Good People Doing Good Things — 30 More!

You might remember back on the June 29th episode of “Good People Doing Good Things” I shared a video that Scottie had sent me of “30 Random Acts of Kindness That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity.”  Everyone seemed to like that video and this past weekend, I came across another … this one is “30 Random Acts of Kindness That Will Make You Cry!” … and believe me, they will!  So, grab your box of tissues … here’s one for those who might not have any handy … and take a look!  Hats off to all these people who understand the concept that ‘little things mean a lot’.

Good People Doing Good Things — Chef José Andrés

I have written several times in the past about Chef José Andrés and his humanitarian works, and today he is back in the spotlight.  I had trouble writing this one, for more than a few times the tears blurred my vision.  If ever there was a man who qualified for sainthood, it is Chef Andrés.

Chef Andrés has helped feed firefighters who were battling wildfires in California, he opened numerous kitchens during the first year of the pandemic to feed struggling families and give jobs to displaced restaurant workers.  He showed up to feed the thousands of displaced people in New Orleans after Hurricane Ida last year and in 2018 he and his team went to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.  This time, however, may top all the rest, for Chef Andrés and his World Central Kitchen (WCK) team have gone to the borders of Ukraine to feed the thousands of refugees streaming into Poland, Romania, Moldova and, beginning Monday, Hungary.

The team has a three-phase plan that first addresses feeding refugees as they cross at the borders and those remaining in the country. After that, the organization plans to focus on helping feed people at refugee facilities in neighboring countries. Finally, he said, the third phase would take place once the fighting has stopped in Ukraine, and WCK would help organize trucks to enter Ukraine and establish community kitchens in various communities.

“I will make sure we don’t fail.”

On Monday, Chef José Andrés had spent nearly all day handing out plates of hot food to hungry Ukrainian women and children who had fled Russian missile attacks in their country and crossed the border into Poland and he was exhausted, but before going to bed he posted this video that I think you’ll find tells the story far better than any words I could write.

José Andrés speaks from Poland

I noticed Chef Andrés’ blurb on his Twitter page and I think he sums it up well when he says …

“We all are Citizens of the World. What’s good for you, must be good for all. If you are lost, share a plate of food with a stranger … you will find who you are.”

Chef Andrés has won numerous awards, but the one that stands out in my mind is the National Humanities Medal he was awarded in a White House ceremony in 2016.

As I wrote this, I could not help but wonder how I could help, how I could do some small something to help, so after checking my bank balance, I decided to make a small donation to help Mr. Andrés and the WCK purchase food to help the displaced Ukrainians.  My hat is off to this wonderful humanitarian and all those who travel with him on his mission to provide food to those in need.  Thank you, Chef Andrés — be safe for the world needs you!

Good People Doing Good Things — Helpers

As I sat down to write this post, I sighed deeply, not really feeling in the right spirit for a ‘good people’ post.  But, knowing how much you all enjoy the good people posts, I carried on and within a few minutes of reading about good people, my dark mood began to lift.  Funny how good people can do that, isn’t it?

Jimmy Finch lives in Clarksville, Tennessee, about 90 miles from Mayfield, Kentucky, where a devastating tornado hit last Friday night.  Mayfield reportedly suffered the worst damage throughout the five states that were impacted by tornadoes that night.

On Sunday morning, Jimmy Finch loaded food and a smoker onto his small trailer and headed out to feed the people of Mayfield.  As Jimmy tells it …

“I know they don’t have electricity. No restaurants. No running water. I just figured I would do what I could do. So I showed up with some food and some water.  I just came down here trying to feed the people. Everybody’s talking about they’re sending up prayers and, you know, their well wishes and everything. You know, folks can’t eat no prayer. You gotta put something in their stomach. Give them something to hold on to.”

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Good People Doing Good Things — Feeding People

All three of this week’s ‘good people’ have earned thumbs-up for doing something to help feed people.  Let’s take a look …

Meet Doramise Moreau, a woman with a heart of gold.  Doramise is a widow, 60 years of age, who works part-time as a janitor at a technical school in Miami, Florida.  She usually walks to work or takes the bus because she does not own a car.  Doramise doesn’t have much in the way of money, but she still gives more to her community than most people.  What does she do?  She cooks.  Correction … she cooks over a thousand meals every week to feed the hungry in her community.

doramise-moreauEvery Thursday and Friday, Moreau borrows her church’s truck to buy groceries. Notre Dame d’Haiti Catholic Church pays for the food, relying on donations. Moreau then prepares the meals singlehandedly, while church volunteers serve or deliver them to people in need.  Says Ms. Moreau …

“Americans, Spanish, Haitian, they come here.  Even when I’m closing, they say, ‘Please, can I have some,’ and I give it to them, because if they go home and have nothing it hurts my feelings.”

Don’t you just want to hug this woman?  Despite her limited salary, she also feeds people back home in her little village north of Port-au-Prince in Haiti. She sends food pallets monthly to her sisters and brother, nieces, nephews and neighbors.

Now, I said at the beginning that Doramise doesn’t own a car, but that’s not quite true, for last week Ms. Moreau was surprised with a new Toyota Corolla by community leaders!  Take a look …

In Baltimore, Maryland, there is a restaurant named Ekiben, owned by Steve Chu and friends Ephrem Abebe and Nikhil Yesupriya.  The restaurant is known in the Fells Point neighborhood for its Taiwanese-influenced cuisine in a fast casual environment.  Recently Steve Chu got his opportunity to be a ‘good people’.

