Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.- attributed to John Wesley
The difference between most people and world changers is action.
Unless you believe the world is perfect as it is, that people everywhere have a reasonable chance to have what they need, justice prevails every time, children are well cared for, humans respect each other and everything over which they have dominion and life is sacrosanct globally, you have a mission.
Are you hoping and waiting for someone else to reach into your community and make a difference?
Don’t underestimate what you can do. Regular people do things every day, in every place, that change the world for someone.
While wandering a deserted beach at dawn, stagnant in my work, I saw a man in the distance bending and throwing as he walked the endless stretch toward me. As he came near, I could see that he was throwing starfish, abandoned on the sand by the tide, back into the sea. When he was close enough I asked him why he was working so hard at this strange task. He said that the sun would dry the starfish and they would die. I said to him that I thought he was foolish. There were thousands of starfish on miles and miles of beach. One man alone could never make a difference. He smiled as he picked up the next starfish. Hurling it far into the sea he said, “It makes a difference for this one.”-Loren Eiseley
My small town and it’s heros: this is what it looks like to make a difference.
Educators in our community went to their small church to start a program to send food home from school with food insecure children. These programs, known as backpack programs, are being started all over the country. Because they responded to what breaks their hearts, more than 200 children in our small community go home with a bag of groceries and have a much better chance of eating on weekends. All because people decided to do something. The ministry is run by two wonderful women. Along with 35 volunteers, they take donations of food and funds and have been making a positive difference for over 4 years.
Proving age is no excuse, we have two sisters who have been working for years already to help the sea turtle center and clean up trash from our roadways. They are ever proactive and passionate. You can learn about their mission on their blog: Earth Inspired Kids.
People here take care of the hospice community with donated food, supplies and cards. They make hats and blankets for the babies in the hospital and the infirmed.
I just sat in a meeting with volunteers and staffers from all over the area who get together to coordinate the services that help children and families. They make a huge difference in our community but, most importantly, they do immeasurable good in the individual lives they touch.
A church here cleans up blighted areas. I’ve seen these people give up days, put on gloves, work like Trojans and clean up filthy areas most people would not enter.
Then there is Kathy, who sits in the surgery lobby at the hospital and plays the piano.
One local group is turning a community park into a place children can learn to garden.
With the help of a Veteran couple and other gardeners, a local teacher has had gardens put in at her school.
Our homesteading guild located and cultivated demand for local food and goods and now they are embarking on the second year of hosting a vibrant local fare market that attracts large crowds and helps support local growers and business people.
Have you ever heard of a Mom’s Morning/Day Out program? That is where a group, usually religious in orientation, watches children for a few hours a week so at home parents can have a few minutes to do things like go to the doctor alone or breathe (maybe have a hot cup of coffee!) If you have ever moved to the new place with small children and been alone, this group of people, with their background checks and safe environment, are an incredible blessing.
Vince Zangaro’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimers over ten years ago. Since that time, Vince has become a transparent, resourceful advocate for Alzheimer’s families. He writes honestly about his journey as caretaker and has turned his music career into a voice for the cause. You can learn more about Vince and about the upcoming 4th annual Alzheimer’s Music Festival here.
I know of several retired friends who read to children at the library and at preschools. It may not sound like much but the simple gift of vocal inflection can bring books alive to children and sow the seed of love for reading.
There comes a time to step up.-Beth Moore
Don’t get hung up on scale.
Do you want to see a food system that will feed people and use real food to do it? Start reading labels and shopping for it. The next step, if there is one for you, will come.
Broken hearted for the children that need families in your community? Not everyone is in a position to foster but have you walked into the office and asked what else you can do?
Do you know a special needs family and wish you could help? Go take them some coffee and ask them to show you how to care for their child for a couple hours so they can take a break.
Are you bothered by the idea of elderly dying lonely? Go talk with someone who is alone. Ask to sit with residents of a nursing home. If you want to bring a smile, take a baby into a retirement home.
Do you want kids to learn about health? Go teach them. You’d be surprised how many groups will host if someone is willing to offer a class.
Don’t think you can start a group like 147 Million Orphans? What about donating or volunteering now and then?
Chances are, you have something to offer right where you are right now.
The only caveat I offer is that you can’t pour from an empty cup so if you are depleted, over-volunteered or just unable to say NO, take a step back. Make sure you are a) focusing on things about which you are passionate and b) you are taking care of yourself. You are not as helpful as you think if you are exhausted and unpleasant.
Be the change you wish to see in the world.-Ghandi
Chew on this
Isn’t it a shame people in blighted urban neighborhoods have a hard time getting real food? Yes. Here is Ron Finley, who really believes it and isn’t putting up with it. (Ron swears in this talk)
Matthew West’s song Do Something is a great reminder and motivator. I’ve clicked on songs on social media exactly twice, ever, and in both instances it was kismet. This is one of them. A song by Vince Zangaro was the other. You can find a sample of Vince’s music here.
Happy eating, Katy