Need vs. Want is a hard balancing act, and one that MACC has done for over 47 years, while providing emergency financial and medical assistance to Manchester and Bolton residents. A wonderful mentor once told me that in the helping industry, like all industries, we would err, and when that happens, err on the side of kindness. Those words have guided the way I approach my work at MACC Charities.
MACC is not an entitlement, nor is it meant to be a long-term solution to an immediate or emergency problem. It is MACC’s intent to collaborate with its community to break cycles of poverty. Our services are like a bridge giving people access to reach a destination that is otherwise not accessible. Most times our job is working with individuals and families to coordinate community resources to ease immediate needs by freeing up their personal resources to stay in housing find employment or navigate the health care system.
Kindness wins. Most conversations begin with the MACC staff listening to what people say they need, and it takes several more conversations to separate the actual need from the urgent want. The more people experience kindness in the process, the more willing they are to work with the person extending it.
MACC keeps up on services and programs that help people get back on their feet, and shares that information like a good neighbor would, a simple formula that works. MACC is a local work, and nothing works as well in social services, as knowing local people in a neighbor-like way. Understanding the social, emotional and physical needs of a community is critical as we connect its members to the appropriate resources. It is never MACC’s intent to do the work for a person or a family, but it is our full intent to stand with them to help navigate the systems set in place, or to help research programs and services that are designed to help them.
Kindness is a relational building experience. It is through relationship that people learn to focus on needs first and wants second. Life experienced in kindness becomes more balanced. Acceptance causes fears to fall away. Relationship encourages accountability. The formula works and is witnessed in people giving back to MACC with the familiar sentence “You were there for me when I needed help; and want you here when others need it to.” Kindness is communicable.