From the CEO – Growing Strong

It has been a tough year, hasn’t it? 

I have heard from plenty of colleagues and friends that they are very ready to put 2021 in the rear-view mirror. This year has brought plenty of pain. But for me and for our organization, it also has revealed lasting lessons that will inform the important work that we do in the year ahead.  

Those include:  

Be ready for the unexpected

and  

Working together, we can accomplish anything.  

In partnership with the County, we launched the Food HUB at the IW Clothing Center location to respond to food insecurity issues driven mostly by the pandemic. We expected to serve about 300 families each week, with demand diminishing over time. It has not. In reality the number of families served exceeds 500 every week, and we expect to distribute a total of more than 1 million pounds of food by early 2022.  

Our Connections program provides resource counseling to help people facing issues like impending utility cutoffs, a lack of access to medical care, and problems keeping up with rent or bills. The number of people being served by that program has grown at a stunning rate. The number of people receiving utility assistance more than doubled compared to the prior year. More than FOUR TIMES the number of neighbors needed eviction prevention and rental assistance relative to the previous fiscal year.  

As needs have grown, IW has responded. The growth in demand has meant we needed to build out our staff, our facilities, and our capabilities, with the attendant increase in expenses. Our increased expenses also are impacted by our concerted effort to pay our staff the wages they deserve. They are the lifeblood of IW and our greatest asset. 

In addition to our resilient staff, what has been a constant, pulling us through adversity and change? 

You, our faithful supporters. From financial help to donating your time to sort clothes or make meals, to the cheerful gifts you are dropping off to brighten the holidays for our residents, you fill our hearts with joy and gratitude. Because of you, despite the challenges of the past year, we stand ready to face the new year with energy, optimism, and strength. 

Wishing you and yours a joyous season – 

Courtney Hall 

CEO 

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