Today was a very busy day and I spent part of it at the Statewide Homeless Summit being held here.
One of the things I really did not want to miss today was the lunch speakers. They were from Heifer, International, and were fabulous.
If you're not familiar with this program, it's exceptional. I've been a fan of it for years, but put my money where my mouth is by buying some honey bees today.
They provide animals to people in developing countries, with the understanding that they will pass on the offspring to other families. It's an incredibly successful idea and they do amazing work.
One of their centers is in Arkansas. When I'm able to visit the Clinton library, I think I'll try to make time to go visit there too. I spoke with Mr. Nelson for quite a while after the speech. He used to be a peace corp volunteer and we had an interesting conversation about various topics.
I cannot urge you strongly enough - if you are looking for a great gift for someone, please consider this. They raise about 80-90% of their money during the holiday season with their gift program. You can purchase honey bees for $30, or a pig for $120 or shares in various animals. You can - truly - change lives by writing a check. It can't be much tidier. www.heifer.org for more information, or click on their logo above.
Their mission is to end hunger and care for the earth. It's hard to argue with such a mission. $13 billion dollars a year would provide basic health and nutrition for the poorest people on the planet. For comparison's sake, we just approved another $50 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, pushing the total over $350 billion.
Homelessness is often related to Mental Health issues. What people don't understand is that taking care of basic needs - like housing - is far cheaper than dealing with the issues that result from those things not being taken care of. When housing is taken care of, people are less likely to be a drain on social services of various types, to be imprisoned, or going the ER or a variety of other things. It seems, at some point, that we'd catch on, but we seem unwilling to accept the facts.