Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I sometimes get questions from people about my religion/spiritual views, and I always just say it's private. It's a leap for me to share this information, but this has become one of my personal spiritual practices.
All major religions share some caveats and one of those is to help the poor. Many people do that through their churches or other methods. I don't attend church, and I view this as one way to support the work of religion without going through the church organization. I like this more direct approach.
I don't think most churches are very effective at this sort of work because they're engaged in other things. That is completely at the discretion of church members, and it's not mine to judge, but I want to direct my resources to the specific work I think we're all charged with - regardless of faith or lack thereof. I think all humans who have "enough" should be sharing. Note I didn't say "plenty," but "enough." I truly believe it's part of being a responsible member of the human race to take care of each other.
I love the idea of directly supporting an individual who is poor only because they have not had the oppportunities others have had.
Kiva.org sends 100% of your donation on. They are supported through donations. You'll have an opportunity to make a gift to them as well, but it's up to you. I always make $25 loans, and the suggested gift to kiva is 2.50 on that. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't.
I hope I don't come off as preachy. I love other things like Habitat for Humanity, too. Maybe because I've travelled a little bit and seen how rich we are in the US compared to much of the world, I feel a need to share. Much of the world lives on less than a dollar a day and it's a meager living. We have no concept of how fortunate we are to be living in our climate controlled homes, driving our cars around and buying all of what we need and most of what we want.
I live a very average life - probably a lower middle class life by some people's standards - and I know I am incredibly blessed. Amazingly blessed. I am so thankful. And being able to loan through kiva.org is yet another thing to be thankful for - that I found it, that it's simple and inexpensive enough to do, that I have an internet connection with which to do it, and the list could go on and on.
And, please don't think I'm sharing so much it hurts. That's not the case. I'm making a loan - not even a donation, but a loan - of $25 every few weeks to another person around the world. It's simple. And when the loan is repaid you'll have the chance to take your cash or reloan it. I love to have the opportunity to reloan - it feels like that money is working harder than it ever could in a money market account.
Well, I've gone on and on and on but take a look at it and maybe it will appeal to you as well. Maybe not, but it's worth a look.
The MHA's potato bar went well this afternoon and evening. Everything in my world - including me - smells like baked potato. Fortunately, I like baked potato, although I didn't feel like eating one by the end of the day.
We even had a potato guy walking around promoting the event.
Many thanks to people for the loan of the costume, and to the students who wore the costume and who walked around with sandwich boards on. I'm so fortunate to have a great board who will jump in and get things done and this is a prime example. Duane knew someone who had the costume, Nancy arranged for students to help us with a variety of things and Gary got students to walk around in the costume and with the boards. That's Gary putting the finishing touches on a sandwich board.
They walked around at the arena today where the NJCAA tournament is being held. The Armory, where we had the event, is across the parking lot so people could easily walk there. The National Guard folks were so helpful yesterday and today.
We served a potato with fixins, dessert and a drink for $5. As always, there are some funny moments during these sorts of things.
I was concerned that the potatoes were not cooking quickly enough today and that we weren't going to have them all done on time. So, at one point Greg brought some to my house to cook, Sheila took some to her house, and Nancy took some to the high school. Fortunately, all went well.
One of the funniest moments of the day was when Greg - who was an amazing trooper all day doing everything from bringing me lunch to picking up antibiotics for to me to baking potatoes - was asking me how he would know if the potatoes were done. I told him about the fork test. This incredible look of recognition came over his face and he said, "Oh! So, that's why they say stick a fork in it... it's done." Little did I know that at practically the same moment, Sheila was having a nearly identical conversation with her husband.
We had some potatoes left, which I took to the soup kitchen, so nothing will go to waste. This is the first time we've done it so it was a learning experience for us, but it went well.
We rely on lots of volunteers for something like this. A huge percentage of my board was there, and we had a lot of people from The Volunteer Center too. One of the people I always request when we're doing anything food related is Kathy.
This woman... oh my gosh... this woman can wash dishes like you can't imagine. She also cleans anything else that doesn't move, and some things that do, which I love. She will grab a hefty trash bag and haul it out to the dumpster before it even occurs to you that it should be done. She is a jewel. We talked about having lunch one day. I hope she calls and emails and we get to do that. She's always fun to be around.
Well, I'm tired... and I have the Food for Thought event in the morning so I should try to get a little bit of sleep. I'm incredibly thankful for my board, the volunteers, Greg (always - he remains the best ex-bf a girl can have!), National Guard folks and everyone who made this possible.
I had intended to take lots more pictures, but I'm so busy during these kind of events that I - literally - don't even have time to say hello to people sometimes, much less have anything resembling a real conversation. It's just always a big rush. Needless to say, getting out the camera and taking pix falls by the wayside.
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