Janice O’Brien: Shelter in the storm | TheUnion.com

Janice O’Brien: Shelter in the storm


Sierra Roots, a community of people from all levels of prosperity here in Nevada County, stands as a beacon of light in this dark time.

We look for the beauty of nature, the comfort of the seasons, the touch of human kindness and attention. Beyond the numbers and tallies necessary to track social services, we know and appreciate each person by their name, by their story, by their tiny successes and their daily challenges of survival.

We are all alike in our struggles and our daily happy surprises. Life is hard, and life is good. We accept and enjoy it all.

Sierra Roots and the chronically homeless of our community are also so thankful and appreciative of the community of those sheltered and protected from the bare elements who are conscious of the plight of others, and respond with generosity. They reach out to these unsheltered folks who live among us and provide food, clothing and companionship every day and sometimes late into the evening. Thank you, thank you.

You really don’t know how much a smile (even smiling eyes above a mask ) or recognizing someone by name, or taking the time to sit down and listen can enhance someone’s day.

Here’s a shout out to all dedicated and regular Sierra Roots volunteers and advocates: Thank you. You are the heart and soul of our work every day.

And to those citizens of this community who reach out to help in their own way, whether through helping serve a meal or bringing warm jackets, scarves or gloves to our people — we acknowledge you with gratitude.

This pandemic is devastating to families, to our community, to our friends. Add to this the fires that ravaged our communities this year, taking homes, pets, family members, and friends away from us. We feel everything is changing, and we are unsure of what the future really holds. There is anxiety, fear. anger, hurt, sorrow, loss.

To live with the pain while looking toward the goodness — the goodness living in each of our hearts — is the challenge of these times.

This community, the county and city leaders, the people who live and work here, the nurses, doctors, first responders, firefighters, police, teachers, parents, children, teenagers, young adults, newborns — all are our neighbors in this good community, this very good community. We are blessed even as we suffer the hardships of this time.

May the peace of that realization be ours as we move into the future together. Thank you all for everything. If you would like to help Sierra Roots in its service to the homeless of our community, call us at 530-751-3263.

Janice O’Brien is the founder of Sierra Roots. She lives in Nevada City.

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