(by Ripley, with an assist from Patrick)
We here at the KINship Project asked you, dear Kossacks, what you needed.
And some of you, without knowing we'd asked (we're not the most visible people in Internetia), had already been posting your cries for help.
But a few recent diaries made us realize something:
People sometimes only ask for help once things have gotten that bad. Before they get that bad, they struggle along, looking for work, looking for something to help them sustain their lives.
But they don't always -- often, even -- talk about what they need until it's ... well, too late, maybe. Unfortunately.
That can be the reality. But it doesn't have to be.
If you are forever $100 short of something you really need, we want to hear from you.
If you have marketable skills but don't know where to market them, we want to hear from you.
If you're ... too proud or stubborn or ashamed to ask for help publicly -- don't. Ask privately. Remain anonymous. We're interested only in helping you, not in exposing your story so the world thinks you couldn't go it alone.
We want to know what you need -- and what you have. Because everyone has something.
The unemployed or underemployed carpenter can help someone who needs a ramp up to her house so her aging mother can be wheeled in safely instead of lifted. We can spot you the supplies.
The person recently laid off from a small florist's shop knows something about growing flowers and could probably help a retired couple who just moved to the country and are looking to spruce up a real fixer-upper.
For every grocery bagger whose hours have been cut, there's a food bank that needs help putting together bags of food.
There are needs, and there are people, and even if there won't be money in it, there will be connections and purpose, and maybe something useful otherwise.
So tell us what it'll take to help you get by this time. And tell us what you have to offer those who also are struggling.
And let us hook you up.
Laura, Patrick and I had discussed this challenge a couple months ago: how can we help Kossacks and their families before it's too late? I know I've been there, and some of you probably have been there, as well - facing a financial or family problem, and wishing you'd had a little something extra a few weeks or months earlier. "If only..." is an all too common and all too depressing brain chigger - it keeps you up at night, it casts a shadow on everything you do during the day, it makes you feel.. well, it makes you wish you could go back in time and start all over again.
We want to help you now and avoid "If only..."
If you have a utility bill that's going to cause a loss of service and leave you without power, water or air conditioning for the Summer - please contact us.
If you have a medical bill or an upcoming health care appointment that's going to force you into "bills v. groceries" - please contact us.
If you're facing eviction because of past due rent and you'll have no place to go - please contact us.
If your car is on its last leg and you need some repair work so you can get to your job - please contact us.
We want to help you Now. It's never too late but, more importantly, it's never too early. Please contact us and let us help.
We understand that asking for help is never easy. If you're comfortable discussing your situation in the diary, we're here to help. But you can always contact us via e-mail. We guarantee privacy and confidentiality.
Ripley - scott>kinship-project.org
Laura - kinshipplaning>gmail.com (this is the PayPal address for donations, if you're in a position to offer some assistance)
Patrick - sadpunk>gmail.com
On behalf of Patrick and Laura, I'd like to express our gratitude to those of you who have opened your hearts and helped us help some of our fellow Kossacks. And, more importantly, I'd like to express our gratitude to those of you who have asked for help and given us the opportunity to help you. You've made our lives richer and helped us open our hearts.
Life is too grim with anxious, eating care
To cherish what is best. Our souls are scarred
By daily agonies, and our conscience marred
By petty tyrannies that waste and wear.
Why is this human fate so hard to bear?
Could we but live with hill-lakes silver-starred,
Or where the eternal silence leaneth toward
The awful front of nature, waste and bare:
Then might we, brothers to the lofty thought
And inward self-communion of her dream,
Into that closer kin with love be brought,
Where mighty hills and woods and waters, wan,
Moon-paved at midnight or godlike at dawn,
Hold all earth's aspirations in their gleam.
William Wilfred Campbell
If you're looking for networking and support, please check out the Kossacks Networking site. You'll find plenty of information and caring Kossacks who are ready to help.
Yours in the Happy Madness,