Here, in Michigan, March has been lovely so far – warm and sunny and a real breath of hope for Spring to come. March happens to be my birth month, and I decided to have a fundraiser at Natasha Kendal and Associates to mark the occasion. I had just begun to think about which of many worthy organizations to support when I learned that Lighthouse of Pontiac went from serving 200-300 families per week during the pre-COVID times to serving 5,000 families per week currently. That’s a TWENTY-FIVE-fold increase! Lighthouse of Pontiac became our March charity. We are mostly concentrating on collecting diapers, pull-ups and feminine products in our office waiting room, and we will be dropping everything off at the end of the month.
Since I walk by the pile of collected items several times per day, I have been thinking a lot about the concept of “food instability” as it is experienced by so many of our friends and neighbors. I think that “food instability” is really a misnomer – it should say “life instability”, because if you don’t know where your baby’s next clean diaper or your child’s next meal or your teen daughter’s next feminine product comes from – your whole life is unstable! Life “instability” in turn, leads to all kinds of negative outcomes, from unaddressed mental and physical needs, to underemployment and poor school achievement.
As an immigrant, I remember days of “life instability” well. Although my family never had to rely on food banks, our food budget was very definitely stretched to the limit. It was probably about 2-3 years post immigration that we were able to buy food that was not on sale or clearance. I also remember an inordinate amount of time spent of driving from store to store looking for best deals and on cooking, preserving and organizing food in such a way that it lasts as long as possible. Thankfully, my mother is an accomplished and enthusiastic home chef, so everything was healthy and yummy, but I am acutely aware that this is not the case with most families. It is our mission here at NKA to help raise as many kids and families as we can out of poverty and “life instability”, one diaper at a time!
So, for the month of March – please consider bringing in diapers, pull-ups, wipes, all kinds of feminine products, and our staff will drive everything over to Lighthouse at the end of the month. For more information about their programming, visit https://lighthousemi.org.