Arlene slept on a portable lawn lounge in her mother's living room. She shopped, cooked and waited on her mother and nephew, who had drug issues but nonetheless had the privilege of sleeping in the second bedroom. She dreaded any contact with her abusive husband. When the strain got too much, she fled to The Women's Room, a local shelter, where she received the encouragement she needed to rebuild her confidence and her life.
Arlene's story is far from unusual. As of the 2015 census, more than 15% of Pasadena's residents live below the poverty line. Thankfully organizations like the one above exist to help. The women's room is one of many services offered at Friends in Deed, a para-organization that has been a fixture of the Pasadena community for over 120 years! This year Walden is partnering with Friends in Deed for "Big Help Day" by collecting food donations for their pantry.
Here, in their own words, are Big Help Committee Chairs Rachel Pinto, Elaine Cameron and Sandy Barajas. They explain "Big Help Day" and tell why YOU should get involved:
What does Big Help mean to Walden?
"Big Help is a day when we can all come together to give back to the greater community on things that matter to us and to connect with causes (and most importantly the people behind those causes) that align with the school's Mission through volunteerism. It is one way we show our gratitude for the world we live in and the people around us."
Why do you volunteer?
"Volunteering allows us to connect to our community and make it a better place. Even helping out with the smallest tasks can make a real difference to the lives of people, the environment, animals, and organizations in need. It's about uniting people from diverse backgrounds to work toward a common goal. We do it because at Walden we think it's incredibly important to make a positive impact on our world through service. Big Help gives us an opportunity to come together to learn meaningful lessons and to live and reinforce the importance that we are all stewards of our world."
When is Big Help Day?
"This year Big Help day is on Saturday, March 25 and we want to challenge each of you to "think bigger" by considering what it means to make "Big Help" a lifelong journey. We have the ability to make a difference in day-to-day life. Whether it's developing relationships with local seniors, reviving the garden beds to supply a local food bank, or leading Walden's partnership with a local pantry, every bit of positive impact makes a difference. We hope to see all of you on March 25 where we will gather to support the greater community."
Thanks for your inspiring leadership Rachel, Elaine and Sandy!
We began this article with a story about Arlene. Today, thanks to Friends in Deed and the Women's Room, she is confident and happily living in a cozy apartment. Her abusive husband is totally out of the picture, but she still cares for her mother, who lives nearby.
We hope you'll choose to partner with us to help transform lives like Arlene's on Saturday March 25th. You can also read more inspirational stories of transformation on the Friends in Deed website here.