Sunday, November 30, 2008

To Spend or To Give that is the question

I've always said that Global Poverty can and will be resolved and mostly like it will come the younger generations. In our local paper this weekend a person that rang the holiday bell for Salvation Army collections wrote in how moving it was to see young students putting money in the kettle and not just small change but bills. If we as parents educate our children on poverty there's really no limit to what they will do to participate in making sure that in their lifetime it is conquered just as we conquered other great tasks.

Before I became an activist for and Save Darfur and Bread for Life I admit I was a bit cynical and skeptical about how it could ever be resolved. And there are times when I have to release the anger at our very consumer driven and materialistic culture in America. Most recently it was the tragic death of a 34 year old Walmart worker after an "out-of-control" mob of frenzied shoppers smashed through the Long Island store's front doors and trampled him injuring 4 others including a woman who was 8 months pregnant on that infamous day I've come to despise with it's fitting name "Black Friday" the day after Thanksgiving. Even more disturbing is that the store remained open and the shoppers continued to dash for deals! I hope this despicable death puts an end to the madness but as I see the insanity grow year after year it's hard to be hopeful. Didn't we ALL use to enjoy the day off relaxing and visiting with our family over a leisure cup of coffee or hot cocoa reminiscing about the good old days or playing cards with our Uncles? Luckily, it seems my whole family is on board with me about not getting into the craze at all although my Dad did rifle through the flyers in our local paper at our Turkey Dinner exclaiming "Hey, look at this a Robot Vacumn on sale for 59.99!" While my Mom just grumbled in the background for the fifth time "I don't need a vacumn..." She actually gets her vacumn fixed! There's another dying custom in our culture.

But there is a silver lining always! And my heavy heart had this tragedy mixed in with an amazing food pantry drive that lifted my heart in the 2nd annaul "Fill the Dome" fundraising event to literally "fill" our FargoDome stadium with non perishable food items. This event was spearheaded by the Metro Student Council Ambassadors last year with no adult supervision! And due to their outstanding vision and leadership as well as the generosity of big hearted residents throughout our community, 142,535 pounds of food was collected as well as more than $55,000 dollars raised for the more than 15,000 seniors, children and working families needing food assistance in our community and the State of North Dakota. The sheer amount collected brings tears to my eyes and then to think of how far this assistance will reach truly shows what can be done with a well thought out plan of action and the drive to see it through. This food will be distributed to the Churches United for Homeless shelter, Dorothy Day House and Food Pantry, Emergency Food Pantry, Great Plains Food Bank, New Life Center, Reach Food Pantry, The Salvation Army, Southeastern North Dakota Community Action Agency and the YWCA of Cass Clay!

These shelves like many food pantry shelves across the country have seen increased demand and more and more pantrys are having to turn people away.The vast amount of help that is on the way due to these students vision to make a difference really illustrates the impact the younger generation can have on their communities! My children participated in various fund raising contests between other classes or "teams" and area schools to do their part to Fill the Dome. They also were able to go to the Dome on school field trips to see first hand what their school and their community had come together to do. This is a vital, emotional component that my husband and I bring to raising our children to instill the desire to get involved and see what we can do when many hearts and minds come together! I see many children here in our community and abroad that are leading by example and it is my hope that more and more parents will "get it" and teach and instill this give give and give some more attitude to their children as opposed to a stop at nothing to save a buck and spend spend and spend some more attitude that we can tend to see this time of year.

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