Sunday, June 19, 2011

New Direction...

I have always considered myself to be of a charitable nature.  I don't have a ton of money, we don't have a money tree in the backyard but when a cause speaks to me, I like to answer if I can and with what I can.  Over the last several years we have done walks for Susan G Komen, American Heart Association, the Lung Association and the Humane Society.  They all are very important associations and contribute to great causes but I have never felt drawn to do more than pay the registration fee, maybe raise some funds to donate as well and then attend on the event day and show support.  Up until recently I have felt that was "enough" and to be honest it may have been. 

Ever since I did the 5K with the #PriorFatPack on Memorial Day I have felt this pull in my heart and I just don't think I can ignore it.  Gary Westlund is the man behind Charities Challenge and I had the pleasure of meeting him at the Memorial Day race.  He has such an enormous heart and a love for health and fitness.  He's really an amazing man.  I couldn't help but think that he was such a great example of the kind of person that I have always wanted to be.  He is a fitness professional and his joy in life is watching people stay active and learning to be active all in the name of health.  He's my version of a superhero!

This weekend I ran my second 10K at Lake Calhoun (race recap on that this week) in support of the Kids Against Hunger organization.  Originally I picked this race because I needed an event to train for this summer and it landed on a free weekend.  As I did more research online I found that this org is doing amazing things to feed the starving population around this world.  Here are some facts taken from their webpage: "One billion people around the world live in chronic poverty and hunger.  40,000 children die EACH DAY from starvation and illnesses related to malnutrition.  And yet, the world produces enough food to feed every man, woman and child a healthy diet every day." Those statistics are unreal and unimaginable.  The proceeds from the race yesterday will be used to purchase the supplies for the Meal Packathon this coming Saturday.  The meals packed this coming weekend will be going to the people in Haiti.  Last year this event made it possible to pack 150,000 meals and they are hoping that this year will be even bigger.  I have already signed up to help pack those meals next weekend at their New Hope location, Melissa will be joining me as well.  And I am seriously thinking about bringing my daughter Zoe with me as well.  I talked to one of the organizers at the booth yesterday and they said kids are more than welcome and if they get bored packing than they let them color on the boxes and write messages to the kids that will be getting these meals.  I think it is imperative as a parent to make sure that my children know how fortunate they are and how different we live than in other places around the world.  I know that Zoe may be a little young to fully grasp that the kids we are sending food to don't get to go to Subway for lunch/dinner when they want to - but I also believe that is never too soon to start teaching her to give to others in any way she can. 

So, after saying all of this - I am sure you may be wondering what it all means.  It means I feel like I could be doing more.  It means I feel like I have not yet tapped my potential to make changes.  When I told my husband the other day that I just don't feel like what I do (as in my job) changes anything and it doesn't really "matter", he answered "we can't all save the world".  I disagree, I think we can save the world - maybe not tomorrow and maybe not even in my lifetime.  But, I feel like I have the ability and the knowledge to do something that really makes an impact.  I don't think I am capable of saving the world, however, I feel like the things I do or don't do now can change how my daughters feel on the subject.  I don't ever want them to think that something is so hopeless they would never move to try to change or fix it.  I don't want them to think that children starving in other countries doesn't affect them, because it does and it should.  My girls have such big caring hearts and I don't want that to ever change, in fact I would be so happy and proud to know that their hearts just got bigger and more caring as they get older and if I can be any part of that I have done my job.  Now, don't get me wrong, my husband is an incredible man, but he is a realist and somewhat practical - and I love that about him!  I am not saying I am going to get on an airplane and go to Haiti and attempt to save the world.  What I am saying is that I have a strong desire to do more and by golly I am going to get out there and do it. 

Side bar: don't worry parents - I am not going to quit my job, start a non-profit organization and stop paying my mortgage!  I am going to indeed find something to do in my "free time" that makes a difference though - you can count on that! 

In the meantime, I am going to keep my heart open and figure out what all of this means.  And I will keep giving to causes that mean something to me and make the difference I am capable of, for now.  With hopes that I can do more, much more in the near future. 

Be happy and healthy my friends!

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