Feed the Kids, Feed Your Soul

I’m making a pledge for 2017 and I’m looking for others to join me. At least once per month I’m going to volunteer to help others. Last month I donated blood. Yesterday I helped to put food in bags for children who eat nothing – or baked clay – because in some countries (like Haiti and Uganda) there’s often nothing for kids to eat.

Imagine. Nothing. To. Eat.

Operating on donations and thousands of volunteer hands Feed My Starving Children has been nourishing children in more than 70 challenged communities for the past 20 years. The premise is simple. With sustenance, kids can sleep and play and learn. Kids can be kids with hope of a future. To be candid, it won’t be the future American children can expect and enjoy. But it can be a better future than they would have without food.

Though Feed My Starving Children has a location just miles from my home in the southeast metro of the Twin Cities I drove to an office building north of Minneapolis to do the same work I could have done much closer to home.

There’s a method to my madness. I’m a self-employed writer and speaker. I have no staff. I work from home – or wherever I happen to be sitting with my Mac. I’m an empty nester. Even the dog moved out last August.

I’m not part of a team. There’s no company Christmas party or summer picnic for people like me.

When I heard that WCCO Radio host John Williams was assembling a team to compete in the first-ever Feed My Starving Children business challenge I signed up. I feel like I’m a WCCO stepchild. I have a weekly segment with host Jordana Green on Thursday nights in which we talk about the latest topic of my blog, Gifts, Gratitude & Gumption.

Jordana was in for the two-hour stint. So I signed up, too, as did WCCO staffers, listeners, an orthopedic doc, and Sue Zellickson, another regular contributor on Jordana’s show.

In my memoir, Bitter or Better, I write about three steps to living the choice to be “better.” They’re simple, but not easy. They involve looking up, reaching out, and stepping forward.

One of the steps on my roadmap to resilience is finding a way to feel connected. People who feel connected with others live longer, happier lives.

That’s my goal. A long, healthy, happy life, marked by “choosing better.”

People who reach out and do things for others also live more joyful lives. Why? Because when you focus on someone other than yourself you gain perspective that can tip the scales from “bitter” to “better.”

Feed My Starving Children masterfully sets the stage for the need and the solution. Through a powerful video volunteers learn that kids in Haiti eat baked clay before bedtime so they can fend off hunger pangs and get some sleep. It puts everything into perspective.

Hate winter? Feeling lonely? Struggling with medical issues?

Well you’re not eating baked clay, are you? You’re more likely drinking from a coffee mug made of that same clay. Because someone had the brilliant idea of using the clay to make mugs. The mugs could be sold to support the nonprofit’s work.

I left the site with a full heart and two new coffee mugs.

What about you? Will you take the 12-month challenge and do something for others each month? What are your ideas?

Let’s help each other to help each other.