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Why Tonight Is Important?

So this is my attempt at a pre-game pep talk:

I do not want to dictate to anybody why you should personally feel motivated to help the Center tonight and hope Holy Smokes is successful financially. Frankly, I can think of many, many reasons and I only hope one of them resonates with you.

Perhaps it is knowing that over 150 families came to our pantry yesterday walking away with a week’s worth of groceries. Pantries have become so busy that we frequently make runs to the food bank, grocery stores, and meat wholesalers in the middle of pantry in order to get more food.

Perhaps it is seeing one of my guests tonight. He is 9 years old and he goes from home to home as he does not have a mom or a dad.

Perhaps it is knowing that our volunteer medical staff from Creighton University saw patients for over 4 hours yesterday keeping three rooms filled with patients that cannot afford medical care.

Perhaps it is knowing that I wrote a check yesterday to help pay for a funeral for a child, whose parents are grieving yet now do not have to worry about whether their daughter will be buried.

Perhaps it is knowing that one of the boys from our mentoring program told me when I picked him up last week that his father had been shot and killed the night before in Chicago.

Perhaps it is knowing that one of the women from our self-sufficiency program finally left her abusive husband thanks to the help of our program facilitator and now we are offering her food, clothing, and financial support so she does not have to worry about when her kids eat will next or where they will sleep that night.

Perhaps it is seeing a client volunteer at tonight’s event that spends 40 hours a week at the Center. He is a military veteran that has struggled to find a job or permanent housing. Last year he came into my office crying as his mother was dying in New York and did not think he would ever get to see her again. The Center paid for his plane ticket so he could see her before she died.

Perhaps it is knowing that yesterday a graduate of our Pathway program came to my office excited as she is in her final semester at school. When she came to the Center, she was in a violent relationship and needed therapy to deal with years of childhood abuse from various foster parents (she became a ward of the state at age 2 after her drug addicted parents could not care for her). She also left her two children’s abusive father.

Perhaps it is knowing that I went to lunch last week with a client that has cancer. He told me that he has felt worse before and proceeded to tell me as a kid he used to go 4 and 5 days without eating.

Perhaps it is seeing that I wear a blue bracelet to honor the older brother of two boys in our mentoring program that was shot and killed on 83rd and Underwood on a Saturday afternoon. The Center has helped the boys financially. They will both be at Holy Smokes tonight.

Perhaps it is knowing that on Monday a 7-year-old boy, his 9 year-old sister and his mother came into the Center. They are homeless. She cried as she told me that her son has had to wear his older sister’s shoes and that kids make fun of him at school. He walked out of the Center in a pair of Air Jordan sneakers from our clothing closet.

There are many more reasons that Holy Smokes needs to be successful, however, to me, every reason comes back to the same thing: making sure every person in need is treated with the utmost respect and dignity and is able to get their needs met.

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