We are truly inspired by the positive energy, hopeful attitude and gratitude overwhelmingly presented by the IWFM community of shoppers and vendors each week. We believe this energy is benefiting our city and State well beyond the walls of the market hall, but sometimes it’s hard for any one of us as an individual to believe that our singular participation, choice, or contribution really makes much difference. Sometimes problems feel so big or overwhelming, that it’s hard to imagine the power of one person to make a difference.
And so we have decided to embark on an IWFM Power of One Challenge. Each week you will be invited (not expected or obligated) to put $1 or any spare change you havein the IWFM Power of One collectionjar at the Market Information Table as you enter or leave the market.
A specific project will be selected by the IWFM staff and volunteers to receive those funds each week. Most weeks it will be related to our local food community, but some weeks it may not. You are welcome to submit recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to have an IWFM connection to share about each project supported through the IWFM Power of One Challenge. $1 on it’s own does not go very far, but 1,000 people giving $1…. Together we are empowered to accomplish more than we ever could alone.
This week, January 23, 2010, the IWFM Power of One funds will be donated to Edge Outreach - a Louisville, KY based non-profit humanitarian-aid organization. Edge sent a team to Haiti on Wednesday, Jan. 20th to set-up water purification stations to help address the acute shortage of safe water for drinking, sanitization and medical treatment in the wake of the earthquake. You can follow the team’s work at www.edgeoutreach.com, and read more here. A reporter and photographer with the Louisville Courier Journal Newspaper accompanied the team and will be providing daily reports. The purification system being used was invented and is still being manufactured by a man in Southern Indiana.
The IWFM connection to Edge Outreach is one very near and dear to my heart. My father has been "working" for Edge since it was basically a three person office in the closet space of a printing press in Louisville, KY. For many years, his service to Edge - like that of everyone involved - was as a volunteer. Through the efforts of truly thousands of individuals making whatever donation they could of time, labor, skills and funding, the amazing work of this organization has spread to seventeen countries on three continents. I have never met a group of people who give more of themselves than the dedicated staff and volunteers of Edge Outreach, and I believe it is that gracious giving, without expectation of anything in return, that has led so many other people to give so generously to Edge when there is a need to be filled - and not just financially.
People give of their time, talents and resources in truly awe-inspiring ways, and that has been critical to the accomplishments of this organization. They do not simply go and "do good." Instead, they empower individuals through education, training, life-experience and relationships. They empower individuals to bring their skills, talents and connections to a project, and they empower some of the worlds most vulnerable people to control and maintain their own safe water source. It seems the folks at Edge never step back and say "We can't do that." or "Sorry, that's just too hard or too big for us to address." Instead, they assess and consider, what and who do they need to bring together to make it happen. Then they start to put the pieces together by reaching out to their every growing network of support.
To me, Edge Outreach exemplifies that there is truly no limit to what we - first as one and then as a community - can achieve when we believe in ourselves, open our awareness to a need, speak the truth of that need with passion and knowledge, embrace the response that is sure to come with genuine gratitude, and empower each other to learn, share and participate - one step, one goal, one achievement at a time. The work they do is amazing, but it's how they do it that changes lives.
On behalf of the staff and volunteers of the IWFM, we are excited to see what our collective ones and $1s can empower through the IWFM Power of One Challenge.