New Year, New Day

I’m not a “New Year’s Resolution” kind of person.  I don’t like winter, and when the new year rolls around, I’d rather be hibernating than jumping in to “fresh new starts”. I’m not ashamed to admit, that this year, I’m quite happy to close the door on 2014 and consciously working to make 2015 less chaotic and more “productive”.

There were a lot of personal, behind the scenes things that made this past year difficult to function and focus on our public mission.

Though I don’t know what the next year will bring (do any of us?).  As I write this post, there is an aura of hope that things will be more settled in my daily life and we can make some giant steps forward at All Are Welcome!

First up, we have our 4th (four years – can you believe it!) Annual RUN FOR YOUR LUNCH 5.5k – a run/walk followed by a Chowder lunch open to the public and runners alike!  Check out our Face Book page & website for more details!

Another big idea is to add a second fundraiser – something we hope will become another annual event – this one in the warmer weather..Save Saturday, June 27th on your calendar and be prepared for something we hope you’ll really like! There’s a lot of working parts to this one, and before we give too much away, we want to make sure there’s a solid plan in place!

On the not-so-often seen side of All Are Welcome, we’re looking to grow our administrative volunteer base – some tech stuff, some PR stuff and some business office stuff – a few of the things needed to make our meal service grow and reach more folks!

We’ve heard from a number of folks that our mission is vital to our community and that we’re doing “a good thing”.  While the words are nice to hear, as founder and manager, I feel there is so much more we could be doing and many more folks we could be reaching.

As our name states, we are a community organization. In 2015 we’re hoping to reach out and rely on the support of a wider group of folks in our community!

Share our Mission: Do you work with elderly folks on  a fixed income? Bring ’em to lunch!  Families who are struggling on a budget?  Hand ’em a menu and let them know where they can get a nice hot breakfast on Saturday morning!  Know a vet who offered their time and service to our country? Let ’em know we’re there!

Build our Mission: How often do you eat out? – Have one or two meals at All Are Welcome! Own a business…know someone who does? Advertise on our placemat or donate for a sponsorship! Just want to help? Give directly – purchase a gift card we can use for supplies, send a check to cover expenses!

Support our Mission: Do you like working with people? Offer a few hours of service waiting on our guests! Do you like working with food? Spend some time preparing food during the week! Good with a computer? Let’s talk about our tech needs!  Do you like sharing ideas and networking? Help us share the word!

All Are Welcome is set to make big things happen and do more good in our community.  There are a lot of good folks in our community who can help us make it grow!  Something small, like posting our monthly menu could go a long way to helping just one person get to our weekly meals!

For those of you who have always been there…THANK YOU!  For those of you who’ve thought about it, and haven’t gotten to us yet … NOW is the time!  And for those who hadn’t “really” thought about it before – maybe one of those “new year’s resolutions” could be to learn more about our mission!

Share our menu! Attend a fundraiser! Come for a meal!  Help us make 2015 a BIG year for AAW!!

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Year ‘Round Giving

Happy Winter (YUK). It’s cold, it’s gray, it’s HERE.  My least favorite season for weather.

Which, is only a 1/2 truth.  I celebrate Christmas, so December isn’t so bad…I like cinnamon and peppermint – the “scents” and flavors of the season. 3 out of 4 of my children have birthdays in January, so another month of winter is full of celebrations for our family.  All Are Welcome has our annual RUN FOR YOUR LUNCH fundraiser (more on that soon!) in January too…so other than not wanting to be cold, the first half of winter has a few good points.

But let’s back up to the whole “Holiday Season” thing.  Yes, for me, and others who celebrate Christmas, there’s a lot of things going on, and it’s usually good.  Not so much maybe for those who are struggling financially.  Being bombarded with ads telling you to make others (and even yourself) happy by buying more things can really add to stress, not make you happy.

So, those of us who are doing ok, take anonymous tags off trees and help others have a “christmas” by ensuring there’s something under the tree.  WAIT – what if you don’t celebrate Christmas?  Or what if your kid’s birthday is the week before or the week after the 25th of December…can you ask the Christmas Wish people to throw in an extra gift for that?

Don’t get me wrong, I think helping out others who are struggling is a really GOOD thing.  But why only during “the holidays”?  Why do we have giant food drives ONLY at Thanksgiving? Why do we focus on filling needs and wish lists ONLY at Christmastime? It’s nice to help someone else celebrate the holidays, but what about the folks who have trouble getting by all year long? Like the single parent with 3 kids who outgrew everything they own over the summer and don’t have back to school clothes? Or those that lost their job, unemployment ran out and the family can’t keep the lights turned on in April? And that veteran down the street who’s living on a fixed income but hasn’t had the extra money to buy a new set of sheets for his bed in over a year?

While we’re all going a little crazy shopping and baking and taking care of those less fortunate, it’s a good time to remember that some times the struggles go well beyond the holidays.  All Are Welcome serves two meals per week, all year long.  We need support from our community to keep that going, all year long!

This year, we’ve made some changes to our annual fundraiser (the RUN FOR YOUR LUNCH), hoping that more of our supporters will come from the wider community, not just the “running crowd”. In addition to our 5.5K road race, we’re inviting some vendors and crafters to encourage more folks to join us, even if they don’t race. We serve a homemade chowder & bread lunch with hot drinks and dessert for $15.  We’ll have a few more door prize drawings and giveaways and maybe a few more surprises as well!

Please consider adding All Are Welcome to your “giving” list in 2015! You can sponsor our event, make an online donation, choose All Are Welcome on your AMAZON SMILE shopping site, or just come and dine with us once or twice per month!  Our regular meals are served Thursday from 11AM – 2PM (lunch) and Saturday from 7:30AM – 11:00AM (breakfast) and every donation (large or small) helps ensure we can continue to provide meals for those who struggle all year long.