Fall is in the air. I can smell it. The crisp cool breezes that whisper in my ears as they race past my shoulders. Long summer days, winding down and making way for afternoon walks that are actually enjoyable. And moments with friends and family as we look forward to the months ahead.

It is with the happy thoughts of pumpkins, spices, and sweaters that I think about sustainability. As buzz words go, the word, ‘sustainability’ seems to be attached to the backs of swarms of bees. It gets our attention and perhaps makes us feel like we are in some way helping our planet. Just thinking about sustainability makes me feel good.

But what does it mean? How does living a sustainable life translate outside of taking reusable bags to the market, or putting our plastic in the recycle bin?

One of the goals here at The Franciscan Center is to help our clients grow in dignity and build a life that is sustainable. We want to address the needs of the whole person. It starts, as with so many of the people who come here for help, with a meal in our dining room.

Through partnerships with our community we have been blessed to be able to serve locally grown, organic fruits and vegetable to our clients, helping them get the right kinds of calories and nutrients they need to stay healthy. That promotes sustainable personal health.

From there you can go to our clothing counter and get a warm jacket for the coming cool nights. Improving your comfort and health. But it goes deeper than that. The jackets, pants, shirts, new undergarments, and business attire have all been donated. Most lightly worn and now recycled.

Turning from the clothing counter you can then walk to our Technical Resource Center (TRC). Where you are welcomed, and given a computer to use, an email address, and taught the skills that will help you mine for jobs, create resumes, and how to improve your interview process. Helping you grow your independence and security. Promoting sustainability within your financial life.

As you leave the TRC you go upstairs to the second floor where you can get your mail, a bus token to make it across town to a doctors appointment, or see one of our social workers about housing assistance and to learn about other programs offered in our community.  You can also sign up for an art class headed up by MICA student volunteers.

Leaving the center, wrapped in warmth, you realize that you have just had your body, mind and soul fed. And perhaps learned that sustainability comes in many many different forms. One of which we often times forget is simply to be kind to those around you.