“You Can Do This.”
by Susie Smith
“You’ve got this.” “We can do it.” Words of encouragement. We say these words to others. They’re also peppered throughout our own self talk.
I found myself saying some of these words in connection with our Church Women United (CWU) unit’s project of collecting supplies for migrant farm workers.
Right now, since the food supply chains are broken, the need is great. A lot of farm workers are out of work. They have no unemployment benefits or paid leave. No health insurance. There are no stimulus checks for the undocumented. And for all, there is the looming possibility of getting sick. And the housing conditions? For most they are crowded and substandard with state regulations only requiring one wash tub for every 30 workers and one shower for every ten workers. Hard to wash hands and keep clean.
A woman in our CWU unit had a spark of an idea. What about collecting disinfecting/sanitizing supplies for farm workers? We went with it. We made a plan. We would set up our collection site on a church parking lot. We did publicity for two weeks prior to the date hoping that the call would expand from the women in our unit out to the churches and beyond into the community.
At first, I had doubts about it all. Where would folks get any sanitizing supplies to donate? Each week on my few trips to the grocery store I looked down the aisles for the cleaning sprays and hand sanitizers. Empty. And more empty. Each week empty. And then I got a call one morning from a woman in our unit. She had gone to the store at the early morning “senior” hour beginning at 6:00 a.m. On the phone she sounded excited just like she had found a buried treasure. Yes, at that early hour there were some hand sanitizers and bleach – although with buying limits. Other women shared their hunting successes. The word got out.
On the collection day our women were there in the parking lot in shifts receiving supplies from the cars driving up. I was a bit worried. “Would this just be a good idea that fizzles out?” Would our collection just be a meager offering? Nope, not at all. Every few minutes a car came by to donate. We inventoried each bottle of bleach, each bottle of liquid hand soap, each bottle of Pine-Sol, each bar of soap, etc. An outpouring from many who were eager to help.
At the end of the day there were three cars plus part of a fourth filled with supplies for the migrant farm workers living in camps in Eastern North Carolina.
One young couple drove up and donated supplies. An hour later their mother came driving by to donate a bag of old bath towels that could be used for cleaning. Another hour went by. The mother came back with more supplies saying that the grandmother wanted to donate, too – a bag full of motel size small lotions and shampoos. Giving was contagious even between generations.
Some people said that they had heard about the donation on “Next Door”. It was a spark originating from our CWU unit that became whole community action to help people in need.
My words to you, “You can do this.” You can do this, too.