The Blessings Are Great
When I rejoined the Rainbow Village staff in November of last year, I thought I had a pretty good idea about what goes on at the Village. After all, I served as a volunteer beginning in 1995 and then as a part-time employee from 2000 – 2004. In the intervening years I kept track of Rainbow Village through my church. I visited the after school program with a Girl Scout troop. I supported the program through backpack drives and book fairs, but I hadn’t visited the current campus until last summer. I was astounded – by the growth in the facilities and by the expansion of the program and I could only imagine the transformations occurring in the lives of the Rainbow Village residents. I must confess that I continue to be astounded each day.
In 2000, it was rare to receive more than a few phone calls a day from those seeking assistance. Contrast that to last week, where over the course of two days, we received 24 requests for assistance from families who are currently or soon to be homeless. Not only have the numbers of those in need of housing assistance increased, but Rainbow Village has also become quite visible. Conduct a search on the internet for homelessness in Atlanta and Rainbow Village is often one of the first listings. Social service agencies in metropolitan Atlanta send us referrals on a daily basis. The need is great, far greater than I imagined.
In 2000, it was also rare for someone to come to our office door unannounced and bringing donations. We were still a newcomer in the service community. Today that is far from true. We are blessed through our partnerships with churches, businesses, service organizations and individuals. We receive donations of much-needed items every week…nearly every day. We have a loyal following of “Angels” who support us with monthly cash donations. I am amazed at the outpouring of love that envelops Rainbow Village: children asking their friends to honor birthdays by giving to Rainbow Village, churches committed to monthly service by providing meals before our evening program, business people calling and asking simply, “what can we do for you, what do you need?” and countless individuals, who learn of our program and feel compelled to give of their time and their talents. The giving is great, far greater than I imagined.
In 1995, Rainbow House was a fledgling organization committed to helping homeless families with children yet learning each day how best to help those families. By the time I left in 2004, Rainbow House had become Rainbow Village, Inc.; we’d grown from a single house turned duplex to a “village” of eight homes in Norcross and an expansion to Duluth was imminent. During my tenure, the offices grew from one room, to two, to an office suite, to a wing of offices to accommodate the needs of the resident families. Our after school program and evening programs were in their infancy, staff members were being added to better serve our families and community recognition was rising. Due to the generosity of many, we now occupy our current campus and are poised to expand yet again with much-needed additional homes and a Community Center. It is both daunting and exciting to be a part of this expansion. It is above all a blessing to be both a witness and a recipient of the transformation that occurs within this village. The blessings are great, far greater than I imagined.
By Holly Moore