CRC has a very special relationship with Tim and Ronald from Progressive Directions. They’re our friends, our collaborators and our delivery boys.
Every month or so, Tim and Ronald drive the Progressive Directions truck down from Clarksville to make a pick-up at a major retailer that donates to CRC. We keep most of the household goods; Progressive Directions gets all the food and whatever else they want from the haul. But it doesn’t stop there.
When they get back to Clarksville, they start making deliveries. Not because it’s part of their job but because they’re acutely aware of other agencies in need. Last month, here’s where some of that donation went:
Mana Cafe Ministries, which feeds low-income families and the homeless.
Grace Assistance Program, which helps the poor meet basic needs such as food, utility bills, temporary emergency shelter and transportation.
Good Samaritan Ministry, which provides medical and dental services to the uninsured poor.
Progressive Directions itself used those donations in their residential programs; in its Early Intervention program, which serves preschool children with developmental delays; and in its Buddy Ball program, a special needs athletic league.
That’s a lot of love shown to a lot of people far beyond the dock doors at CRC World Headquarters.
Yes, this is just what it looks like. After years of training in professional warehouse management (not), sometimes you just have to throw caution to the winds.
Last Friday, Betsy had pretty much had it. Her daughter, Kirsten, had stayed up all night. Then Betsy’s car wouldn’t start. Then she drove out to a major retailer’s distribution center in a U-Haul to pick up a large donation. A large and partially heavy donation. It took so long to load that Betsy lost the help she thought she’d have unloading at CRC World Headquarters.
Betsy is extremely organized. Chaos makes her physically ill. But Friday, she reached her limit.
No, it is not professional warehouse management to throw boxes willy nilly out of a truck and on to the warehouse floor. But it’s quicker than stacking them.
Here it is. A moment you will not likely see again for a very long time. Betsy sitting on chaos. Proud and unashamed.
Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is “timing. It waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.” ― Fulton J. Sheen
You know who knows this better than anyone? Nonprofits – especially what we call “Mom and Pop” nonprofits. Those are the tiny charities, often run by a husband and wife on a shoestring. They don’t have grant writers or chief financial officers or secretarial staffs. They do it all because they are passionate about their cause.
These are the folks from whom I see patience every day. They wait for the simplest things to occur. They wait for miracles for their clients. They wait for money to do their work. They wait, where we’re concerned, for laundry detergent for a dirty child, shampoo for a senior living alone, furniture for their threadbare offices.
I’m not good at patience but I’m learning to be better. I have dozens of good examples.
The Chicks love to visit our partner agencies. All our 90 nonprofit partners do such important work and it’s nice to get out in the field every once in awhile to see what they’re up to.
So yesterday, Betsy and I visited the Hope Family Health Clinic in Westmoreland. The clinic provides medical care to the uninsured and under-insured. And Joey Foreman, the clinic’s chief compliance, development and information officer (could you get a longer title, Joey?), took us on a tour. At every stop, he gave us a sticky note for each piece of furniture and other office equipment CRC donated to the clinic.
Turns out, we’ve pretty much furnished the place.
The staff was incredibly gracious and grateful, but the Chicks are the ones who are blessed to be able to serve. What we do isn’t glamorous, but it is rewarding. We’re the supply line to the front lines of poverty.
Thanks, Joey, for the tour and for making us feel so special. By the way, folks, if you want to see the real ways Hope changes the lives of the people it serves, take ten minutes and watch a video about their fantastic work.
You won’t want these. Really, you won’t. That is why we have eaten all of them just to save you the trouble. It’s 20 degrees in the warehouse and the Chicks have to keep their strength up.
These buttery bites of bacon goodness are from a website called Oh, Bite it! Don’t get flustered. It’s a food website. Here’s the link to the recipe. Enjoy and Happy Bacon Wednesday!
Bacon Brown Sugar Honey Buns
1 stick of melted butter
1/3 cup of packed brown sugar
½ cup honey
12 ounces bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled
½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 container of Pillsbury Crescent Rounds (8 count) or regular Crescent Roll dough cut into 3-inch rounds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in the microwave and add the brown sugar and honey, whisking well to thoroughly combine.
Divide the butter/brown sugar/honey mixture between eight cupcake wells. Top with the bacon and pecans, if using. Place one Crescent Round or piece of Crescent dough in each cupcake well.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the rolls are golden and firm. When you unmold the honey buns, some of the topping will remain in the cupcake wells. Just scoop it out and add it back to the top of each bun. As the buns cool, the topping will solidify.
