Meet Beth Carroll Hunley
I was standing outside one afternoon at Camp Rockmount in Black Mountain, North Carolina, where I was attending a conference, when I thought I heard music—the faint sounds of a flute--coming from the woods. Soon I began to hear violin music from another direction. Several figures shortly emerged from distant various parts of the forest, each with an instrument: a homemade wind instrument, a guitar, a banjo, a drum, and more, ending with a woman singing. All the musicians were heading for the nearby lake, and as one musician drew near to another, he or she adjusted to harmonize with the next. By the time they arrived
at the lake, they were all playing and singing in sync.
The scene reminded me of how we try to live out our vision at FISH Hospitality Pantries. Each participant brings a different perspective on his or her life experience. As we draw near to one another we come to understand the underpinning values of all our cultures and the goodness of each of us. We weave a diverse fabric that makes our pantries unique.
Each of us is born into the world with needs we all share (for food, shelter, education, health care, belonging); and each of us develops qualities from our experience of life, family, and culture, bringing significant, special gifts that when shared draw us out and bring out the best in each of us: to help us to become more truly human, and to be aware of our common humanity.
One volunteer, a science teacher, told us that if we were lost at sea, our chances for survival would be greater the more diverse our backgrounds and life experiences were. Our ability to navigate our way
to safety would depend on our shared ability to understand the situation and to cooperate.
All of our programs reflect that interdependence and are designed to bring out the best in each of us.
Years ago, we learned that you cannot just throw people into a room together and expect them to relate
and always interact in a positive way. There is work involved in bringing people together with different perspectives, cultures, and languages. Sometimes, there is stereotypical thinking going on; sometimes, suspicion or fear—so we create programs to address those needs to build and develop relationships
that draw forth the gifts and abilities from each of us, and we blossom together.
Beth Carroll Hunley
Director of Community Programs and Development