Every fall I look for the “STEAC tree” outside the Davis Food Co-op. It’s a Christmas tree ornamented with slips of paper that say things like, “one can of tuna,” or “boots for 4 year old girl.”
STEAC (Short Term Emergency Aid Committee) is a local organization I know through my work at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis. When someone calls seeking food, housing, clothing, help with bills, I sometimes point them to STEAC. STEAC asks businesses, organizations, families, and individuals to “adopt” a financially strapped family by purchasing a wish list of foods and small gifts that will allow them to have a joyful holiday.
The Co-op “adopted” five families for the 2012 tree. When my family shops we gather a few of these slips and — in addition to our groceries — purchase items for an “adopted” family. It’s an easy way for us to give as part of our Co-op community. Participation makes me glad to be a Co-op Member-Owner and proud of the Co-op staff and volunteers (including friends and a family member). It also reminds me of how much good stuff is happening in Davis.
About a month ago I was sharing this thought with a UUCD volunteer (who also volunteers for STEAC) and she told me that — due to a technicality — Whole Foods was unable to cover the 25 individuals they’d agreed to “adopt.” I contacted the Co-op. Lis Harvey, Co-op Communications Coordinator, contacted STEAC’s Executive Director, Susan Simon to say that the Co-op would cover all 25 individuals.
This is where the story gets good.
Susan told Lis that STEAC volunteers — who give their time year-round, who had already adopted families, whose pocketbooks are as stretched as the next person’s — had stepped-up and adopted all but one individual: whom the Co-op adopted. In Lis’ words, “The Co-op added one man’s wishes to our STEAC tree, but we were also able to bear humble witness to incredible, open-hearted generosity from volunteers who already give so much. These are the stories of Davis that really matter.”
Mandy Dawn Kuntz