“Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.” – Roy Bennett
For those of you who don’t know Teresa, she is CUMAC’s Community Closet Manager. She’s full of positivity and energy, and will always find a way to brighten your day. I stopped in the thrift shop last week to visit Teresa and see how her day was going. We were chatting for a few minutes when all of a sudden someone walked through the doors. Teresa greets the man with a big hello, and his face immediately lights up with joy. His name is Fernando, a kind man with a big smile. He stopped to talk with us for a few minutes and in our short conversation I couldn’t help but feel moved by his story.
Like many others in our community, Fernando has fallen on hard times and struggles with homelessness. He first came to CUMAC a few months ago in need of warm clothing on a bitter cold day, and Teresa has been helping him ever since. The Community Closet has provided Fernando with socks, shoes, clothing, coats, hygiene products and other essentials over the last few months — items that have helped him stay comfortable during this difficult time in his life. Teresa has also given him an open invitation to come back whenever he is in need. He’ll pop in every now and then, sometimes for help, sometimes just to say hello.
“When I come here, I’m happy” Fernando says. “Teresa, she’s a good woman and has a big heart. She always helps me out.”
Fernando then went on to tell me about some of the other ways Teresa has been there for him, like when he recently lost his ID and didn’t know where to go. Teresa was around to guide him — she told him exactly where to go and he was able to get an ID right away. “It was a lifesaver” he tells me with a smile. It’s small moments like this that make the Community Closet such a special place. The stories, the care, the greetings, the smiles, the hugs, the conversations, the warmth – these are the things that help change lives every day.
For Teresa, there’s no greater feeling than lifting up someone in need. When someone walks into the thrift shop she welcomes them with open arms and they’re treated like part of the CUMAC family. I think that’s why they’re often so happy to see her. Despite all the challenges that Fernando is facing, he’s always at peace when he comes to the thrift shop and that gives us all a reason to smile.
CUMAC's programs are made possible through the generosity of our donors. For ways you can support CUMAC's Community Closet, visit our donation page.