Words from Executive Director Marsha Eichelberger …
Icy temperatures swept our area this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, bringing Montgomery County’s homeless population face-to-face with a treacherous freeze. Despite the weather shockwave, volunteers offered their time and empathy to us here at Hope Gardens and at our food cupboard in Roslyn. Some volunteers organized donations and storage space while others scrubbed windows and walls, helping us better prepare to accommodate vulnerable families. We even had a delivery of warm blankets for the kids in shelter from Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority at Temple Ambler!
Volunteers came to help us from the community and multiple organizations, from Dow to Dudnyk to the Montgomery County Bar Association. Those individuals included Andrea Duffy, who brought her 13-year-old son, Sean, to embrace the impact of such efforts. “We really need to highlight for everyone that there’s need,” Duffy said. “It certainly hits home that there are people out in the street.”
Eric Donato, another volunteer, noted how the stinging cold made volunteering all the more crucial; Whitney Bender agreed, noting the dipping temperatures and issuances of Code Blue alerts have reminded her she can always contribute more. “You think you’re doing something until it’s brought to your attention,” she said.
Justin Land emphasized how the day’s efforts illustrated Dr. King’s message that everyone can serve — even in times of stifling polarization. He added such efforts bring attention to nonprofits like Inter-Faith, which are “critical” but rarely recognized broadly. Dean Beer echoed that idea, and concluded that until resources, including funding, are more secure, “you’re gonna need to rely on people to come out and volunteer.”
I invite you all to digest the words of our volunteers and reflect on how you, personally, can embody Dr. King’s calls for action, service and empathy throughout the year. Thank you so much to all of you for your continued support, and a special thank you to our MLK Day volunteers. Without your initiative, we could not do the important work we do
Executive Director Marsha Eichelberger