Alliance Day #1: Aftermath

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To be clear, these blogs are not press releases or news flyers. They’re a window into my personal experience trying to create something good in the world, a record of this journey, a glimpse behind the scenes. In truth, they’re probably of no interest to anyone but me, as I look back five years from now and try to remember how it all happened. So to future me: hey there, what’s up, you look awfully handsome today. And if you’re somebody else, you’re welcome to peruse.

Agency Alliance Day #1 occurred as planned on May 14th from 1pm – 4pm, at Smoot Library in King George, VA. Weather was rainy, with patches of clear sky.

On May 15th I left for a week-long vacation. I needed it. Prepping for Alliance Day, along with my regular full-time job, and still working part-time at Love Thy Neighbor … that left me pretty exhausted. Self-care is important, and my tank was on empty.

On May 22nd I got home from vacation and immediately tested positive for COVID-19. Today is May 28th and I feel like I’m mostly okay, just a cough and some fatigue remaining.

But on with the real story. Alliance Day was initially a little bit of a downer. We didn’t get a big public turnout, and that was not really a surprise, but it was a little disappointing. What really hurt though, was that a bunch of the agencies in attendance packed up and left by 3 o’clock. I walked down to get a hot dog and look at the Gig & Hops RV, and when I got back, the place was like a ghost town. I felt abandoned. People hadn’t even said goodbye or told us they were bailing out early.

You have to understand, I had been hoping that one or two agencies would step forward at this event, really throw themselves into the cause, start talking about more ways they could help… and this felt like the opposite had happened. Agencies had stepped back, vanished without a word.

Hence, downer. I resolved not to think about it for a few days.

And then I thought about it, and started listing the positives. We did have nearly 20 organizations show up, we got started on time, we served 100 hamburgers plus a bunch of hot dogs and drinks (and some lovely honeydew melons), we had about 10 people come in to learn about available services, and the service organizations themselves got to network and learn about each other. Logistically, everything worked pretty well – no major issues.

For a first experiment, that’s not bad. One data point does not make a trend, either good or bad, so I think it makes sense to carry on with our plan and have another Alliance Day next month.

It’s always hard to get the word out in King George – I still have people show up at Love Thy Neighbor who had no clue there was a food pantry in town. For the next one we’ll do more flyers, some door hangers, get onto social media in a more heavyweight way.

Tameeka told me today that one person called one of our agencies after the event… at Alliance Day this person learned about a new service that’s going to be really helpful to her and her family.

And that’s all that really matters.

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