This is my second year as president of the Board of Directors of The Caring Place. The only thing worse than having a pandemic during your second year as president is having a pandemic during your first year as president. Nobody wants to be at the helm of a previously-
perfectly-healthy, 35-year-old ship that is headed into a squall of epic proportions. Fortunately, my previous year’s experience imbued me with an adequate amount of confidence that we could weather the storm by battening down the hatches, relying on the generosity of the people of our community, and counting on an important ship -- stewardship -- to keep us afloat.
And you have.
As the sea of COVID-19 destruction roiled across the world:
- We shuttered our stores -- the source of 65 percent of our revenue.
- “Stay home and stay safe,” we told our nearly 500 volunteers -- the people on whom we rely so heavily as our workforce.
- We stopped accepting donated goods -- the indispensable lifeblood of The Shops at The Caring Place and Second Helping.
- We shifted our distribution of financial assistance from walk-in to call-in appointments -- a change that is missing an in-person, human touch.
- We canceled our annual fundraiser, Deep in the Heart of Caring, and our holiday event, Sweets, Treats and Trees -- two fun events that garner both financial benefits and community recognition.
- We created new ways to make food available to hungry families via our drive-through lanes.
- We adjusted our sails when it came to the logistics of meeting needs while staying distant.
And we held our breath.
As an organization who depends on the largesse of the community, whether it is through donations of goods and food, shopping at the store, financial contributions, or grants, we worried that COVID-19 would prove to be insurmountable.
And it has not.
Like a tsunami, financial donations surged through our doors. The people of Georgetown,
government organizations, local foundations, faith based organizations, small businesses, large businesses, and other non-profits lifted us up. I am reminded of Sally Fields acceptance speech at the Oscars in 1985 when she said, “You like me!” You like us. You really like us.
And it shows.
Of course, the storm has not passed. We need you to continue to help us help others with
your financial contributions until we are full steam ahead with: our stores completely open; our donations department at the ready every day to receive your gently-used items; our volunteers back at their posts; and, our food pantry bustling again with clients.
And we know you will.
The Caring Place got its start during the stormy financial downturn of the mid-1980s. The economy was in shambles, people were losing their jobs, parents could not afford clothes for their kids or food for their families. Out of this, two women, Yoli Branson and Marty Maxwell, gave life to The Caring Place – a place where people with emergency needs could get help keeping their heads above water.
And they did.
During its beginning, my father, Charlie Steger, was The Caring Place’s first president of the Board of Directors. As a fledgling philanthropy on its maiden voyage, navigating the waters of a newly formed organization during a financial maelstrom was certainly a challenge. But he knew the people of Georgetown were a giving lot and prone to acts of kindness.
And they were.
Three and a half decades later, we are again facing troubled waters and do not know if we are in the eye of the storm or nearing the catastrophic aftermath of the surge, but mitigating the damage and meeting needs is of paramount importance. We may suffer the impact of coronavirus for months to come; we need your help. Please donate online at www.caringplacetx.org or send your donation to The Caring Place, P.O. Box 1215, Georgetown, TX 78627.
You are our port in the storm.
With warm regards,
Holly Steger Stevens
President, Board of Directors