On Monday and actually every month on the second Monday for at least the last three years, something amazing will happen, and very few people will even know it.
On Monday and actually every month on the second Monday for at least the last three years, something amazing will happen, and very few people will even know it. This amazing thing will happen because of a great team of people who do what they do just because it is the right thing to do, and more importantly because if they didn’t do it, it wouldn’t be done. This great event is the distribution of commodities to the communities of Las Animas and Hasty through the efforts of the nonprofit organization Las Animas Helping Hands.
The event begins around 7:30 a.m. when the first group of volunteers shows up to receive the Care and Share truck that holds the food products to be broken down and distributed. On the truck will be pallets of food products that will be unloaded and then packaged into smaller quantities for the recipients who will begin to form the line around 8:30 a.m. When the recipient gets their assortment of foods, they will receive a grocery bag or two, and in the case of the seniors, a box of additional products. These bags will contain a carefully accounted for number of products, and will even be carried to the vehicles for the recipient who is unable to do so, or delivered personally to the homes of a good number of people who are unable to join in the line at the site. Over the last three years, this event has provided this service to nearly 13,500 recipients in the Las Animas and Hasty/McClave communities. If the story ended here, it would be remarkable in itself, but this is really just the outer shell of this story. The amazing part is the story of how the bags get packed and delivered. These are the truly remarkable men and women of the team. This is their story, and I am honored to tell it.
For over three years, nearly 5,000 people a year have been served by a team of volunteers that have included only 17 men and women on a consistent basis, and on average have grown to between 25-30 members. This team will show up around 8 a.m. and will begin the work of breaking down and repackaging the products so that the recipient can be assured that they get an equal share of the monthly allocation. Whether it is so cold that you can’t feel your fingers, or so hot that you have to wipe sweat out of your eyes to see, these 17 men and women have been there, simply because they believe in what they are doing and in this way they have a chance to make a difference. And what a difference it is. Once the packages are made, they will be hand delivered to Hasty/McClave, Sunshine Manor, and various addresses in Las Animas where they recipient is unable to come to the site. I have participated in this process a couple of times, and I have never seen a bigger smile than the ones on the faces of the people doing the giving, and the people receiving. As Sharon would say, this is truly God’s work, and it is done by angels right here in our presence. These men and women don’t do this because they are trying to be elected, move up in some fashion or any other reason other than that they believe that they are making a real difference. And for this, they are truly remarkable. At the Hasty/McClave Firehouse alone, 25-30 families will receive the benefit of the hard work of these remarkable men and women.
If you really want to see what a remarkable team these men and women are, grab some gloves and come to the Bent County maintenance shed beside the courthouse, and join in the volunteer efforts. When you get there you will find the team hard at work, and chatting together about whatever is going on in their own lives, catching up since they last saw each other, or just talking about the weather. Be prepared to work hard, learn about the lives of average people in small town USA, and walk away a better person because of the opportunity. I know I did, and I loved every minute of it.