We welcome back Jennifer Hernandez-Reyes, Communication and Reporting Specialist at the Sixth Street Shelter (SSS) to Poverty’s Edge.
I am not a garden person. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that plants are not my friends. But as I see the flowers come up year after year with very little maintenance, it got me thinking about our families.
Year after year, I see families come into the shelter with very little, yet they seem to blossom while they’re here. They look to our programs to bring that ray of sunshine that they need to overcome the dark skies. In this field, we try to see what we can do to teach them new skills and help them grow to their fullest potential.
The problem is that sometimes that ray of light can only do so much. As any plant, they need water to grow, fertilizer to gain strength, a gardener to look and tend to it, and so many other things that a green thumb can provide that I have no idea about…but I do know that sunshine is not enough.
For many of our families, those community programs that have helped them throughout their struggles are being jeopardized. The lack of adequate funding is compounded by the depressing employment rate, the lack of affordable housing, and many other long standing problems within our community.
There is a shortage everywhere. Our programs can only do so much with the funding that we have; residents will likely fall through the cracks and not receive the services needed to continue their growth. Our government looks to put a band aid on all of our social problems…a quick fix, at best, while long-term problems fester. But in the long run, our plants may never flourish and produce the way they should. We can all work together to produce the best garden we can, because our future really does depend on it.