This week on the blog we wanted to highlight one of the agencies we partner with who are doing amazing things in the community. Asheville Poverty Initiative (API) was started about a year ago by Rev. Shannon Spencer, a local pastor who saw a need in the community. We sat down with API’S intern, Lisa Freeman, and she told us what API is all about, what they do on a day-to-day basis, and how she has seen boundaries being broken down through the work they are doing.
Lisa said that the most significant thing she has learned during her time with API is that there is no such thing as “haves” and “have-nots.” “People in poverty have incredible gifts, in the same way that all of us have incredible gifts. We stop seeing each other by what we have and do not have, but more as humans, when we can develop more of a relationship as opposed to just me coming in and serving you. There’s more of a relational piece.” Lisa said that just this past Tuesday while they were out at Pisgah View, she could see residents starting to take ownership in the Cafe. One person, who works at a pizza place, came to lunch and brought with him pizzas for the whole group. Another woman had noticed Shannon’s van was getting ruined from transporting the food, so she brought her plastic wrap to protect the upholstery. “We’re sharing stories together, laughing together, enjoying good weather and good food together. It’s just a really powerful day of the week.”
What is a need that you see in your community? Where are there excess resources to meet that need? If someone in your youth group is doing something to bridge gaps and break boundaries, let YMCo know at firstname.lastname@example.org!