Love in Action
A season of generosity and celebration!
This year’s Love In Action Gala spotlighted the amazing stories of neighbors and volunteers in our community. We “unmasked the beauty of kindness” and enjoyed celebrating the kindness of volunteers and the success of Getting Ahead graduates.
One of those neighbors, Tacara Howard, shared part of her journey with Getting Ahead as she moves from poverty to stability in this video.
When Tacara Howard walked into her first Getting Ahead group session she was “heavy hearted.” Still grieving the loss of her Mom, she had just gotten out of a bad relationship, was homeless, unemployed and sleeping in her car. This single Mom of two boys, ages 9 & 14, was about to give up, when a friend and graduate of Getting Ahead suggested she give the group a try. “I was trying a lot of different things to get back on track but until Getting Ahead nothing seemed to be working. I felt like I was back at square one so I thought ‘why not give something new a try?’ I’m so glad I did. Getting Ahead saved my life.”
2022 Love In Action Volunteer Awards
Volunteers are the heroes of our community and play an important role in the pantries, economic empowerment, fundraising and volunteer development. We have a special group of volunteer honorees that we would like to recognize for representing this small revolution of kindness.
George and Lien Kent are the definition of teamwork! This amazing husband and wife duo work together to pick up donated groceries several times every month – George drives and Lien packs and loads the food.
That might not seem very special until we tell you that they do all this despite the fact that George no longer has any legs!
His adaptive vehicle allows him to not only get around town but he’s using it in a way where they can bless others!
Their joy is infectious and encouraging!
Sara Melchor is a Getting Ahead graduate who’s giving back in so many ways as she works to move her family out of poverty and into stability.
Sara always seems to be in “yes mode” when it comes to volunteering at Common Heart. She’s a Cupboard Ally volunteer delivering groceries once a month, helps provide meals for our current Getting Ahead sessions and serves at our food pantries too. As a fluent Spanish speaker, she’s extra special to have around during our evening food pantries.
Jillyn Powell is a Cupboard Ally volunteer who consistently goes above and beyond for the families she serves. She has built some wonderful friendships over the years.
One of her families suffered a horrible loss. A son was hit by a car while playing outside and later died. Their grandmother passed soon after.
Jillyn “was a rock,” mom said, providing a helping hand and listening. She helped with funeral arrangements, coordinated meal drop-offs and set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to help, collecting nearly $4,000 for the family.
Bruce Gorrell is a long-time Common Heart volunteer and what you would call a VERY active retiree! This veteran and former commercial pilot is a superhero around Common Heart, “flying” around town twice a week to three different Food Lion stores every week to gather donated groceries.
If that wasn’t enough, during tax season he also has volunteered in our free income tax service for the past 5 years, serving as the site manager for the last 4 years!