SAFETY EXIT

From the Desk of John Van Cleef, CEO | April 2022

Every life deserves a certain amount of dignity, no matter
how poor or damaged the shell that carries it.
― Rick Bragg

The word dignity is going to be prominently featured by CRC in the coming weeks, months and years. These seven letters are a portal into a depth of meaning about honoring the intrinsic, transcendent value of every person. This is a value I could feebly try and define with words, but its description – its actualization – is best lived out in deeds that make it real.

What does dignity look like?

  • For people who experience the crippling effects of poverty, it’s the ability to walk through the pantry and choose the food you take home to prepare and put on your table, and with which you nourish your family.
  • For people who need to share their deeply private stories of abuse or feelings of personal shame, it’s the ability to have a quiet space with minimal distraction where you can open yourself to your case manager or therapist to receive acceptance and encouragement.
  • For volunteers and staff who give of themselves with tireless commitment to the needs of others, it’s having the space where you work designed to welcome people who are hungry, hurting and homeless into an environment of healing and hope.

A first step in addressing the dignity of people who come to us for help is returning to our client choice food pantry model – a restoration of the norm after two years and one month of pandemic-informed changes. It’s a first step of many more next steps that will be communicated in the coming months as we launch CRC’s One Community · One Heart Capital Campaign, the goal of which is to unite our community in creating a place that maximizes the dignity with which we serve our neighbors.

I’ve often described CRC as the child of our community’s compassion for and capacity to help its neighbors find paths to healthy food, stable homes and safe relationships. And in this description, I know that serving our neighbors with dignity – no matter how poor or damaged the shell in which the life is lived – is a non-negotiable must. The alternative is unacceptable.