Quote of the Week

It’s a music quote!  This is one of my favorite songs, afterall…

Tough people pull themselves up by the bootstraps
When they hit hard luck
And they stay strong and they keep on fightin’
Like they don’t know how to lose
Tough times don’t last
Tough people do

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Souper Bowl time!!!

Today, I found a flyer on my door for the Souper Bowl.  For those who have not heard of it, the Souper Bowl utilizes “Super Bowl weekend to mobilize youth to fight hunger and poverty in their local communities.”  The non-profit was started in 1990 by Rev. Dr. Brad Smith, then a seminary intern at a Presbyterian church in South Carolina.  As of today, the Souper Bowl has raised over $50 million and collected over 22 million pounds of food.  It just goes to show you what one person can start.

So why should a small business help?  HINT: PR!  I will provide you with a few simple ideas on how you can make a difference in such a short period of time…the super bowl is this Sunday!  Get your staff and patients (or clients) involved.  If you are not a small business owner, I’ll go into ways you can help too.

Encourage your staff to bring non-perishable food they’d like to donate.

Ways to encourage your staff:

  1. Match their donations.  Example:  You have a staff of 10; each brings 5 food items, bringing the total to 50 items.  You can easily buy 50 food items at Costco, in bulk, at “wholesale” prices.
  2. Reward their giving.  Take them all out to lunch.  Give them each a little gift or you can raffle off a larger prize.

Ways to use it for PR:

      Photos, photos, photos.  Make sure you take photos of all the food you’ve collected and will be donating.  Take photos of you and your staff with the food, your staff at lunch or winning the raffle prize, etc.  Post them on your website, blog, Facebook, etc.  Send them to your local newspaper with a short write-up of what you did.

Encourage your patients (or clients) to bring non-perishable food they’d like to donate.

Ways to encourage your patients (or clients):

  1. Match their donations.  This obviously involves collecting more food than if you only involve your staff.  You can put a cap on your match.  Example:  100 patients bring 5 food items each, bringing the total to 500 food items.  You’ve placed a cap of “we’ll match your donation up to 100 food items” or “we’ll donate a food item for every patient (or client) who brings in a donated food item”.
  2. Give them discounts.  Examples:  Every food item brought in gives them a $1 discount.  Every patient (or client) who brings a donated food item receives $20 off their next appointment.
  3. Reward their giving.  Raffle off a few prizes (ex. $10 gift cards, movie tickets, teeth whitening, etc.)

Ways to use it for PR:

      Again, PHOTOS!!!  Take photos of all the donated items with you, your staff, even your patients (or clients).  Post them on your website, blog, Facebook.  Definitely send them to your local newspaper with a write-up.

There are more and better ways to help and gain PR from this if we had a bit more time.  You can reach a broader public and gain patients (or clients) while making a difference in your local community and the world-at-large.  You can also involve your patients and staff in even more ways that would encourage patient loyalty, staff motivation, etc.  We’ll go into further details on how to do this in a future article, or feel free to contact me anytime.

If you are an individual wanting to help, that’s easy!  Below are several ways you can do so:

  • Go through your pantry and gather any non-expired, non-perishable food items you’d like to donate.
  • Buy non-perishable food items at your local grocery store and donate them.  Some of them have boxes or barrels where you can drop off the food items.  No need to lug them back home.
  • Donate to the Souper Bowl of Caring.
  • Order the Souper Bowl special now through Feb 6th – two large one topping pizzas with four 20 oz. drinks for $23.99.  The Souper Bowl of Caring will receive $2 from every order placed.  Order at papajohns.com. Enter promo code TACKLE.
  • Get your family, friends, and neighbors involved.  You (and a few others) can pick up the donated items and deliver them to drop-off locations.
  • Have every guest coming to your Super Bowl party bring a food item to be donated.
  • Encourage businesses you frequent to participate in the Souper Bowl.  Feel free to direct them to this blog if they need ideas.

Haiti – Reflections of a Relief Volunteer (Part II)

During these trips, and other Help for Orphans International (HFOI) trips to Haiti, we were able to deliver tons of food, tents, school uniforms & clothing, toys, school & art supplies, medical supplies, painted a mural, planted trees & garden, etc.  All of this would not have been possible without the dedication of HFOI volunteers and staff, but also important are the locals and government officials involved. 

There is the US Army Civil Affairs unit, who were absolutely amazing in helping us with food and logistics for the orphanages.  They even joined us at an Easter party thrown by HFOI at a local orphanage.  There is also the amazing people at WFP (World Food Program), UNICEF, IOM (International Organization for Migration), UN military and police (MINUSTAH & UNPOL), and other organizations that helped provide us with food, supplies, transportation, and security.

The locals were absolutely amazing, whether it be Haitians, Haitian-Americans, or ex-pats.  We stayed with our wonderful Haitian assistant and friend, Rudy, and his family on the first trip.  There was also the amazing 2nd trip when we stayed with Duckens and his beautiful fiancée, Martine.  Duckens was kind enough not to kick me out when I had an allergic reaction and had to be taken to the hospital at 3am.  Thank goodness our volunteers and Kevin, our perma-culture expert, took over the HFOI deliveries.  Then there was the time we went off-roading to find an orphanage that was not accessible by the main road.  Thanks to a couple of Haitian men at a school, we were able to find them and deliver food to the children.  Of course, I had to jump over irrigation ditches and what-nots in my cargo skirt and flip flops.  Thank goodness for G, our right-hand man and volunteer, was there to help.  He was also there to get us out of our broken-down truck adventure…my, oh my, was that fun LOL.

The media can go on and on about how Haiti is rebuilding too slowly.  Some also have their misconceptions on the work-ethic of Haitians.  The general public can place the blame on local & international government, NGOs (non-government organizations), locals, etc., but the truth is nothing gets done with blame and fear.  It all gets done with positive reinforcement and the relentless pursuit of ideals.  I was there, and I’ve never seen people work so hard to help others.  Those government workers that we chastised were living in tents and conditions that you could only imagine, unless you were there.  Some of them were working 10-14 hour days, away from their families and friends for months at a time.  Haitians are some of the hardest-working and determined people I’ve ever met.  I’m personally grateful for all the work and hospitality that all have shown me in Haiti.

Haiti is an experience…a surreal, amazing experience!  I can’t wait to go back to Haiti, converse with its people and hold the children at the orphanages.  Never mind the long hours, the sweat, the tears…it was the joy, the purpose, the children…they are all worth it.  I arrived in Haiti on my birthday, prepared for the worst and found the best…in humanity.  I could not have asked for a more phenomenal birthday wish…to live a life full of such purpose is happiness.  Just don’t feed me any more MREs (ready to eat meals) 😉

All this talk about how inefficient the rebuilding process has been; or our own forgetfulness due to our own problems or concerns, we must not forget that we live on this planet as one.  A person can not survive without another, or its other living things or environment.  Instead of blaming each other and using inefficiency as an excuse to not continue to help, we should be acknowledging what has been done and continues to be done.  Haiti still needs our help…will you stand together with me and help?

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Photos Courtesy:  Kevin Rowell, Isabella Garcia, Help for Orphans International