Community July 29, 2008

Families Helping Families

Sun Valley Magazine salutes Family Connection Project and its founder Julianne Fischman, who more than two years ago launched the effort to provide living provisions for families in need.

• For turning casual observation “this can’t be right, this is the Wood River Valley, no one should be going without the most basic necessities, no one should be sleeping on the floor,” into action.

• For seeing that the Valley indeed thrives on the dedication of the working class; that many of them are hard-working yet poor families; that food banks are essential and yet other basic needs were still unmet. • For identifying that need, and creating a catalyst for a solution.

• For becoming the only entity in the county regularly providing basic daily necessities such as diapers, toilet paper, laundry detergent, personal hygiene products, school supplies, and other needs that food stamps do not cover.

• For getting 32 people off the floor in its first year simply by asking who lacked a bed.

• For recognizing that not every one who moves here can afford to stay, or, can afford to leave when things don’t work out, a loved one becomes ill, or a divorce occurs.

• For accepting responsibility for our community members seen and unseen and realizing many of us are just one catastrophe from needing an organization like Family Connection Project.

• For capitalizing on the knowledge that what makes the Valley different makes it, “very magical and giving,” and proving that rallying school kids, business owners, families and individuals to sponsor a family by fulfilling a list of needed items and distributing them to more than 60 families per month.

• For requiring those who receive assistance to “pay it forward” and as founder Fischman says, “Just look at the person next to you and ask yourself if there is anything you can do for them. Try to remember that we really are all the same. That we are all human beings just striving to be happy and survive difficult times when they occur. None of us does it alone.”

This article appears in the Winter 2008 Issue of Sun Valley Magazine.