By Liz Branch
For the last 10 years, this church has housed a wonderful community outreach event called the Women’s Resource Fair. It provides vital services to some of Austin’s most needy—women and children who suffer from homelessness and survivors of domestic violence. Over the past 10 years, close to 5,000 women and children have come to the Family Life Center seeking medical care, legal services, mental health and spiritual counseling, social services referrals, haircuts, a clothing closet, gift bags, breakfast, lunch and childcare. It is a day when the Austin community—including hundreds of volunteers, medical and legal professionals, businesses, non-profits, all come together under one roof, for one purpose—to serve and value others. This is what I like most about the Fair.
I have helped coordinate the event since it began, which I have to admit is at times exhausting and exasperating. But above all, it has been rewarding and uplifting. On each Springtime Saturday (where in all 10 years we have not had rain-thanks be to God!), I have taken a deep breath, never knowing what’s in store but the same time knowing what it holds. It holds comfort, smiles, connections, and valuing people simply for who they are—all children of God. While I fret over logistical things —such as will parking go ok?, how was our outreach?, will our morning set-up volunteers show?—each year, I bring my mind back to the sensible and comforting words of my husband, “if you’ve helped one person have a better day, then you did your job.” I am always reminded that we have.