More than 40 children call Rancho 3m Christian Orphanage and School home. I spent the first week of July with the children at staff at Rancho 3m along with a group from my church. Located near Juarez, Mexico, most kids have come to the Ranch because of abandonment, sexual abuse, or imprisoned parents. By gazing at their faces you would never knox the deep pain and trauma that the children have endured at the hands of those who are suppose to love them most. Our week consisted of construction projects around the property, eye exams and Bible school for the kids along with good old fashion play time thrown in. We did our best to love on these kids and help the staff take care of them better.
I assume that most people return from mission or service trips with a sense of accomplishment about all the good that they have done in the world. However, for the second year in a row, I returned seeing all that is wrong with the world and rededicated myself to do all that I can to change it. The issues of orphaned children, sexual abuse and all other variety of social ills are not confined to Northern Mexico; they can be found under our noses here in Knoxville. I work for a non-profit service agency and I see many of these issues every day. I’d like to know what ways Knoxify.com readers are involved in making Knoxville a better place for everyone who lives here. What agencies are doing good work that we should all know about? What social issues need to be addressed?
If you need ideas on how to get involved in local community service check out Love Knoxville which exists to connect everyday Knoxvillians to service opportunities around town or the Compassion Coalition which connects local church congregations with agencies that are attempting to reduce suffering and injustice in our community. Both of these agencies are faith-based, as are my convictions about service, but I think that all people have a responsibility to improve the communities that we live in for all people. So, how can you love Knoxville?
Photography by Osvaldo_Zoom
Donate or volunteer to Fish. Many people run out of food and not just the poor. FISH helps by providing groceries and some dry goods for a few days with no questions asked while the family gets back on their feet.
People on fixed incomes (and for other reasons) have difficulty paying their electric billing. CAC will help a family that has fallen behind on their electric bill. CAC has constraints like only being one payment behind (I think) so people need to be informed of this service so that they can use it correctly.
TN Voices for Children is a group started by Tipper Gore which helps make sure parents of children with special needs are aware of services in the area. They will also advocate for the parent by attending IEPs when appropriate. See their website for more information.
I went to reply and realized that I had made comment text the same as the background. Not good.
Anyhow, volunteering to fish is an awesome idea. Never thought of that before.
Thanks for the info Doug. It is a good reminder that it isn’t only the “traditional poor” who are having trouble eating in these diffucult economic times. Many solidly middle class families are also having trouble making it to the next pay check with the rising fuel and food costs. FISH is a great agency to help them and keep our community strong.
A new question, what issue impassions you enough to want to do something to change it?
I’ve helped out with Lost Sheep Ministries before, which feeds homeless and underprivileged people in the downtown Knoxville area.
I like how this organization got started (former homeless woman created it) and what they do is great, but I’m not too keen on the name. I mean, I’m pretty sure that not everybody there is a “lost sheep”, but nonetheless, they’re doing some good work to provide food (for more than just one night) and clothing for the homeless.
If you’d like to know more, you can read up on it here:
As for your *new* question, Leslie…I’m impassioned because I know what a blessing it is to have more than I deserve/need. Also, any abundance we have should be shared with those who are lacking.
Great post, Leslie!
Thanks for the info on Lost Sheep. I’ve worked one evening with them and I love Maxine’s excitement for what they are doing.