Everyone Has a Story

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Everyone has a reason for getting involved. It's their story. For me, it's personal.

My family struggled financially when I was young. We did everything we could to make ends meet. We shopped garage sales. We clipped coupons. We maintained a big vegetable garden. We froze and canned food. Mom sewed dresses for me and my sister, and also for herself. At nine, I got a paper route and started "loaning" my parents money to pay family bills. I worried that we would lose our home. I'd heard my parents talk about the possibility many times. Having the utilities cut off was a real and frequent concern, though it only actually happened once that I remember. We never went hungry, but we ate so many casseroles as a way to stretch a pound of ground beef that I once begged for anything resembling a piece of meat--even when that meant liver, which I hate.

I felt so completely helpless to change our situation. It was a very difficult experience for me, but there are many people in other parts of the world who have it much worse than I did. We had family we could lean on. Their families are all in the same situation they are. Parents build shelters out of whatever scraps they can find. Those shelters don't protect their families from the elements or from pests like rats and mosquitos. Furthermore, they watch their children starve or die of preventable diseases. If I felt helpless, how helpless--hopeless, really--must they feel? If I were in their shoes, I would want someone to take notice and care enough to help. I have taken notice and I care. I know I can change lives--one person, one family, one community at a time.

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