Recently, we were honored to make a new friend at HCC; her name is Noel. Even though we are always excited to welcome a brand-new family into HCC, she was actually mortified. Noel wouldn’t sit fully in her chair at the check-in desk, and she also made no eye contact with our center manager. She refused all encouragement, prayer, and additional referral services and, before the check-in process was finished, she was already walking to the mini-mart to shop. Our center manager noticed Noel’s body language and how uncomfortable she was and got her shopping as fast as she could. Noel knew that we were there for her. We were glad she came in and we were happy to get her home as quickly as possible.
The families we meet at HCC often have to figure out their situation on the fly. That day Noel found herself at a food bank for the very first time in her life. She was scared and nervous and felt shame for having to ask for help. Sometimes new clients come in with a smile and outgoing personality, other times they walk in like Noel. We never want anyone to feel ‘less than’ for having to ask for help. We praise Noel for being brave enough to walk in and share just enough so we could get her the food, hygiene, and clothing items her family needed.
Just as Noel was leaving, our center manager made a point to walk by and say goodbye near our exit. To her surprise, Noel turned around with tears in her eyes and hugged our manager saying, “Thank you for making this really awful situation such a kind experience.”