The Source- Blackwell: New group aims to help citizens however they can

by Charles Gerian

Last week, Stillwater Medical - Blackwell began a winter food and clothing drive to benefit the Blackwell Associated Charities with the help of a fledgling new group called The Source.

This week, the group’s founders Tia Santos and Tiffany Coggins are elaborating on what their group is and how it came to be.

On a cool and cloudy Wednesday afternoon at Santos’ Crowned Hair Salon on south Main, Coggins and Santos laughed like lifelong friends before the interview, which made it all the more surprising that the two had barely known eachother before their group came to be at the end of the summer, bringing the community together with them.

“It all started with a post that I made,” said Coggins, “about the difficulties of being a working mom. I thought it was negative, really, talking about the things that we have to do as a parent and what we have to do for our kids. I had a lady reach out to me and basically say she was glad she wasn’t the only one that felt that way.”

“I asked her if she was able to get school supplies for her girls, and then I got on Facebook and asked for help to get this woman school supplies, to get her daughters help with cheerleading, and I got a lot of money and positive feedback from that…and then it turned into doing the same for other children, that’s when Tia reached out to me.”

Tia reached out to Tiffany, telling her that they had something special.

“She said, basically, that this could be more than just school supplies and helping kids, this could be beneficial to the whole community,” said Coggins, “not just with money but for people to reach out to us for help with just finding resources.”

“People sometimes don’t know how to do something,” Santos elaborated, “I like to think I’m very resourceful. I have a lot of clients here at my salon who need help, say, finding a doctor. I had a lot of time with doctors while helping my father-in-law, and through my network of people I’ve been able to really get a lot of information, so I’ll be like ‘Hey, you need a doctor, or if you need this, I know someone’.”

Santos said she had been thinking of a community-minded group for a while, and Tiffany’s post happened to be the perfect opportunity.

“It’s not about hand-outs,” said Tia, “it’s about getting people help when they really, truly, need it. I want to find the people who don’t ask. The people who are struggling in silence and might be too proud to admit they need help or ask for help.”

“We want to let people know hey, we’re here. We see you.”

“We’re still figuring things out,” said Tiffany, “we’re still very new, but it’s all about helping people.”

Santos elaborated, explaining that she got into contact with Stillwater Medical- Blackwell when the two entities decided to conjoint their respective drives.

“We’ve grown our network and tried to bring all of Blackwell’s groups in together so that if one person is in need, we have all of these organizations at the ready,” said Santos.

Tiffany and Tia stated that they have heart for Blackwell and passion for their community, and that ultimately that is what The Source was born from.

“If we’re all on the same page, it’s the people that benefit,” said Tia.

“We’re both different enough and we’re both similar enough that I think we work really well together, and we bring different perspectives,” Tiffany said.

“We don’t expect those that we help to give anything back to us, that’s not that we’re about,” Tiffany continued, “but we’re very firm believers in paying it forward. So if we help someone and they can’t give anything back to us except their time in helping someone else or checking in on someone else, that’s more thant enough of a repayment.”

The Source Facebook Group currently has over 100 members and anyone can request to join. Those in need can post to the group anonymously or publicly.

Currently the group is seeking donations for their food and clothing drive and is spreading the word on raising funds for the Blackwell High School Life Skills class for help going to the Special Olympics.

Santos’ business, Crowned Hair Salon, is located at 109 south Main Street and is a drop-off location for the winter food and clothing drive.