Most of us have more than we need. When you consider the basics (a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs and food on the table), pretty much any other material good is a “want” not a “need.”
I have observed over the years that those of us who are materially blessed always think we “need” more. And people we know are struggling for the basics are just grateful for what they have. Recently, CRC supplied a formerly homeless woman with bedding, bath items and kitchenware for her new transitional home. How many of us take sheets for granted? She didn’t. She was deliriously happy. She didn’t care what color they were or even if they fit her bed (which was an air mattress, by the way).
Last summer, we provided new backpacks to at-risk children returning the school. I happened to be at one of the schools receiving the backpacks, a school with a large population of homeless children. One of them came up to the teacher with his backpack in hand and asked if he could give it to another student who needed it more. Compare that to the hysterical midnight shoppers physically shoving each other out of the way to grab a bargain flat-screen TV at those big box retailers on Black Friday.
Warehouse work is hard. Lots of lifting, toting and pallet jacking around our 5,000-square-foot palace of concrete and cinder block. So the Chicks can justify a bacon splurge every Wednesday. Just to keep our strength up, of course.
This is an easy one – sweet, heat and salt. The sweet and heat come from red pepper jelly. If you don’t know what that is, you’re not from around here. The salt comes from our delectable bacon, which we fry up in an electric skillet at the CRC World Headquarters Test Kitchen.
Just bake up a few biscuits (we’re remarkably adept with a toaster oven). Then load on the bacon and top with a dollop of red pepper jelly.
Super delicious, super easy. We usually use two strips of bacon to a biscuit. But no one will judge you if you add more.
“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
We see it every day at CRC Nashville. People with generous hearts and a compassionate love for those who need a hand up, not a hand out. Some of them have advanced degrees; others barely made it out of high school. We’ve even had a nonprofit partner who was illiterate. He spent a lot of his time preaching to children about the importance of getting an education. He used himself as an example of the struggles and barriers set before you if you don’t.
Make an impact. You’d be surprised how a small gesture can turn another person’s day around.
We apologize. We’ve been away. But we’re back now.
See, here’s how it works in the nonprofit world. Everyone goes all out for about 50 weeks a year. And then around the middle of December we’ve just done all we can do. So, barring an emergency, we just take the rest of the year off. Of course, we had an emergency Christmas week when Miss Brenda of United Neighbors of Edgehill needed some scarves for 27 little old ladies that had somehow been unaccounted for in the Christmas Giveaway. So naturally I went down to the warehouse, which was about as cold as Antarctica, and found some very beautiful new scarves for the ladies.
We were all ready to gear back up in early January when that dang Polar Vortex came swooping out of Canada.
The Chicks are not Polar Vortex kind of people, especially in an unheated warehouse (well, there is the capability of heat if Chick One wasn’t too cheap to turn it on). There weren’t enough layers of long underwear to get us to go to the warehouse. And when we got back, wouldn’t you know it. The Polar Vortex ate our Backflow Preventer, which keeps icky water from coming into the building (we had quite enough of that in 2010, thank you very much).
See that giant crack? We though we might just be able to put some duct tape over it, but our friendly plumber said that would not be advisable. And while he installed a new one (why do Backflow Preventers cost $800?), we had no water so that pushed us back a little more.
But now we have a brand spankin’ new Backflow Preventer and we’re pretty darn proud of that. Sometimes we just stand in the parking lot admiring it.
We’ve got lots in store for early 2014. We’re ecstatic that we’re getting a new website that will be as cool as the Chicks are and will work on mobile devices. More on that as we get closer to the launch, but the picture at the top of this post is involved. And we’re relaunching our Partner Visit Days, when we venture out from the warehouse and see first-hand what our wonderful nonprofit partners do when they’re not picking up stuff at the warehouse. We’ll take you along.
And after a hiatus due to Chick One’s lack of imagination, we are revving up Bacon Wednesdays again. I know you won’t visit us on the blog to read about us putting together emergency hygiene kits (we’re doing that, too) or to marvel at the efficiency of our Backflow Preventer. But I think a little bacon love will lure you back.
Every year in early December the warehouse at CRC World Headquarters is packed to the gills with stuff – new clothing, socks and underwear, gift items, personal hygiene products – all for our nonprofit partners to give their clients in need at a time when many are not remembered any other way.
So here’s our measure of success. Full warehouse:
Merry Christmas. The Chicks have already celebrated their happiest moment during this blessed holiday season.