An article in the Christian Science Monitor talks about Family-to-Family, a nonprofit group started by a kindly New York woman who was moved to help people less fortunate.
Reporter Katherine Arms writes that Pam Koner “started her charity, Family-to-Family, in 2002 when she saw a newspaper article about Pembroke, Ill., which noted that 51 percent of families with children there were living below the poverty line.
“She was shocked to read that the town had little in the way of infrastructure: no supermarket, no pharmacy, no bank. Many families lived in houses with dirt floors.
“She immediately sprang into action and found families [in] Hastings-on-Hudson, a small commuter village just 19 miles north of New York City, who wanted to help families in Pembroke. Soon food – canned vegetables, fruit, spaghetti sauce, tuna – was on its way.”
Here is Koner’s story and the story of how Family-to-Family efforts spread.
Now here is my question. Since there are many organizations doing nearly the same thing, why do so many people start their own organization?
Answer: Because it’s theirs. That’s what I think anyway. Rather than work for the Red Cross, the Salvation Army or any other established group, people like to do their own thing. It’s more motivating. Even though only the big organizations can handle the big disasters, everyone can do a little bit that is important to some person in need.
At the same time, I can’t help wondering about the rest of the Pembroke story. Do the people need to rely on donations forever? Has the state noticed Pembroke? Has it offered home renovation or weatherization? Training? Jobs? If you know anything about Pembroke, please tell me.
Photograph: Ann Hermes/ Christian Science Monitor Staff