The key to empowerment is the ability to access and acquire information. In 2012, GBM added an initiative entitled “Informative Fridays” to our Friday, “food day”, schedule. Our staff and volunteers wanted to do more than “just provide groceries” – they wanted to more effectively meet the deeper needs of the individuals and families who come for groceries. Before groceries are distributed, the group receives information on a selected topic through a variety of means – professional speakers, personal stories, music, videos, poems, flyers, hand-outs, open dialogue, etc. This collective experience is designed to motivate a group to pursue changes that go beyond the individual. These shared common experiences have helped to avoid misinterpretation of individual experiences, and they continue to help put these experiences into perspective, alleviating loneliness and isolation.
This also gives us the opportunity to:
- Build on-going connections and bridge the gap between our Serving People and Pursuing Justice components.
- Stay in touch with needs and concerns of our neighbors in the community we serve.
- Provide educational information and bring awareness to justice related issues.
- Provide tools and share resources that lead toward increased self-sufficiency and better quality of life.
- Provide personal, spiritual, motivational, and inspirational stories to help sustain, nurture and mend self-esteem and self-worth.
Through this empowerment, individuals can develop plans for action to solve a problem, and they develop strategies and behavioral patterns that will help them in future challenges.