Nancy Carlisle and Linda Hernandez-Munguia took a seat at our table and shared their story. Their soul-deep commitment to invest in the lives of others as others have invested in them is a key piece to stepping up and making a difference.
Once again, it's clear that individuals who inspire us to rise above the circumstances change the trajectory of our story, making us want to be and do our best.
While their lives would not intersect until years later, both Nancy and Linda faced challenges of adversity at a young age.
Of course, rising above the hard of life requires grit and determination, a valuable asset to living our best.
The thing is . . . along the way . . . Nancy and Linda each formed the belief that no one needs to manage adversity alone. This belief led them to a career path in the public school system. Nancy is a registered nurse serving the North Clackamas School District and Linda serves as the Community Resource Specialist at Hoover Elementary School in the Salem-Keizer School District. They finally met when Nancy set out to bring Backpack Buddies to Salem through her church, St. Mark Lutheran Church to impact children struggling with food insecurity.
Backpack Buddies helps meet the needs of hungry children when other resources are unavailable.
They emphasized their goal is to give dignity to kids and their families through quietly putting bags filled with food in their backpacks. The bags, referred to as bags of hope, are filled by a volunteer team and transported to the school. We sat at the table in awe of how this relative simple service goes beyond giving food.
Essentially, each bag of hope gives the powerful message, "You are not alone."
Nancy and Linda have inspired us by their story and service. There's no doubt that there will be kids and families who rise from adversity and set out to serve because of these two courageous women who choose to make a difference.
If you would like to serve, donate, or find out how to start BackPack Buddies for your community go to Saint Mark Lutheran's website @http://stmarksalem.org/ministries/backpack-buddies/.