Monday, 22 October 2018

C Columns

The Brighter Side Rachael Ebeltoft: God's agent for good

 

By Ron Kern

In  2014,  my  family,  coupled  with  several  volunteers,  would  meet  in  downtown  Boise  by  the  skate  park  every  month.  We  brought  food,  clothing  and  toiletries  for  the  homeless  population,  which  was  (and  still  is)  growing  in  numbers.  We  were  fortunate  and  blessed  to  do  this  for  eight  months.

One  of  the  volunteers  was  Rachael  Ebeltoft.  I  could  sense  an  obvious  caring  spirit  about  her,  and  it  was  clear  she  was  a  giving  person,  but  to  what  depth  wasn’t  clearly  evident  then.  Now,  however,  the  level  of  her  caring,  compassion,  empathy,  giving  and  non-judgmental  service  to  others  is  blatantly  clear  and  needs  to  be  known,  read  about,  and  supported.

In  2018  Rachael  created  a  non-profit  organization  called  S.E.E.C.,  which  stands  for  Sharing  Empathy  and  Encouragement  in  the  Community.  Her  organization  serves  as  a  liaison  between  people  who  need  help  and  those  who  want  to  give  or  provide  help.

“I  did  a  lot  of  volunteering  and  was  in  contact  with  other  programs  and  organizations  that  provided  help  to  those  that  need  help,”  she  said.  “I  found  that  people  started  realizing this  and  were  contacting  me  asking  where  they  could  donate  food,  items,  or  money.  I  found  out  my  purpose  is  to  be  that  hub  between  those  who  can  help  and  those  who  need  it.  This  is  why  I  started  a  Facebook  page  and,  now,  my  non-profit.”

S.E.E.C.  has  already  made  connections  in  what  could  be  considered  life  or  death  situations.  When  I  interviewed  Rachael  for  my  podcast,  she  had  just  arrived  back  from  delivering  food  to  a  man  who  desperately  needed  it.  Many  of  us  take  food  for  granted,  but she  understands  how  dire  food  insecurity  is  for  many  people.

In  addition  to  her  “...connecting  the  dots  so  that  people  can  serve  and  people  can  get  the  help...,”  it  even  goes  beyond  food,  blankets  and  the  “normal”  items  people  donate.  People  have  reached  out  to  her  offering  specialized  services,  such  as  counseling  and  other licensed-type  skills.

Although  S.E.E.C  is  currently  serving  Boise  and  the  surrounding  counties,  Rachael's  goal  is  to  have  this  in  every  city  where  homelessness  is  present.  Her  true  heart  and  intent  showed  through  when  I  asked  how  she  might  expand  and  organize  satellite  offices  for  her organizations.  She  quickly  answered,  “It  doesn’t  have  to  be  me  or  S.E.E.C.  Anyone  can  copy  what  I’m  doing  and  make  it  their  own;  the  bottom  line  is  connecting  and  helping  people.”

I  was  surprised  a  little  because  having  non-profits  myself,  the  competition  for  donations  oftentimes  gets  in  the  way  of  goals.  Not  for  her.  Rachael,  and  anything  she  is  involved  with,  is  the  real  deal.

When  asked  if  she’s  always  had  this  giving  spirit,  she  said,  “This  is  a  true  passion  that  burns  inside  of  me.  I  think  some  is  nurture  and  some  is  nature.  My  mom  would  help  others,  and  it’s  something  that  I  saw  growing  up.  I  didn’t  even  know  I  was  paying  attention,  but  serving  others  became  part  of  me.”  

She  said  that  God  is  crucial  in  her  personal  walk  and  life,  and  if  you  speak  with  her,  it  will  only  take  a  few  minutes  to  see  Him  shining  through  her.

I  understand  many  of  us  have  full  schedules  and  find  it  difficult  to  do  anything  outside  what  benefits  ourselves  or  our  family.  Many  of  us  will  say,  “I’m  just  way  too  busy”  or  “I  don’t  have  time  to  help  others,”  or  perhaps  we  truly  don’t  want  to  get  involved.  What  she  has  done  and  is  now  doing  formally  with  her  non-profit  is  amazing  enough,  but  now  add  this  to  the  mix:  Rachael  has  a  full-time  job,  is  a  single  mother,  and  also  volunteers  at  the  Boise  Rescue  Mission,  City  Lights,  and  oversees  the  community  giving  program  at  her  place  of  employment.  With  that  said,  do  you  have  time  to  visit  her  Facebook  page  and  get involved  and  share  your  gifts  and  talents?  Do  you  have  food,  blankets,  toiletries  or  items  that  can  help  someone?

But  wait,  there  is  more.  She  is  creating  a  documentary  about  being  homeless  in  Boise.  Rachael,  never  wanting  her  efforts  to  be  contained  in  a  box,  is  doing  something  very  much  outside  of  the  box.  To  find  out  what  being  homeless  is  truly  like,  she  is  doing  just  that,  becoming  homeless.

She  will  spend  a  week  living  on  the  streets,  in  a  tent,  with  no  items  of  value  and  no  food  or  water.  She  will  conduct  interviews  with  others  on  the  street,  gaining  real-life  insights  that  can’t  be  found,  authentically,  in  any  other  way.

“I  believe  God  continues  to  put  the  people  that  are  needed  in  my  path.  I’m  here  to  connect  those  in  need,  and  God  provides  those  connections,”  she  said.

Rachael  is  one  of  the  most  honest,  authentic,  giving,  unselfish,  and  caring  people  I’ve  met,  and  I  consider  it  a  blessing  to  know  her.

You  can  learn  more  about  her  incredible  organization  by  visiting  the  below  links:

S.E.E.C  Facebook:http://bit.do/seecinc

Podcast  with  Rachael:https://youtu.be/LNTNqHPjknU

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