I am a blessed woman. Everyday I wake up next to a man who loves me (and is quite the looker, by the way!), head out to a job that fulfills me, and spend time with coworkers that are more like family than their official title of "coworkers". I then get to come home to a house that is warm, eat healthy and delicious food, take a warm shower, sleep in a bed that keeps me cozy. If I feel hungry it is because I was too lazy to get food; if I am cold it is because the heater hasn't kicked in yet; if I am tired it is because I was busy doing other things that sleeping.
I am also blessed with the gift of friends. They come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Definitely they come with different temperaments and interests, hobbies and things that make them tick. But one thing I can say about the friends in my life is this -- my friends are the kind of friends you want. Why? Not because they are oh-so-funny (although some of them are), not because they live in big fancy houses and drive nice little cars (very few of them do), and for sure not because we live in a fantasy world where we are always happy and nothing goes wrong (yeah -- not true for ANYONE). The thing about my friends is this: they care. Pure and simple. Not just about me, not just about the ones they know, but I am blessed to be surrounded by people who genuinely care about the needs of other people. Let me give you an example:
This little poster you see here is the result of friends sitting around a table at a restaurant one night, enjoying our food and conversation. There was laughter here, funny stories there, and then talk of bigger, bolder things.
"Guys," one asked, "have you been hearing about the famine in Somalia?" Heads nodded and conversation started taking place about it. The usual. But this, this is what I love: "What can we do to help?" And so our Night of Simplicity and Gratefulness was born. Two months ago. And it just happened last night. Yes, these things take time. But the time was worth it!
It was an evening of food, music, and visiting with people we knew and people we didn't (yet). Bread was shared while plates beans and rice with cabbage salad was passed out. Simple, so incredibly simple. Each plate -- get this -- cost 50 cents to make. That's it. But you wouldn't be able to tell by the comments that were made. Many asked me for the recipe, young and old were discussing how good it was. And then we shared the news: something so simple to us, so cheap to us, could feed a child in Somalia for two days. TWO DAYS. How? Twenty-five cents a day is all it takes to provide balanced meals to a child. Twenty five cents.
Next week, most of us are going to be sitting around a table that looks something like this...
... while millions will be praying for this:
Once again, I realize that I am blessed. There have been times in my life where we didn't have a lot of food, but we always had something. It may not have been the most exciting or the prettiest, but I have never truly felt hunger. As a kid I would whine that I didn't want what was being served, and my mom would say, "Tiffany, there are children in Africa..." You know how it goes; you have heard it and said it yourself, I am sure. My response was this, however. "Then let's mail them food." In my little five year old mind the solution seemed so easy, but nobody else agreed.
Guess what? It really is that easy. There are tons of places that given the money to do it will get the food into the right hands. Grateful hands.
Back to last night. We ate, we listened to some music, we reflected on the blessings in our lives and shared. And then we asked people to open their wallets. If you honestly want to know, I didn't think we were going to get all that much. Originally I did. But then I saw how many kids were there, and yadda yadda yadda, and I got a little negative about it. All these hours of cooking beans! When I agreed to cook beans to feed somewhere between 50 to 75 people, I agreed to do it, no strings attached. Suddenly though, all those hours in the kitchen seemed like a lot of work if we weren't going to raise a lot of money. I had been secretly hoping to raise $1,000 / had openly (with my speaking) hoped to raise $800 / had at the end of the night hoped to just cross $300, at least.
$1254. That's the number we reached. Above and beyond even my secret hope. You want to know how many quarters (meals) that is? 5,016.
FIVE THOUSAND SIXTEEN!
And here is the even greater part. Because it is Thanksgiving time, the orginization we were supporting (which has an A+ charity grade -- we checked) has donors who are matching everything times seven. Times seven. That $1254 automatically is turning into $8778, or 35,112 meals.
That's a whole lot of bellies that will be filled, for at least a little while.
My little group of friends may not be able to wipe out world hunger by ourselves, but we can do our part. We are, after all, so blessed.
For more information on how your gift can be multiplied by seven, visit http://www.adra.org/
(Thank you Nathania and Tim for the pictures!)