By Michele Sabean l Director of Development, SPAN Inc.
Did you know that in addition to being a food pantry, SPAN offers emergency financial assistance to help individuals and families through an emergency – a utility cut, a court-ordered eviction or the need for a medical prescription? It’s a big part of what we do.
We anticipate an increased need for emergency financial assistance and listen to our phones ringing and checking our journals – it is clear that the time has come. Food and gasoline prices are rising and the government supports that have been here during the pandemic are ending. Over the past few months, we have provided as many people with financial aid as with food aid. The number of families we help financially per month has almost tripled since the end of last summer, a sign of changes as we emerge from the pandemic.
With this increase in the need for financial assistance, it is the perfect time for the return of SPAN’s main fundraiser. After a two-year hiatus, planning for SPAN’s 10th Annual Turkey Trot 5k has begun! Mark your calendars for Saturday, November 5 at Kinder Farm Park. Several companies have already signed up as sponsors. If you would like to help plan the event or be a sponsor, please let us know. Look for race registration information in the coming months.
SPAN is considered an “emergency” or “crisis” network, which means that most of the clients we serve are in a unique situation due to an emergency such as layoff, divorce, violence servants, illness or death in the family. Most SPAN customers are one-time customers who just needed a little help getting back on their feet. Recently I received a message from someone we had helped and now wanted to give back.
While talking with clients, I have thought about these moments of crisis in life. Also, being in the middle of graduation season, I took time to reflect on my life experiences.
“Life taught me that I’m not always in control. Life is full of experiences, lessons, heartache and pain. But it also showed me love, beauty, possibilities and new beginnings. Embrace it all. It makes us who we are, and after every storm comes clear skies. -Anonymous
When I see people going through difficult situations, I also look around and see beauty and love. I hear clients tell me, even when things are not easy for themselves, how they take care of other family members and/or neighbors. I see our volunteers who often go above and beyond with their time and effort. I see scout groups, youth groups, neighborhoods and other community members donating money and/or groceries – with others in mind even as prices go up for all of us. I see community members asking for what items we particularly need or reading our wishlist on Facebook, and I see those donations at our doorstep. I see the quick and generous responses from many local businesses to step up and sponsor our Turkey Trot.
As I think of new graduates, with new adventures ahead, I know they will encounter difficult terrain at times, but I also continually remind myself of the love, beauty, and possibility that exists for all of us as well.
SPAN (Serving People Across Neighborhoods) is an independent non-profit food pantry and emergency services provider that assists local families with eviction prevention, utility cuts, medical/prescription bills and the food since 1990. SPAN serves 14 ZIP codes in Anne Arundel County. SPAN is located behind Our Shepherd Lutheran Church at 400 Benfield Road in Severna Park. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. For more information, call 410-647-0889, email [email protected] or visit www.spanhelps.org. Financial donations can be made through the website. Food donations can be dropped off 24/7 using the storage bin behind the SPAN building. Please “Like” SPAN on Facebook!