This week, a report crossed my desk from the Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center, one of the many nonprofit organizations that are part of our Season of Sharing network. Within its pages, I was introduced to Candis, a hardworking employee with Sarasota County Schools and mother of two young children – one seven years old, and the other eleven months. For the last year and a half, Candis took time off from work to care for her husband as he battled with cancer, before he tragically passed away in September. Having fallen behind in her mortgage, she reached out to the Sarasota County School Board for a month’s worth of rental assistance, to ensure her children would have a roof over their head as they said goodbye to their father.
I am able to share this emotional story for no other reason than Candis’ courage and generosity. By no means is it easy to take that first step in requesting help at one’s most trying time. And then to follow that courageous step by laying bare your most difficult moments to inspire others – sometimes even complete strangers – is the ultimate gift of generosity to sacrifice one’s greatest hardship knowing your story can help inspire others to help our neighbors in need. In Candis’ story as well as the many others touched by Season of Sharing in its more than 21 years, trust is an ever-present force that catalyzes and brings forth hope.
Without trust, Season of Sharing – a region-wide campaign to extend a helping hand to our neighbors living on the economic edge from Punta Gorda to Parrish – wouldn’t exist. Thankfully, a trusted and robust network of more than 50 human service agencies has developed over the years to distribute dollars quickly, thoughtfully, and without the proverbial “red tape,” so there is security and peace of mind when there is nowhere else to turn in an emergency.