New Hope for Families executive director and 10-year celebration committee member Chris Cockerham.
On Friday evening, the grassy field at 4th and Washington streets in downtown Bloomington played host to a 10-year anniversary celebration.
The non-profit New Hope for Families threw itself and the rest of Bloomington a party—free hamburgers and hotdogs, treats from Chocolate Moose, a car show, tethered hot-air balloon rides from TJV Balloons, and live music.
Wrapping up the evening with a thank-you message was Emily Pike, executive director at New Hope for Families:
Thank you to all of our volunteers who planned the event and help make it happen. Thank you to all the staff. And you know, I said it earlier, but I’ll say it again. Ten years ago, a family who became homeless in this community had nowhere to go. That’s not true any longer. And we don’t ever want it to be true again. We’re so proud to be a part of this community that says no family, no child should ever sleep outside, live in a car or be separated from their loved ones in order to have the things that they need. Thank you for being a part of this community. Thank you for 10 years of New Hope for families. Here’s to the next 10 Here’s to the next 20. Have a great night. Thank you so much.
The press release puts it this way: “The spark has grown into a beacon of hope and hospitality in Bloomington, and so the name ‘Beacon’ was chosen to represent this organization and its many programs.
The press release quotes executive director Gilmore: “Our capacity to care has grown so significantly that we needed a new way to express that.” The press release adds, “All our efforts work together to be the light that guides you home.”
When I moved to Bloomington late last year, I was glad to find the place still had a daily newspaper. Some towns – like Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I made my home for 22 years – haven’t been as lucky.
Granted, I’ve heard that the Bloomington Herald-Times is a shadow of its former self. It has suffered through several rounds of downsizing tied to financial challenges that are ubiquitous in the newspaper industry. And the owners weren’t local, though Schurz Communications at least was headquartered in Indiana, not on the coasts.
Then in January, Schurz announced plans to sell all its newspaper holdings to GateHouse Media, a New York-based conglomerate. More layoffs quickly followed. The H-T lost two people, one of them long-time photographer Jeremy Hogan. This came on top of an earlier round of layoffs last August, which were likely a prelude to the acquisition.
It’s worth looking at the implications of these changes, putting them in a broader context.
Beyond that, we need to do more than just snipe at decisions that people in the news industry make. It’s far more productive to explore what we can do as citizens to take control of our local news coverage, enhancing what’s already here and ensuring its future stability.