SLM Newsletter 4/16/20

I’ve got that fuzzy feeling…

How the heck are ya?  This is crazy isn’t it?  In general, I feel like I am doing pretty good, and then all of a sudden I am caught off guard by an awkward laugh turned to ugly-cry turned back to laugh. This emotion, this reaction, is uncomfortable and something I have felt a little hard to nail down, but I think it just stems from general life discombobulation and disconnect. That kind of fuzzy feeling we all have when the path back to “normal” (and I am not sure that is even the best path right?!?) isn’t immediately apparent. 

Today, I did something I needed badly to feel a little “normal” again. I left the chilly basement room of my house (where the lower half of my body has been snuggled in a sleeping bag and my face has been in front of a screen for most of my recent work days) and I met up with Maria and Molly (wearing masks and keeping our distance) to deliver special food and supply boxes to every Eritrean Family for the Easter Holiday that they celebrate this weekend.  Oh, it was so wonderful to see the beautiful faces of my friends. The positive effect on my heart- immeasurable. Their faces looked a little like mine (wide-eyed and discombobulated- see first paragraph), but they also radiated love and hope and humor and gratitude and resilience. And I just thought, “They are doing ok- WE are doing our job.  We are living our mission. This is why we are here”.

So while yes, much of my life feels uncomfortably fuzzy, there is one thing in which my clarity has not wavered. I feel more solid in the mission and the importance of our work than ever and more proud of our amazing team than ever- each doing our own part to adapt, to piece it together, and then to rise to the occasion. As I described in my last email, and that you can now find on our website, we have been able to move quickly to shift the services we offer to prioritize our work with partners to keep families safe, fed, housed, accessing available financial assistance, connected to on-line education, and still feel like they are a part of a community that cares about them.  In ways, it has been a magical time that we can do these things, that we are here, and that we can still offer a warm “hug”, even if it is with a “knock and drop” box of holiday essentials.

Uncertainty is hard. It is just emotionally hard to live in the unknown, the uncertain- how ever much you rise to the occasion, still it lurks under the surface. Find small ways that help you feel connected.  Get out of your basement and out from behind screens as often as you can. And most importantly, be kind to yourselves.  Embrace the uncomfortable laugh turned to ugly-cry turned to laugh.  It helps remind us that we are all human and in this together.

In love and gratitude,

Mary

PS- Those boxes we delivered?  They contained all sorts of goodies that your generosity has made happen.  We used donated gift cards and recent monetary donations to purchase teff flour, green coffee beans, sanitizing wipes and other essential staples (I got some nasty looks for assumed “hoarding” of wipes as I went through the checkout line this morning-ha!), and each family also got a beautiful handmade mask to keep them safe during trips out of the house. Next week, we will deliver care packages to families beginning to celebrate the Ramadan holiday that begins next Friday. You guys are the ones that make this happen. Please consider an in-kind gift of supplies or gift cards or better yet- commit to a monthly donation to get us through this time if your family feels able to. At the end of this month, there will also be the opportunity to support our COVID specific relief work through Missoula Gives– more info about that on it’s way ūüėČ Thank you.

PPS- GRETA HAD HER BABY!!!!! HOORAY!  Mom and baby are home and happy and healthy. We got in a quick visit to peek in through the window at this amazing woman and our new office manager- Iris ūüėČ She agreed to let me share this picture with you all. Sorry for the window glare but hopefully we will all get to meet her in person soon!


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Here are a few photos of our adventures delivering holiday food and supplies for Eritrean families yesterday- doing our best to follow essential social distancing AND support families.

Kamoon Arabian Cuisine

Did you guys know that the refugee-run Kamoon food truck continues to serve up delicious dinners daily?!  Parked in the lot at Imagine Nation Brewing Company (1151 W. Broadway), you are able to order ahead of time via telephone or on-line and then grab a growler or 4-pack of the most delicious beer from Imagine Nation. If you pick up both food and beer, you get $1 off food and $2 off beer!  Come out and support these amazing small businesses that add incredible value to our community.

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AmeriCorps Position

Soft Landing is looking for an AmeriCorps Volunteer to join our dynamic team for the 2020-2021 school year. This full time position will be specifically focused on working with and supporting refugee youth in accessing and pursuing higher education.

Request for additional information or questions about the position can be emailed to [email protected] or learn more by clicking on the button below.

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Find out more about how to support Soft Landing Missoula’s COVID-19 response effort during Missoula Gives by checking our our Facebook Event page.  Please share widely!


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