When your community helps you survive

The importance of community helping people survive tough situations has been reiterated in a huge way at my local level this past week. When tragedy strikes, it’s quite powerful seeing people band together - to support each other, to pray together, to cry together, to sit and chat. The importance of the time we have right now becomes so real.

Both short term and long term support is needed when crisis hits. Because crisis doesn’t last forever, but the ramifications and flow on effects often do.

While short term support is happening all around us for others at the moment, we’ve also been touched at a personal level through a long term support example from our local cafe, Stella’s Pantry. Our HeartKid and Stella’s Pantry have worked together to create a fundraiser for our son’s hospital - the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. Ironically, when crisis is happening in our wider community, we’ve experienced a reminder of the long term support that can make a real difference.

Because of their willingness to get behind my son, they have helped him take the stress of his looming surgery, and turn it into a positive for the first time ever. No longer is his heart condition just a negative for him, but it’s become a driver for him to want to help other kids facing the same challenges. As he said,

"I'm nervous about getting my next heart surgery. I want to get money so I can give it to the hospital and to the Koala Ward. Because I'm a HeartKid and I know what it feels like to get a heart surgery. I want to care for the other kids and help them by giving money."

When crisis hits, short term support is vital. The needs are evident. The pain is raw.

But sometimes we forget that long term support is also vital. The pain is not so raw. People get better at coping. The crisis is not so public.

Yet in actual fact, the pain is still there, and there are usually less people aware of the challenges. The day-in, day-out battles can weigh on you heavily.

Stella’s Pantry have come up with a way to help our son 5 years down the track from his crisis hitting, and it’s made a very real difference. I’d edge on saying it’s been transformative for him.

So the challenge is, what will you do to support someone in the long term? What could you do today for someone who faced a crisis years ago, but may still be struggling? How could you use what you’ve got, to pass on one small, unexpected act of kindness?

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