by Alesha Brown, Chief Association Executive
Of course, you expect increased needs during a pandemic, but there's nothing like a hands-on, bird's eye view to show you the magnitude of help needed.
In the past two weeks, our ministry has experienced an influx of phone calls for food, toiletries and other supplies. Many non-profit, donors and private corporations have come together to create massive food & supply drives. However, the truth is it is not enough.
None of us know how much longer COVID-19 will last, but I can leave you with this message of reassurance:
If you focus on meeting the needs of others, your needs will always be met.
After standing in long lines for our households, it isn't always easy to do the same for the outreach. (Honestly, often we do it in reverse order.) Our Founder/Director and our Chief Executive Consultant were in a line for over four hours just to purchase bulk toilet paper, sanitizer and PPE to distribute. On another day, they were making supply runs from one end of the Peninsula to Tidewater VA.
Our Corporate Giving and Community Health Directors have been diligently fundraising and supplying meals, toiletries and other supplies in the community. I have spent countless days and hours writing grants to bring in additional funds so we can meet the influx of need requests.
And we unanimously would say it's all worth it! We are encouraged when we look into the eyes of those we serve and hear reports of the smiles and tears of those we can meet their needs. To see a child smile when they are given a toy while the parents are given food and supplies. Or to see the shock and tears of relief when they see their boxes include meats, toilet paper and other things that they cannot seem to find.
Will you join us in making a difference by making an impact?
Take care of your health and that of your families, but don't forget to look for ways to meet the needs of others. The poor will always be among us, but hopefully so will those with a giving heart.
If you have followed our non profit over the past couple of months, you know that we are in Phase I of our Community Garden Project in Park Place (Hampton, VA). There are some obvious benefits of having a community garden, but there might be some you don't readily think about.
We would like to share the following benefits with you (courtesy of Greenleaf Communities):
We can't think of a better place for us to launch our first community garden that the food desert of Park Place in Hampton, VA. We invite you and your family to help us make a difference and even consider purchasing your own plot (see below).
"What is it with all the stupid teddy bears?"
Yes, that was my question the first day I went into our corporate office. Even after reviewing our historical pictorials, I just didn't see why a nonprofit would spend so much time collecting and giving away teddy bears. Boy was I in for a surprise.
I laugh today, because I know it's a question people often have when they meet me at the office. I can't explain it to them, but some things you just have to experience to understand.
When we go to various senior homes and assisted living facilities, you would be surprised at how many people light up when we encourage them and leave a teddy bear. For instance, Miss Mary at the Towers in Newport News (see above right), who turns 100 this month, considers these teddy bears her children. You can imagine the comfort these bears bring her since she has outlived all her family and hardly anyone visits her. I am grateful for the staff at The Towers that do a wonderful job of looking after Miss Mary and attending to her needs with love and care.
Actually, Miss Mary’s story is common. So many people in assisted living facilities and nursing homes rarely see their family and friends. Can you imagine their lonely days, filled with reflections of yesteryears versus their present confinement? The holidays add pain and feelings of loneliness. So, although it may seem unnecessary or insignificant, such a small gift makes all the difference in the world for some.
I will never be able to explain what I felt when I visited my first resident and left a teddy bear. If you could have seen the reaction of tears and thankfulness. I remember seeing them again when I finished making the rounds and witnessing a few that held the plush animals as if they were the only things that loved and cared about them. My fear for some is that the animals are.
I am so grateful for our founder who knows that despite any of the programs or signature services we offer, it is always the little things that make the difference. After 25 years of ministry, she shares that “people in need don’t want a handout, they simply want a hand”.
So if by chance you visit our corporate office or see a social media pic from the office, now you know why you see the bags of teddy bears in the background. The “stupid bears” are actually not stupid at all. They are sort of magical, especially to the recipients, so we make room for them to stay.
--Alesha Brown, Vice President of Crusading Outreach Ministry Inc. 501 c 3
Empowerment Coach, Motivational Speaker and Best Selling Author
"It's never too late to edit your life and I can help!"
In the summer of 2016, Crusading Outreach Ministry Inc. dba as More Than Words ARB, debuted a new signature program: the Young Achievers Excellence Program. (Click here to watch the WVEC interview.) Last year's program had two graduates who became young authors.
Best selling author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur Alesha Brown, The Joy Guru, created the program to teach youth creative writing, entrepreneurship, empowerment and advocacy. Children are taught how to take their dreams, passions as well as frustrations, and turn them into platforms of advocacy, expression and wealth creation. This innovative program takes a hands on approach using role playing, current trends and topics as well as small group sessions/activities to encourage active learning and real life responsibilities.
For the summer of 2017, Crusading Outreach Ministry Inc. is hosting its summer Young Achievers Excellence Program with long term community partner, C Waldo Scott Center for Hope. The 25 year non profit will participate in an hour long program, every Friday at C Waldo Scott from June 23rd to July 28th, starting at 11:15 pm. Fantastic Fridays are for kids age 6-12.
For more information or to register your child, please contact the center at (757) 244-9223. There is a small fee that includes this program and a series of other summer activities for your child.
Crusading Outreach Ministry Inc. works tirelessly in the community to empower those in need and provide them the tools and resources to equip them to live an optimum, healthy lives. It takes a village to raise a child and often parents, as well as children, suffer in silence because they don’t know how to ask for the help they need, where to go to receive or even how to recognize when they need help.
The Recovery Process: A New Non Profit Program for Youth Suffering with Mental Illness & Eating Disorders (New York City)
Crusading Outreach Ministry Inc. dba The Recovery Process
The Recovery Process is a program designed for people dealing with anxiety surrounding their lives and/or severe mental illnesses. The goal is to go through a 7 day program to combat the anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts, through writing.
Non Profit Business Consultant, Ayanna Bates, will use her Recovery Process Workbook to create long term and short term goals and create a plan to better their lives.
Donate today to help us forward the mission:
One woman is fighting to take back the streets of Newport News and she’s been on this journey for 25 years.
Deloris Pettaway founded Crusading Outreach Ministry Inc. 501 c 3, a non-profit designed to serve those who are economically disadvantaged and at risk, in December 1992. For over 22 years, she stood on many of Newport News VA’s street corners, providing a message of hope and giving out food, clothes and hygiene products to those in need. Flash forward: she has added programs for education, empowerment and entrepreneurship for at risk youth and disadvantaged citizens. She still offers food via the non-profit’s emergency food pantry as well as visits seniors in various nursing homes and assisted living facilities throughout the Peninsula. Sometimes she receives calls in the middle of the night from program participants who are in dire need.
But she hasn’t stopped there. The 25 year old non-profit, which will celebrate its anniversary with a May 20th Black & White Gala at Newport News City Center’s Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, has several certified and nationally recognized programs for youth and parents of young children that it will relaunch within the next few months. (See Eventbrite or bit.ly/BlackAndWhiteGalaRSVP for details on how you can join the celebration.) But what this non-profit needs is what many local organizations need: