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Stuck Middle: Nonprofits step in to fill the cracks

There are some things which government cannot do and some things government should not do.

There are many things best left to more efficient and more caring private hands to accomplish. These things are the milieux of non-profits.

HendoRock is blessed with many such entities serving our community’s many needs ranging from basic human requirements such as food and shelter, to the needs of our children and grandchildren whose families are unable, to the more rarefied pleasures of our fine arts. This week the Lightning celebrates our non-profits with its annual Season of Giving issue.

This year our community’s challenges have been vastly exacerbated by the necessary restrictions required to contain the Covid-19 virus. Non-profits such as Meals on Wheels, Interfaith Assistance Ministry, Safelight, or Helping Hand, to name only a few, have been especially hard pressed to deliver services safely and effectively. Selfless volunteers are a key lifeblood for our non-profits, and never have their efforts been more important. All of us are “in this together,” and all of us together are the answer.

Volunteerism. I have written about it before and will likely do so again because volunteerism is not only part and parcel of our non-profit community, but also an integral part of our town as a whole. HendoRock is known far and wide as a beautiful and excellent place to retire, a place to continue to live and thrive. But make no mistake: we are hardly a city of people in rocking chairs, we are not “God’s little waiting room.” Rather, we are a community of doers, a small town with a very big heart and the means to “do something” when needs arise. Our non-profits offer a wealth of opportunity for residents to volunteer; they offer us a place where we can do important things for everyone’s benefit.

When The Empress (TE … she who is proud to help others) and I came to town 38 years ago we began meeting wonderfully good friends through volunteerism. Both of us have served on non-profit boards and enjoyed the fruits of our efforts many times over. Every hour we have volunteered, every dollar we have donated, has come back to us in so many good ways. What goes around comes around … truly. For as much as we support our non-profits and those they serve, our non-profits serve us right back. They give us a reason.

Whether a young family needs a hand, an innocent child needs protection, an animal has been abandoned, or someone homeless needs a place to stay and recover, HendoRock has help to offer. We are blessed indeed here, and we are generous. Our non-profits help us channel our generosity where it is most needed. Government can be overwhelming and more than a little daunting; it is soulless and often cold. With the government, service delivery tends to be “take a number and wait.” Our non-profits have humanity. Our non-profits have heart. We can join the effort with our own hearts, hands and donations. We can help them help so many.

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Bill Humleker's Stuck in the Late Middle column focuses on children, grandchildren, friends and culture in what he calls HendoRock.