I hope you’re in the mood for a few ‘good people’ this morning, for it just so happens that I’ve found a few! Most of what I write for this blog is on the dark side, but we need balance in our diets … our emotional diets as well as our nutritional diets. Good people serve to remind us that there is hope for a brighter tomorrow.
In March, when restaurants in most every state in the U.S. closed down due to the coronavirus pandemic, farmers immediately lost their restaurant contracts and many ended up having to plow their crops under, taking a huge loss for the year. On the other side of the coin were people who had lost their jobs due to the shutdown and were unable to earn the money to buy food. But in the State of Washington, there was George Ahearn …
When George Ahearn heard that farmers in Washington state were giving away onions and potatoes they suddenly couldn’t sell, his instinct for goodwill kicked in and George went to work. Thinking of the food banks in Seattle that were overwhelmed, George asked on Facebook to borrow someone’s truck or trailer for the day, to haul around 2,000 pounds of restaurant-grade onions and potatoes. The response to his altruistic post was dramatic, and soon 4 trucks and 2 trailers had hauled 9.3 tons of crops grown in the east to feed hungry people in the west.
On that first inaugural run, Ahearn learned that food banks originally couldn’t accept a semi-truck load of ‘loose’ potatoes. Enter Zsofia Pasztor, a farmer and fellow nonprofiteur who began donating crates and boxes for transporting the crops. As these things tend to do, the movement grew and became a nonprofit organization called EastWest Food Rescue. One person who donated a truck on that first day, Nancy Balin, is now one of the program’s directors, as is Zsofia Pasztor. Says Balin …
“The whole thing was extremely organic and took on a life of its own almost immediately.”
Thus far, EastWest Food Rescue has saved over 2.4 million pounds of food from fields and brought it to those who really needed it, while also amassing enough donations to help compensate farmers for their loss. The goal is to rescue 10 million pounds of food, for which Ahearn is trying to raise $250,000. Ahearn says one of the most important priorities is to get refrigeration capacity for fruit and other produce, as well as for milk and eggs. Ahearn had originally planned to shut down the operation after they reached 70 tons, so he could spend more time with his family, but that was long ago, and he accepts that in this moment he “can’t stop.”What a good man … and so many others … yes?
Kind hearts start young
Bike Planet of Memphis donated a bike to celebrate the grand opening of Covington Parks and Recreation Bike Park. A young boy named Chase was the winner of the bike. Only one thing, though … Chase already has a bike.
His neighbor and friend Daniel, however, didn’t have a bike, so … you can guess what’s coming, right? Yep … Chase gave the brand-new bike to Daniel! Methinks he’s been taught well! Good job, Chase!
And then there’s 11-year-old Cartier Carey, a young entrepreneur. Cartier has a lemonade/snack stand, like so many kids his age, but his is just a little bit different. You see, rather than trying to earn money for that new toy or a puppy, Cartier is raising money for single moms to buy such things as diapers and other essentials. So far, he has raised close to $5,000 through the stand and donations and all proceeds go directly to the single moms.
“I wanted to help mothers who were struggling.”
And this isn’t Cartier’s first foray into altruism. Earlier this year, Cartier created care packages called “Carti packs,” filled with deodorant, soap and tissues to give to the homeless population.He founded his own non-profit organization called Kids 4 Change 757 about a year ago. Cartier says he was motivated to create the movement so he “could help the community and make the community better.”
Chase and Cartier are our reason to hope for a brighter future, my friends!
Welcome to Ontario …
Maurice Ellis, his wife Caroline Leslie-Ellis, and their daughter, Amara, immigrated to Ontario, Canada from Jamaica to create a better life for their family. Maurice works two jobs to support his family and put his wife through college. Caroline has earned top marks in the hospitality and tourism management program at Fanshawe College, but the expenses are tough for the family to manage.
Shortly after they moved to Ontario, in an effort to become a part of their new community, Maurice joined Dad Club London, a club for fathers and pending fathers, where they can network with other like-minded dads, give and receive help, and become more involved in their community. One day, Dad Club London founder and president, Jeremy McCall, posted a Black Lives Matter message on the group’s Facebook page that started a conversation, and Maurice admitted that he was the target of a number of racial slurs at his second workplace.
McCall didn’t just commiserate or offer words of sympathy … he leapt into action to show the Ellis family that those who directed racial comments at Maurice were not representative of their community. He organized a secret fundraiser to show Ellis and his family how much the community supported them.
Contributions came in from the local police union, 70 families, and numerous businesses. The group was able to raise nearly $7,000, and McCall arranged a get-together last month to surprise the family.
First, their daughter Amara was given a gift—the biggest LEGO set the club could find, and then Maurice was given a prepaid Mastercard to help with family living expenses. Finally, smiles turned to disbelief when Caroline unfolded the check for her college tuition. Said McCall to the gathered ensemble …
“What happened to you doesn’t represent this community. We don’t stand for that. When you said, ‘I guess that’s the way the world is,’ it broke our hearts because it can’t be that way, and we won’t let it … We, together, stand as a community against racism.”
Needless to say, there was no shortage of tears all around. What good people, yes?