Just ‘Cause (Rhymes with “Peach Fuzz”)
Most days, if you found peach fuzz at the Old East Village Grocer, you’d be in the produce aisle. But for the month of November, you’ll find peach fuzz everywhere. Participating in the popular #Movember campaign as a team, the men of the small, independent grocer are tending their upper lips to raise money and awareness of men’s health issues.
“I’ve done it before but, this year, I knew Movember was the right cause for our team,” says manager of community relations Paul Seale. The store is owned and operated by ATN Access for Persons with Disabilities and serves as a live classroom for individuals facing barriers to meaningful employment. Says Seale, “We work with men and women every day whose options have been narrowed by health issues or by the health issues of men in their lives — our clients, our staff and our customers.”
It’s all too real for Jamie Short. “Like a lot of young men,” he says, “I was totally prepared to believe that people had challenges – that they were real — but I never felt like that had anything to do with me. I was bulletproof.” That changed when Short suffered a workplace injury that left him with tinnitus and kept him out of industrial work. Hired last year as a job coach for the store’s clients, he loves his mentoring role and understands the challenges that people face. Indeed, his understanding keeps growing in unexpected ways. Short was surprised this year to experience mounting anxiety and depression, lingering effects of his old injury. “I was hired to help people, and now I’m turning to ATN and the grocery store for that same kind of help. Right place, right time, though: I couldn’t ask for a more caring environment and a more helpful group of people.”
When asked to shave off his whiskers and start anew for the store’s Movember effort, Short threw in enthusiastically. “It feels a little weird without the beard, but I love our team. This really is the right cause for us.”