peace sign in September.

Thank You St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

Thank you St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at Federal Point for serving a wonderful Thanksgiving Feast for the folks of Hastings. Everyone had a great time and the food was fabulous. We delivered the rest to surprised and appreciative families who couldn’t make it to the dinner.
Thank you to all the volunteers for providing fellowship and food in our community.

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A Huge Thank You!

I love that I continue to be amazed and inspired by the generosity of our community. I received these cards in the mail today. A few weeks ago a young woman called and asked about Pie in the Sky, Growing Hope in Hastings, Florida. I gave her some information and thanked her for her interest. With so many options for giving in our community and so many needs, I am honored and humbled by each and every gift to Pie in the Sky. We work hard to fill in the cracks and provide for folks when they have no where else to turn. Because of a generous and thoughtful community, we can help fill the needs of those most in need.

Thank you.

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