Last week, we loaded two SUVs up to the brim with boxes and bags of Thanksgiving food, extra groceries, gift cards and homemade apple bread - plus some baby clothes and toys for good measure. The amount was overwhelming but, in a way, not unexpected. Having worked with the Vine at Doylestown United Methodist Church before, we knew that they would go above and beyond for our Fellows this season. And they did. We could not be more grateful for the Thanksgiving meals (and more) that they provided to RJLF.
Gratitude is the theme for this week, as we look toward Thanksgiving tomorrow. And it is not just the Vine that we are grateful to have. It is our entire community, made up of people and organizations who don’t hesitate to help when asked and most often offer before we can ask. We are incredibly thankful to have the family that we do. Thank you.
Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate.
Inflation is at a 31 year high. Prices for everything from gas to groceries are jumping. Headlines bemoan a more expensive Thanksgiving dinner and drive to Grandma’s afterward. Christmas will use up more than a few pennies extra, the media alerts.
But the focus on holidays rather than the necessities costing more negates the real impact of today’s inflation.
Ten cents more a gallon at the gas pump or ten dollars more per week at the grocery store might be an annoyance for those in the upper middle class and above, but it won’t break the bank. That’s not true for those who are already struggling. When a monthly budget is tight, if not already in the red, even just a few more dollars per month is nearly impossible to pull off. Cuts will have to be made - cuts to things that are necessary like food, clothes for growing children and the money set aside for commuting, bills, rent. That doesn’t even consider “the extras” that a family would love to provide at this time of year.
How do you have a holiday when you can’t afford the every day?
If you’re able, consider giving to a local nonprofit in your area to help ease the burden of rising prices this month. The R.J. Leonard Foundation partners with some amazing organizations, including One Simple Wish and The Vine at Doylestown United Methodist Church. They do a lot to help individuals and families in need. And of course, you can always donate to the R.J. Leonard Foundation here.
A Fellow recently shared that they had changed doctors and that the first visit with their new physician had gone really well. The new doctor hadn’t given a different diagnosis or changed the treatment plan. The outcome of the appointment was the same as it would have been at the previous practice. However, this doctor had taken the time to listen to the Fellow’s concerns, to walk through the information with them and to explain the diagnosis. The doctor had taken the time to see and hear the Fellow as an individual.
That is huge.
Being seen as an individual is a privilege that many youth in foster care are not afforded through their time in the system, their time in school and even afterward as young adults. They are so commonly talked about as a statistic, an example of what could go wrong or a pillar of inspiration. Even the idea that we should want to “hear their story” tarnishes the concept of getting to know someone as a person first. And so they get used to it.
But no one should become accustomed to not being seen or heard as an individual. We must take the time to ensure that we truly see and hear the people before us, no matter the setting, no matter the cause.
2021 was yet another year of change, another year in which we could not revert back to the old normal. And so we asked you to join us both in person and online for our Heart for Change gala. On October 28th, you did just that with enormous generosity, reminding us yet again that while some things may change, our community, our family remains the same.
Thank you for coming together to support our Fellows and our Foundation. We do not know what this next year will bring but one thing we can be certain of is that through it all, we will be overwhelmingly grateful to have you with us.