Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Where are the new faces to help charities?

Nearly 75 people attended the WFAE Public Conversation Series – Charlotte Mission Possible forum on Monday.

Clutching umbrellas and raincoats, participants filled the front section of Spirit Square's McGlohon Theater. They listened as panelists talked about the challenges facing the Charlotte community. We heard from heads of agencies as well as community volunteers. Panelists talked about the incredible need in Charlotte, from housing to food, and they debated whether there was duplication of services.

The turnout was commendable, especially for a rainy Monday night, but it was only people from local charities and non-profits. There were no new faces. I saw everyone from executive directors to volunteers. Many of the Charlotte Observer big dogs and other Mission Possible media partners attended as well.

It's encouraging to see the same people working to help Charlotte's most vulnerable also spending the evening talking about how to better serve the community. Their dedication is an inspiration to all of us.

But I'm tired of hearing from and seeing the same folks, often saying the same thing.

One of the goals of Mission Possible was to engage everyday people to help charities and non-profits survive this double whammy – a bad economy and more people in need.
This conversation is about food pantries and homelessness, but it's also bigger than these types of problems. The conversation must ensure that the community's desire to help doesn’t end when the media spotlight fades. To do that we need new voices and ideas.

(Photo by Observer photographer David T. Foster)