A few moments in the last year have put our values to the test, and challenged us to take a step back, reevaluate and recommit. In order to stay grounded in what and who our impact work is really about, our team committed to volunteering together in our community at least once every month. A few weeks ago, a number of EHF, Family Impact Network and Better Health Together staff went down to the House of Charity to volunteer to serve and share a meal.
While our team served lunch, a person in line waiting for a meal collapsed. An ambulance was called, and EMT’s provided CPR, but sadly, this person passed away. Virgina, a Community Health Worker with BHT, mentioned that summoning an ambulance to House of Charity is an almost daily occurrence.
It was heartbreaking.
However, the line was still full of people waiting for a hot meal. We had committed to serving those meals with genuine smiles. We were all struck by the gratitude of those we served, despite the circumstances. This came with the realization that for the people in line that day, tragedy is all too common and probably expected. “I’m sure they see these kinds of things and worse on a regular basis and they have to numb their senses to it just to get through it,” one of our team members reflected afterwards.
“…it was very sad that one of those individuals, while standing in line to be served lunch, had their life taken in an instant. I truly wanted to fix the situation, as I often do, but could not. My heart is both happy and hurting – happy because we helped out but sad that the reality of the death today is a hurtful loss for the parents and family of the individual, our community, HOC patrons, HOC staff and all of us there today.” –Karen Davis, Better Health Together DENT Program Manager
This experience affirmed for me the enormous importance of sustainable and meaningful systems change that improves lives in our community. The problems are complex, and this work is hard. I’m reminded of the need to regularly connect with our impact work and each other, and how grateful I am for such an amazing team.
-Antony Chiang, Foundation President