Being a part of CEF is being a part of a family that knows no bounds, and I feel that more than ever during the holidays.
I feel that family around me when I see a man who only recently moved out of the shelter inviting everyone he sees in the CEF office over to his house for Thanksgiving dinner. “No one should feel alone and unloved during the holidays,” he says.
I feel that family around me when I see two CEF advocates from UNC spending the night in the hospital with a CEF member who was in a bicycle accident.
I feel that family around me when I witness a CEF member speaking to our volunteers during training, saying he had become convinced that society no longer cared about African-American males like himself, until he walked into our office.
And wow. I got married this October, and I felt that family around me with incandescent grace. I received all kinds of amazing gifts to celebrate our wedding, but being honest with you, the gifts that truly brought me to tears were from CEF members. A sweet card with $10 tucked inside from an unemployed man living in the shelter, a flower made out of clay by the daughter of a member who recently moved out of the shelter, and a member who pledged to make a donation to CEF in my honor, and is making that pledge in “installments” from each of her paychecks through the end of the year. I simply bow my head and cry.
There is no other word to describe the CEF community besides family – with all the complexity, messiness, forgiveness, and love that goes along with it. And this year the CEF family did some amazing work together: 115 members gained employment, 65 moved into independent housing, and 256 members have now saved $270,000 towards personal goals. And all throughout the year, 250 volunteer advocates provided person-centered support to 420 members.
This holiday season, we hope you will make a gift to CEF – a gift that keeps giving, and giving, and giving, and knows no bounds. Thank you, from all of us, for your partnership and support.
With joy and gratitude,