Why do you value Outreach’s mission?

Published 10:00 pm Friday, June 24, 2016

As we prepare for our 25th Anniversary Open House on Tuesday,  we thought it would be interesting to hear different perspectives about why members value Outreach. We spoke with a former board member, a donor, and a client, all of whom have also volunteered in varying capacities.

Former board president Joe Epley had recently retired from a career in marketing and public relations when he was asked to sit on the board. After doing a little research, he readily saw the critical need for Outreach.

“I found that one in four children in Polk County were going hungry. Many mothers with young children struggled every day trying to make ends meet. Too many shivered in substandard housing unable to keep out a cold winter’s wind. Hundreds of elderly too old or infirmed to work were unable to stretch minimal Social Security to cover medicine, food, clothing and shelter,” he said.

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So Joe answered the call, noting “for six years, I served on the Outreach Board with people who brought managerial, financial, legal, religious, educational and other leadership and professional attributes that make Outreach one of the best run not-for-profit agencies in the region. Above all, each board member shared a deep compassion to help others who faced overwhelming distress in their family.”

Donor David Riddle commented, “I remember when Outreach was a new idea and things were just taking shape. Churches were collaborating and conversing about ways to effectively address the genuine needs of people in our community, some of whom had no church affiliation. As the idea developed, other community-minded individuals saw the wisdom of a centralized point of contact where people in immediate need – of food, medical resources, and emergency financial help – could find assistance that was delivered in a personal and professional manner.”

Riddle continued, “This new idea also offered opportunities for people who wanted to lend a hand to those in need but weren’t quite sure how to go about it. Contributing to the work of Outreach – whether donating food items, making financial contributions, or volunteering – was a tangible way to get involved in good work close to home. As most folks know, both the giver and receiver benefit from these positive interactions. Outreach was a good idea at the outset, and is still a good idea after 25 years, and worthy of community support.”

An anonymous client said, “When you’re at your wits end, Outreach is there to provide some relief. It can be debilitating when you think there is nowhere to turn and no one to help.  Outreach helped me get back on my feet during a tough time in my life and for that, I am grateful.”

Drop by and visit us at 134 White Dr. in Columbus for our 25th Anniversary Open House on Tuesday, June 28 between 2-5 p.m. to take a tour of the facility and meet our valued staff and volunteers.

To donate or learn more about our mission and programs, please visit us online at www.tboutreach.org.

~ George Alley