A customer of Ekiben reached out to the restaurant after he learned that his mother-in-law’s health had taken a turn for the worse.

He explained …

“My mother-in-law lives in Vermont and would visit my wife and her sister throughout the years. Whenever she was in town, Ekiben’s tempura broccoli was something she always needed to have. She always joked that when she’s on her death bed that if there’s anything in the world, she wants tempura broccoli from Ekiben.”

Turns out his mother-in-law is, in fact, on her death bed now, dying of stage 4 lung cancer, so …

“The drive to Vermont is 6 hours and tempura broccoli obviously will not taste the same after the long ride. I reached out to Ekiben’s owners to see if there was a way for us to either get the recipe or some of the ingredients to bring up and cook it for her.

The response I received is still overwhelming.

Steve Chu replied, ‘Thanks for reaching out. Ephrem and I are more than willing to meet you guys in Vermont and make the food fresh so it will be just like what she remembered.’

I’m still in disbelief that they would go to such lengths.”

EkibenSteve and Ephrem did as promised, and refused to accept any money for their gas, lodging, or the food they provided.

Rhonda Lee of Jackson Country, West Virginia, has made a big difference during this pandemic by starting a food pantry in her own basement.

Ms. Lee began in the early days of the pandemic taking money out of her own pay checks to create a food pantry for those in need …

“Some weeks it was 200, some weeks 100.”

rhonda-leeWhen Lee was laid off in June, she continued the pantry going with the money she had saved.  How many people do you know who would do that?  Lee says she has strived to find ways to give back to the community after others helped her when she lost everything in a flash flood in 1995.

“I know what it’s like to get up one day and everything’s gone. They helped me, and I’m in a position, I’m gonna help others.”

Lee says she helps anyone, no matter the circumstances. She even goes the extra mile and drops the boxes of food off herself.

“We don’t tell people ‘no’. We just say ‘how can we help?’, ‘what do you need?'”

There are a few essentials to keep people alive, and no, an i-phone isn’t one of them.  Food, water, shelter … that’s about it.  Today’s good people all went the extra mile, giving of their time and money to make sure people had the first of those essentials and they all deserve a big …


Remembering …

Good Monday Morning, friends.  Jolly Monday will return in its usual format next week, but for today, without apology, I am doing something a bit different.  I came across something that I felt was a timely reminder and important for us all to read, to think about, to remember.  This came from a Facebook page I follow, the Jon S. Randal Peace Page.Peace Page

In 2005, a foreign army made its way toward the southern border of the United States.

As the convoy and troops passed Mexican villages on its way to the U.S., people in the villages cheered, waved, honked car horns and rang bells to support the mission of their troops.Mexican armyThe Mexican army, its trucks emblazoned with large Mexican flags, crossed the border at Laredo at dawn and advanced up Interstate 35, arriving in San Antonio later that day. The Mexican Navy would also send ships, buses and helicopters. It was the first Mexican military operation on U.S. soil in 90 years.

Mexico had sent its people to help and feed their neighbors – tens of thousands of homeless and hungry Americans displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

To backtrack, in August 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. It would be one of the worst disasters in U.S. history, and it became obvious very early on that U.S. aid agencies and relief/support was overwhelmed. People in Mexico were horrified to see scenes of floating corpses and botched relief efforts.

Mexican President Vicente Fox would send his condolences to President George W. Bush, saying, “In the name of the people and of the government of Mexico, I assure you of my deepest and most sincere condolences for the devastating effects caused by Hurricane Katrina”. He would also instruct the Secretary of Foreign Affairs its neighbor to the North would be provided with any kind of help that was needed.

“This is just an act of solidarity between two peoples who are brothers,” said Fox’s spokesman, Ruben Aguilar.

The Mexican government, with support from its citizens, would send a 45-vehicle convoy, which included two mobile kitchens, three flatbed trucks carrying mobile water-treatment plants and 15 trailers of bottled water, blankets and applesauce, according to CBS News.

The 195 Mexicans taking part included military specialists, doctors, nurses and engineers.katrina-mex-2According to the Washington Post, the Mexican soldiers set up camp at a former Air Force base outside San Antonio, where they distributed potable water, medical supplies and 7,000 hot meals a day for the next three weeks.

The Mexican army even brought beef to serve their neighbors, but the USDA blocked the distribution. Undeterred, the Mexicans bought their beef locally.

According to former diplomat Stephen R. Kelly, by the time the Mexican army completed their mission, the Mexicans had served 170,000 meals, helped distribute more than 184,000 tons of supplies and conducted more than 500 medical consultations at a time when the United States was struggling to provide aid to its own citizens in devastated areas.katrina-mex.jpgMexican sailors also assisted with clearing downed branches and other storm debris in Biloxi, Mississippi, where they posed for photos with President George W. Bush, who thanked them for their help.

Kelly, who was a former U.S. diplomat who served in Mexico from 2004 to 2006, would say, “this doesn’t sound like the Mexico you’ve been hearing about lately — the one that has been ripping America off, the one that sends rapists and criminals across the border . . . it was an extraordinary gesture” of humanity from our Southern neighbor.