Coming Together to Help the Pasadena Community
When the pandemic hit, Attack Poverty saw a quick growth in related needs and quickly pivoted to address them with the help of people like CES Pasadena Operations Manager Robert Stevens and Brotherhood member Pernell Hill. Within a mere two weeks of COVID hitting Houston, Attack Poverty turned their centers into food distribution sites, and within weeks, they served 115,000 people.
“When Harvey happened, we went to people’s doors and started helping,” said Ashley Cadis, Director of Development at Attack Poverty. “It’s been the same thing with COVID. In the last 20 weeks, we’ve served more people than in the past nine years combined.”
For Attack Poverty, it all started with a simple car ride nine years ago.
“Our founder took a drive across Richmond and saw a community in need,” Cadis said, “so he started Attack Poverty, which is dedicated to serving communities through asset-based community development.”
A natural response to that might be: what is asset-based community development? Cadis is one step ahead of you.
“Asset-based community development is driving through a community and looking at what they already have,” explained Cadis. “We see what their strengths are and who we can partner with to awaken the potential that we believe is already there.”
“We walk alongside communities, partnering with businesses, schools, and organizations, to empower them,” added Jason Hall, Director of Church Mobilization at Attack Poverty. “We do community listenings to assess both the needs and the assets of an area, but we don’t see it as ‘How can we help?’ as much as ‘How can we empower people to embrace their own communities?’”
Because each community provides its own unique strengths, the work Attack Poverty does can manifest itself in different ways.
“Right now, we’re doing food drives,” said Hall, “but we also help with other things depending on the situation. Sometimes financially, with rent. We’ve been able to help people get their water and lights turned back on.”
For another organization in the area, Brotherhood, it started with a desire to help nonprofits in the area.
“Brotherhood is an organization for men from all walks of life who have a passion for impacting their communities,” said Pernell Hill with Brotherhood, “and we are fortunate to live in a city with a number of different organizations that address the needs in our community — Attack Poverty being one of them.”
For City Electric Supply Pasadena Operations Manager Robert Stevens, it started with a simple social media post.
“I learned about Brotherhood from an ad Pernell Hill put on LinkedIn,” explained Stevens, who has harbored a passion for community outreach since he was a teen giving shoes and food to those in need. “And it was from Brotherhood that I heard about Attack Poverty.”
And that’s the story of how CES found Brotherhood and Brotherhood found Attack Poverty, and they all came together to serve the same community. While the three partners make a strong team, they are not alone.
“We partner with Feed the Hunger and Houston Food Bank, the largest food bank in the country,” said Hall. “We couldn’t do it without our many partners. It’s really not just us.”
Organizations like Attack Poverty rely on people like CES Pasadena Operations Manager Robert Stevens and organizations like Brotherhood to help them in their mission to serve communities, and City Electric Supply couldn’t be happier to be a part of it.
“Companies like City Electric Supply help when we need collaborative efforts to help a community,” said Cadis. “It’s neat to know one of your employees volunteers.”
As an active volunteer, Stevens looks forward to taking advantage of the CES Cares programs that encourage employees to give back to their communities.
“I just recently learned about CES Cares,” said Stevens. “I didn’t know that you could keep track of the hours you spend in your community and earn donations from it. I think that’s great, and I definitely want to start using my time with Attack Poverty for that. It feels good knowing that even in the time you spend volunteering, your company will back you up. You might not be able to donate your own money, but CES can help, and that’s a significant benefit.”
“CES Cares is so proud of what Robert’s doing to help his community,” commented CES Cares Social Impact Manager Karen Gray. “We like to show support with our Dollars for Doers program by rewarding volunteers for their time. You just have to log a minimum of 10 hours on the CES Cares website, and CES will award you $100 to donate to the charity of your choice.”
And Stevens has recently done something that could help him log those next 10 hours, the reason he, Brotherhood, and Attack Poverty had August 22 circled on their calendars.
On August 22, from 10:00 a.m. to noon, they all gathered at Katy Taylor High School to give out food to more than 500 families — approximately 1,500 people — and they made sure it was as safe as possible for everyone involved.
“Masks, gloves, social distancing,” were Hall’s own words.
People pulled up to tents and received two weeks’ worth of groceries for free, and it’s something Attack Poverty wants to keep going.
“It will become a monthly, maybe bi-monthly, thing for us,” said Hall.
They’re all looking forward to the events to follow, and when asked if he had any advice for people interested in helping in their own communities, Stevens had some inspiring advice.
“Be brave, speak up. Look for opportunities to help even if you don’t think you have the skills,” said Stevens. “I’ve been able to help in the multimedia department at my church, for example, and I am by no means an expert. There’s always something you can do.”
If you’re an employee interested in giving back to your community, please visit CESCares.Benevity.org, and if you are interested in helping or learning more about Attack Poverty, please visit AttackPoverty.org.