A cheerful and boisterous “Hello!” or “Good Morning!” and the flashing of a smile is how we often see Belinda. She regularly drives through our almost “contactless” Food Pantry to gather food and other supplies for her family of 6. She says, “you make your day what you want it to be” and one way she does that is by maintaining a positive attitude. She adds, “You can make another person’s day if you just show them a little, ‘I care’.” That’s what she tries to do for our team in the drive-through. And she does! You can’t help but smile when you receive a greeting from Belinda.
On the day I sat and chatted with Belinda she had just driven through during Food Pantry hours and was surprised with soap, shampoo, shaving cream, toothpaste and other hygiene items in the Food Pantry bags that were placed in her car. Belinda says by getting help at The Caring Place Food Pantry she is better able to save money on other things she needs for the grandkids living with her. She rattled off a number of sports the teens play and laughed about how she hollers at the game, “Don’t get those pants dirty, I got them at The Caring Place!”
Belinda is a family woman for sure. She spoke with such pride about her grandkids who are all grown up, educated or pursuing their dreams, and about the ones she lives with now. For her, The Caring Place is how she can offer support to her family. Money is tight and the family doesn’t have extra, so they make it work by using the Food Pantry. Belinda shares that while raising her own kids there was a time she was working 3 jobs to make sure no one did without. Even now, she likes to stay busy and work hard. That means cooking, cleaning, working in her church and attending events for her grandkids. She’s clearly their cheerleader. Belinda doesn’t let the grass grow under her feet and with a house full of family keeping her busy, she's not starting now.
As Belinda helps care for her grandkids, she is reminded how she was raised by her grandmother, too. It was her grandmother who taught her if you don’t have something nice to say, you don’t say it. I have a feeling her grandmother would appreciate Belinda’s unrelenting positivity when she comes to The Caring Place. Behind Belinda’s smile, there is some hardship, too. This past summer she lost a loved one, and this COVID season has brought on changes and challenges for her family. She shared, “It’s been a struggle, but we manage...It’s God’s grace and mercy...God will make a way. He made a way for us and part of that way was here at The Caring Place. And, I’m just thankful.”
Belinda left me with some parting words that felt appropriate as we begin the giving season. Belinda said, “Everybody can help somebody, but The Caring Place is here for the community. They really do their part and then some. It is awesome. I love it!”
Belinda’s joy in talking about The Caring Place rang out like a melody. The Caring Place is here for the community, and Belinda has experienced a welcoming and respectful place to receive support. And she’s right. We all can help somebody. That might mean you give a smile or offer kindness. Sharing information about The Caring Place when someone needs a hand is also a great way to help someone. And if you can, donate to a cause like The Caring Place so that families like Belinda’s feel the care that this community has built through this nonprofit for over 35 years.