From the Desk of John Van Cleef, CEO | May 2021
An Essential Ingredient
Cooking metaphors are a good way to describe something, and this is true most especially now, since so many of us have been cooking more at home and can relate to them. The gathering of ingredients, the preparation, the cooking itself and then the enjoyment of the final result.
The ingredients are the visible things you can see and the consistent information we communicate about people finding help on their paths to healthy food, stable homes and safe relationships. There are also invisible things you can’t see, essential ingredients of building for our future, like upgrading our technology, to serve the present and future needs of our mission.
Our dish is also redolent with the spices and seasoning of national observances. April was International Volunteer Appreciation month, and the imperishable value of the gift of time was amplified by COVID-19. CRC’s volunteers gave 15,697 hours of service last year – and I’m certain this is underreported – through the storm of a pandemic to meet hunger with nourishment, homelessness with empowerment and hurt with healing.
It’s made even more special in the May observance of Mental Health Awareness Month. CRC provides direct service to people who have and are experiencing the traumas of abuse, homelessness and hunger – all of which affect mental health. Many demonstrate quick resilience and determination to move through the dark days to a bright future of hope. Many are overwhelmed and demonstrate the need for on-going, long-term support and persist through the dark days while looking for a glimpse of hope. All are embraced by the caring community called CRC who accepts people where they’re at – letting them know they’re visible and valued.
In writing this note, I’m overwhelmed by a sense of awe, wonder and feelings of honor and humility. I have the privilege of seeing a horizon where self-giving love meets needs, where grace meets shame, where healing meets trauma and where the light of hope overcomes despair.
I’m also mindful of the audience to whom I’m writing: the people who are interested and engaged in making the mission of CRC happen. So, of all the ingredients included in this CRC dish, the most essential one is gratitude.
Thank you for helping to bring all the ingredients together to create a resilient community.
In your service,