By: Ernest Hooper
Published: October 6, 2016
Michele Pruitt is smart, confident, successful, beautiful and professional.
Pruitt, the mother of an 11-year-old daughter who celebrated her birthday Wednesday, suddenly landed in the role of single parent in 2015. She made too much to qualify for assistance, but not enough to make ends meet.
At the Emergency Care Help Organization Empower Breakfast on Wednesday, Pruitt courageously told the audience at the fundraiser how she used the last of her food to make her daughter’s lunch for school.
“I was out of gas, out of money and out of hope,” Pruitt said, “And it was only Monday.”
A friend told her to call ECHO. Now.
She reached Sharmaine Burr, director of social services, and Burr told her to drive over. She cried all along the way, afraid she might run out of gas, but reached the center on Parsons Avenue in Brandon. Once she arrived, the program gave her some needed groceries — and something even more important.
“Sharmaine gave me some awesome counsel and encouragement,” Pruitt shared.
Burr also gave her instructions to drive to the gas station next door, where she filled up her tank while staring at the pump through tears.
Pruitt returned the favor, using her marketing background to help Burr successfully coordinate ECHO’s first job fair. ECHO invested in her, and she invested in ECHO. At the fair, she interviewed for a job on the spot and earned a role as the marketing coordinator with Braille Works in Seffner.
Pruitt illustrated in her poignant presentation that charities like ECHO help not only the homeless, but so many people in our community who stand one lost job, one crippling medical diagnosis or one unexpected twist or turn from needing help.
There are a lot of us — and I mean us — who persevere in the face of that reality.
I love her courage and her willingness to inspire others to give. She stood proudly on that stage and proclaimed, “I am the return on your investment.”
Imagine how many more gains we might realize on our investment, if we just gave a little more — not just money, but of our time and talent. Find out more at echofl.org.
What you give will come back to you, maybe when you need it most.
That’s all I’m saying.
Original article found Here