Breanna with her daughter.

This is a story about helping. (It flips the script.)

“It’s easy for those who vacation here to think poverty doesn’t exist—this is Boothbay Harbor!” says Breanna Davis, a young mother and Operations Coordinator at the Boothbay Region Community Resource Center (BRCRC). “There are yachts, and it’s a beautiful place. But hardship does exist, and it’s very frequent.”

Now, more than ever.

Growing up in a small coastal town in Texas, Breanna had her own share of hardship, her family unsure of making rent, paying bills, or affording groceries. “My brother and I were raised by a single mother who was amazing. I admire her in everything she did. I remember watching how hard it was for her to put her pride aside to stand in line for help.”

Breanna is keenly aware of the sorts of circumstances facing those BRCRC serves. “Having lived through it myself, I feel like I have a different view than some people. There are so many curveballs life throws. I have sensitivities to that, and that’s what fuels my fire.”

And a fire Breanna has: a fire to help.

With COVID-19, Breanna and the BRCRC team she works with have had to act nimbly and swiftly, daily teleconferencing with one another to stay on top of it all. “Every day we wake up it seems something has changed. Everything is evolving. The pieces are always moving.”

“It can be challenging,” says Breanna.

She now finds herself heading up a massive volunteer effort. “I have a whole new group of volunteers. To see the abundance of people in the community so willing to help, it shows the true colors of this peninsula.”

(This is a story about helping.)

“I had one of the volunteers who is new go out on a food delivery. She was just so grateful. She said she wishes she could get everybody to do that—she understood there was some poverty in Boothbay, but never had she envisioned what she witnessed. It was very enlightening for her.”

(This is a story about helping, and helping is not one-directional.)

Breanna goes on, sharing her own sense of enrichment from this moment.

“I love that I can be that hope—that source for somebody in need. I never thought as a kid I’d be on the other side of the table, and it feels great. When I lay down my head at night I feel satisfied. It’s fulfilling. Even on the days it feels hard or I just feel so tired, even then the reward of being able to do what I do—I feel very grateful. And that overpowers everything that’s going on.”

This is a story of flipping the script, for as Breanna’s tale reveals, helping others is not the opposite of helping yourself.

It can be its very definition.