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Pursuing My Passion

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Barbara Adler, a tax manager out of our Dallas, Texas office, is one of RSM’s 2019 Pursue Your Passion winners. Through the program, nine RSM employees are selected each year to pursue one of their personal passions, and each winner receives $10,000 and nine paid days off to make their dream come true. You can read Barbara’s winning submission here, and her update story below.

By Barbara Adler

Manna From Above Community Food Pantry has been active for about two years, and was temporarily housed in the Commissioners’ Board Room of the Dawson Housing Authority offices where my sister is the executive director.

About a year ago, my sister and I decided to “pursue our passion” by applying for RSM’s Pursue Your Passion program. We wrote an essay requesting a grant to help continue our dream of creating a permanent community food pantry and farmer’s market. While we were waiting to find out if we would be selected as a winner, we applied for and were granted nonprofit status as a State of Texas and IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit charity.  

Our original request was to help us improve a building donated for Manna’s permanent home and farmer’s market area. Unfortunately, the building became unavailable to us about the time we received the funds. We searched for another location, but this was a futile effort. We were very concerned our dream would be lost. To get food from the North Texas Food Bank, at pennies on the dollar, we had to have a permanent location for Manna. Each month we were shopping at Walmart to buy food as cheaply as possible, but the cost was prohibitive and limited the amount of food we could provide. Our financial need was immediate, and miraculously, a piece of land located in historic downtown Dawson, became available at no cost to Manna.

We constructed a 16’ X 20’ building adjacent to a grassy area to accommodate our farmer’s market named “Locally Grown.” If we require more room for “Locally Grown,” farmers can set up across the street in the city park.

Using the RSM Foundation grant, the Manna building was finished inside with electricity, insulation, paneling, acoustical ceiling tile and trim. Volunteers provided the labor; the RSM Foundation grant paid for the building and finishing materials. With the construction of the building, Manna became eligible to receive food from the North Texas Food Bank.

Being selected as an RSM Pursue Your Passion winner has been a blessing beyond anything we could have imagined. We will be able to have pantry days multiple times during the month due to the reduced price of food, which will help provide nutritious food for many elderly people and children on a more frequent basis than we could otherwise provide.

My sister and I ended our original essay with a quote from the John Mellencamp song, “Small Town,” and we would like to end this essay the same way, as it seems to tie our conclusion up nicely. “No, I cannot forget where it is that I come from; I cannot forget the people who love me; Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town; and people let me be just what I want to be.”

I’m passionate about helping my community realize its potential as a great, loving, caring and wonderful place to live.

Thank you, RSM Foundation, for allowing us to “pursue our passion!”