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BRIDGES OUT OF POVERTY UPDATE

By Kathy Kavanaugh

Covid-19 continues to guide our efforts with Getting Ahead in a Just-Getting’-By World classes. We usually offer our classes in the Watervliet Housing community room and the office has not yet opened for public meetings. The office, however, has expressed its continued dedication to starting a community organization with the purpose of supporting Bridges Out of Poverty and the Getting Ahead classes and graduates. Executive Director Matt Ethier, supported by Mary Clinton, reports he is working to enlist community support and initiate a meeting soon, depending on the development of the virus.

Covid-19 has not prevented us from keeping in touch with our graduates and reaching out to a number of people living in poverty. Community-minded people continue to give us money so that we can give it to families or individuals who are struggling financially especially during this economic downturn. To date we have received $2700. When we were distributing these past few weeks, two mothers were brought to tears as they had just lost their jobs due to a slowdown in the companies they were working for and were struggling to purchase food and keep their apartments. We called to offer the gift within a day of their becoming so vulnerable. It was another little miracle of our work, bringing joy to EVERYONE involved! Along with the cash gift we gave one mother, we gave her two gorgeous sequined dresses. She sent me a picture of her dressed in one of them. She was glowing as she readied herself to visit her husband in prison and was going to give him a picture. We hadn’t seen her smile like this in quite some time. We had a garage sale to raise tuition money for another woman and when we called to tell her we had $400 to give her, she said, “and you didn’t even know I just came from the doctor yesterday being diagnosed with a severed tendon in my ankle and another slight fracture as well.” She had to quit school and work and was in a terrible place emotionally until she learned of our gift. She kept saying, “can’t believe you didn’t know!” God just keeps sending us to the people who need it the most. We continue to keep in touch with Getting Ahead grads by phone and by bringing them items such as food, furniture, household items, coats and other clothing. Most of all, we come as someone who listens and cares. Allies/mentors have offered to help previous graduates, if they desire, get out to vote in the November election This fits so well into one of the goals of the Getting Ahead students of becoming involved in their communities and making positive changes.

We are so looking forward to eventually gathering in person with these fine women and hopefully some of you will be able to join us!

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