I am thankful for Marlene Kunz from Civic Concern. Her selfless dedication continues to help those in need on a daily basis. We have been fortunate that our children have attended Northville Schools for twelve years and have had the opportunity to work with Civic Concern on many community projects from collections to stocking the shelves to adopting families for the Holidays.
Until recently, I didn’t really understand the impact and how Marlene helps people. I thought it was merely a food pantry, until I became one of those in need!
Do you know that Civic Concern provides food and help for over 170 Northville Families? Yes, Northville! But there is more to it. Marlene personally helps make connections for abused women and people in tough spots for shelter, transportation, education, utility bills, legal aid and counseling. It has made me realize that there is so much we can do to help and not just during the holidays.
Marlene also organizes the Kiwanis bowling for the handicapped every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month at Novi Bowl. Evan and I signed up to help last Saturday and I have to tell you what a wonderful experience! We will be regulars. Everyone that is involved from the special bowlers to their parents, family members, guardians, caregivers and volunteers are there because of the joy that they receive in helping and watching them have fun! It is truly heartwarming. It was a very special way for me to bond with my son since we don’t spend much time together anymore. I encourage you to volunteer!
During my few visits with Marlene at her humble yet very busy center I have had the pleasure of meeting people who have shared their very personal stories. Some come to make a donation. One very friendly gentleman comes in once a month to deliver cereal. He waits until there is a sale and buys a grocery cart full and then delivers it himself. Another beautiful couple in their late sixties come once a month to make a monetary donation. Marlene thought that I should meet them. They have been married for 16 years and are quite wealthy. But her life before that had been no bed of roses for the lady. You see, when her three children were all under 10 years old her husband abused her mentally, verbally and physically. It was not until the night he hit her face so hard that it split open that she got the courage to take her three children and leave with nothing. For the record, her son is a doctor and her daughter is in Washington working for the government!
As she shared her story with me she took both of my hands in hers, looked me in the eyes and said “You will get through this”.
Then there are the ladies who have been helped by Marlene when they were in need from various degrees of distress. Abused, Dependent on drugs and alcohol, laid off, homeless and other terrible situations many of them received her help at one time or another. They are so grateful for the help that they are there weekly volunteering to put things away, do pick-ups at collection spots or anything else that they can do to give back. It is very humbling as well as enlightening to hear these women tell their stories. It is amazing that when they asked me to share my story I never felt judged or ashamed. I went to visit Marlene for some advise but received so much more.
How serendipitous it is that I would learn the true meaning of giving during the time that my need is greatest.
Although I have not taken any grocery bags of food home from the pantry, Marlene is always giving me her food. When I leave from my visits with her not only is my stomach full but so is my heart!
Marlene you are angel from heaven.
Tracey Fors Wormsbacher