Submitted by Ginni Spencer
Reading about the recently arrived Haitian refugees to the Bedford Plaza reminded me of a similar situation our community dealt with about nine years ago when a number of Massachusetts residents who were homeless lived there temporarily. I was one of many local volunteers who worked with and supported families who at that time were struggling with traumatic situations that had left them homeless.
I remain in contact with one family I met there during that period. I recall now their vivid description of arriving at the Plaza for the first time: displaced, frightened, uncertain if they could meet even the simplest needs of their families going forward. When the future feels dark and complicated – perhaps hopeless – the support and encouragement of others are maybe the only things that keep you going. The family I know was able to keep going and today they are independent and better able to plan for the future: decent housing, a son who finished college and earned a master’s degree, a granddaughter who enjoys school and plays basketball with new friends. State programs have been hugely beneficial in their lives, but when they needed it the most, it was compassionate outreach from many local people and organizations that lifted them up and carried them through the hard times of the day-to-day.
I am so proud to be part of a community which steps up generously when needs arise, and I can see that this is happening again now. I urge our town government to complement this commitment with pro-active organizational leadership and a welcoming embrace.
(Editor’s note: Ginni Spencer is on the Board of Directors of The Bedford Citizen. The views expressed are her own and not those of the Citizen.)