Sometimes people don’t know what they don’t know.
That’s why points of access within the community are important. Patchwork Central is one such point of access.
Someone came to us recently to pick up some food from our food pantry. Shawn worked through the intake questions that are required to get a food order. Name. Address. Birthdate. Number of people in household. Simple answers needed before food is received.
But this day, the answers to the questions weren’t so straightforward.
From the answers provided, Shawn began to realize that food was only a small part of what the person standing in the main office needed. The person had just found the courage to leave an abusive partner, bringing children and moving into new housing with hopes of staying safe and starting over. The person had never needed to use a food pantry before, but was taking one thing at a time. Finding some food for their family was a priority.
Shawn thought of the donation of toiletries that we had just received thanks to a hygiene product drive our intern (now employee) Molly organized at Ivy Tech. Shawn put together a kit with items to help the person feel clean and cared for. Shawn also provided the names of a couple other organizations who might be able to help with supplies for the children. I wondered if the person was aware of the services that the Albion Fellows Bacon Center provides for victims of domestic violence. The person had not heard about Albion, so Shawn looked up the phone number and helped the person make the call to get connected to the resources and advocates there. In the end, the person was feeling more confident about the next steps toward a new life.
So, what began as a simple food order became much more. Access points like Patchwork allow for this kind of help—connecting people with services that they didn’t even know they were looking for.