We kicked off 2020 with the faith that it would be a year of transformation. The pandemic, social unrest, and increased threats to the health and well-being of all humanity required us to approach work in the Nicholtown community much differently.
Beginning in March 2020, we welcomed our first full-time Program Director, Alecia Brewster, and now have expanded to four onsite community coordinators, Michelle Desmarais, Oscar Bennett, Danielle Parks and Suzanna Ellison. In collaboration with FBG and other partners, we committed to providing for immediate needs including PPE, healthy food, critical home repairs and housing security resources. Overall, SW provided face masks and food to 200 residents each week, restored hope to a resident in desperate need of home repairs, facilitated a Steward Youth Fellows cohort and hosted critical virtual education events each month.
In 2021 Sustaining Way continues down the path of transformation with a new strategic plan and vision and a newly named Executive Director, Michael Brown. At Annie’s House, we are completing construction of an outdoor education center and a cool room for storing fresh produce, and we will continue offering virtual education in an effort to increase access to our programs and to healthy food. Also, our backyard garden pilot program launched with eight families, and we are strengthening community relationships to expand gardening throughout the community.
Reflecting on this journey, January 2021 marked exactly ten years since God gave me the vision that began this journey. Without FBG and a village of other supporters, none of this work would have been possible. Sustaining Way is committed to education, collaboration, and advocacy to create sustainable, caring and equitable communities for current and future generations. In unity through faith, we believe that these things and more will come to fruition.
—Rick Joye, Co-Chair SAVER Committee; Founder and Sustaining Way Board Chair