Small questions –
We live in a world of big intractable problems. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. I want to just put my head down and get on with MY work and take care of MY family… tunnel vision on, world tuned out.
But, I have amazing friends…friends that inspire. me. to. lift up my head, look about, listen, and maybe ask a question.
One was moved by the Syrian refugee crisis. She asked, “What can I do about this crisis?” She refined the question, “Can I help one displaced family?” She asked another question, “Who can help me in this effort?”
Her church community wanted to help. An apartment that the church owns was renovated and a family came into the community to start rebuilding their shattered lives.
Another friend in Ottawa volunteers at the Illinois Valley Public Action to Deliver Shelter (IV-PADS) homeless shelter each month. He was taken aback by just how great the need for shelter is. The 50 bed facility was full. He asked a question, “Would people be turned away in the bitter cold?” He asked another, “What is the most pressing need to keep you from turning people away?”
Folding cots…he went online ($70) and a folding cot was on its way to the shelter. He shared the need on social media, and soon a lot of cots were on their way – maybe more than enough. The appeal changed to a request for cash donations. The shelter takes a lot of supplies – toilet paper, soap, cleaners, food, bedding, etc. Needs change, cash is flexible, and bulk purchases leverage each dollar.
These are my heroes. People asking questions, connecting with their community, and getting sh*t done!
I’m worried about the changes a new congress and president will make to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the coming year… another one big intractable problem.
“How can I solve hunger in America?”
Tunnel vision, tuning out…
I need a smaller question.
“Can we do something to address hunger in our community?”
How about a community soup event collecting donations for the local food bank?
Full disclosure, this is not an original idea. Tomorrow, we’re taking soup to the Hideout in Chicago. Our dear friend, Martha Bayne, has been organizing Soup and Bread Chicago for the past eight years – she’s another one of my heroes.
On Saturday, I posted the idea of an Ottawa event on my Facebook page and asked for help.
We have six soup chefs lined up, live music arranged, and a bevy of volunteers offering help. It’s pretty gratifying to see so many people stepping up. It looks to be a great event!
Here are the details:
Community Supported Soup
January 20th, 2017
5:00 – 7:30 pm
Jeremiah Joe Coffee
807 La Salle St, Ottawa, IL
Link to event on Facebook.
Our business weaves us into our customers’ communities, so we’ll be taking this event on the road. Evanston is slated for February 9th at Temperance Tap with Oak Park on the docket as well. If you’re near one of those, we’d love your help!