Gathering Nuts

As I look outside, I see the woods with the trees standing bare. I see the animals moving about in the fallen leaves in the woods behind my home scavenging for food. I had put some nuts on the back deck and watched as a squirrel found them and made short work of them. He was relentless, grabbing one and disappearing in the trees to come back a few minutes later for the next one. I’m sure he thought he had hit paydirt. I had gathered the nuts when visiting my grandfather’s farm – he is always raking up the hickory nuts into a piles around his house so visitors won’t step on them and fall. We don’t have any hickory trees so I thought my squirrels might enjoy some. Apparently, at least one of them will be enjoying them.

This makes me think of the “nuts” I’ve been working hard to gather this year to carry my family and those that I love through. Anyone that knows me knows about my passions. My church or group, North Georgia Solitaries and the newest project of this church, the Pagan Assistance Fund. There have been many people that have put a lot of time and energy into helping to get this started. We’ve held several fundraisers and promoted it to everyone that will listen. I’m sure that my Facebook friends sometimes get tired of my constant posts about what we are doing now to raise money. Unfortunately, we’ve not been able to raise the money we need to open up the original plan for the fund, an emergency fund for families in crisis. We’ve barely raised enough to cover the expenses of getting it started.

However, we’ve made numerous connections with groups we didn’t know and people we didn’t know in our efforts. We put on the Pagan Pathways Festival in an effort to support the PAF. We were overjoyed to see many groups jump on board and assist us in that effort. We had rituals run by two different groups in addition to the full moon ritual that NGS hosted. We sold out of vendor spaces almost immediately. If we do it again in the same place we are going to have to expand out to the parking lot for activities. We had some fantastic entertainment in Todd Bilodeaux and Celia Farran. The food that was provided by a vendor was some of the best festival food I’ve ever had. People showed up in droves to volunteer to help vendors get unloaded and set up, help with the parking lot and anything else we needed that day. I was blown away by the real sense of community we had there.

Since that time, we’ve had several requests for assistance that we didn’t have the funds to meet. So we started a “Hail Out” program. We would make postings about a particular case where money was not necessarily what was needed. In one case, someone needed to find a specialist they could afford to treat an injury. The community jump forth with suggestions for clinics and programs they knew of. We had a case where a family was going to be homeless and needed a roof over their heads. We had almost a dozen offers from staying in a vacant house temporarily to camping in someone’s backyard to camping out in someone’s living room. We watched as a local coven took the family in and gave them a room in an already crowded home and made them a part of their family. We’ve put a call out for someone that needed help getting the only family vehicle fixed so they could continue to go to the doctor, take their children to school and go to work. We had numerous responses to that. We continually help people with a need match up with people that can fill that need. While this isn’t what we had in mind, this is certainly a facet of the PAF that we want to continue. However, it isn’t enough.

One of our members suggested we start a barter blog on our website. We started that this past week. We’ve been in contact with several worthy causes organized by other members of our community that need to get the word out about their causes and gain some support. Watch our website for information on these causes and more and how you can become a part of someone else’s solution. All of this still isn’t enough. We still want to find a way to help feed our families, provide clothing and toys for our children, provide emergency assistance for members of our community that need it.

Check out our website frequently. There will be new ways you can help posted there all the time. Sometimes it isn’t a matter of giving cash. Sometimes it is a matter of making a purchase you were going to make already by clicking through our website first. On this blog and shortly on the Pagan Assistance Fund site will be a link to Amazon. If you are making a purchase on Amazon, I urge you to click through to Amazon from one of these links. That way, a piece of your purchase will go towards supporting the Pagan Assistance Fund. Watch for other affiliate links on my site as well as the Pagan Assistance Fund and North Georgia Solitaries sites. Some of our “Friends” might put these links on their sites as well. Watch for them and support them.

Also, check out the items for sale on the Pagan Assistance Fund website. All proceeds from these sales go straight towards this fund. Shop the stores that are listed on our site with notes about proceeds going to the fund. These are retailers that have pledged a piece of their sales for the Pagan Assistance Fund. These are retailers that have pledged a piece of their sales to go directly back to the community. Your community.

Save tabs from soda cans. Bring them to any place in the community that NGS might be or pass them on to someone you know that will be seeing one of our members. There will be other programs coming up like this one that don’t necessarily mean money out of your pocket. Don’t get me wrong. Money is still good, but even those without much of that can still help. We have one member that checks the garbage at work for soda cans with tabs and pulls them to save and donate.

Watch the website – make suggestions. Pass those postings you see on Facebook about what we are doing or what we are needing along to others. The more people that see it, the more that will help. Suggest our Facebook Page to friends. http://facebook.com/PaganAssistanceFund. Pass the word. If you can’t do anything else, you can lend your voice.

Help us gather nuts for our community.

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