Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hope–Alive and Well

As a long-time corporate strategy advisor, I often view the world through the same lenses and filters that I view the corporate world with.

When one takes such an analytical view of the world, it is easy to find reasons to be worried or even totally dismayed.  Many of the challenges of the world seem totally preventable or at least could have been much smaller in scope and impact had people made choices that weren’t based on excessive greed, incompetence or indifference.  If the world were viewed as a business, it might even be difficult to see any hope of long term viability at all.

But once in a while, we are blessed with an opportunity to witness an event that restores our faith in the potential and future of humanity, an event that restores our ability to see hope for the future.

Today I was blessed to witness such an event.

I attended a check presentation ceremony today at the office of the Community Kitchen Program in Calgary, Alberta.  The Community Kitchen Program, founded by Marilyn Gunn in her laundry room in 1994 and which has grown to serve tens of thousands of needy annually, has as it’s core belief the vision that no one should go hungry.

Ahhhh … a noble, lofty vision than many people have.  Dreams are always important to have, aren’t they?

But this vision seems different.  Marilyn, her passionate, compassionate team, and the organizations they partner with are actually making a huge positive impact on the needy of Calgary through the many programs they offer.

For Some Visionaries, Enough is Never Enough

Is this enough for Marilyn Gunn?

Not at all.  She and many like-minded, compassionate people such as Bill Locke of Capacity Builders and others have embraced something much larger.

They are bringing together more than 25 city agencies in Calgary who serve the needy in addition to partnering with food producers, wholesalers, industry associations, governments at all levels and corporations to create a program they call Food ‘n’ More.  This brilliant idea helps the various organizations and groups serving the needy in Calgary to reduce their cost of buying food by 20-30%, thus enabling each dollar they have to go that much further.  By centralizing and warehousing food on behalf of all these agencies, Food ‘n’ More will take advantage of the power of buying in significant bulk as opposed to smaller orders or just-in-time orders that many of the smaller organizations currently make based on their financial capacity and warehouse availability. 

Today I was privileged to meet many of the people who are so engaged in this effort; people who put their heart and soul into serving those in need - needs that many of us take for granted as we live our lives of unlimited comfort.

The Honorable Lindsay Blackett, Minister of Culture and Community Spirit for the Government of Alberta was also in attendance today with a gift.

It was a gift of over $750,000 to help seed this program, a number that astonished everyone in the room as they realized that with such generosity, this program was moving from vision to reality.

Even the ever-passionate Marilyn Gunn was almost speechless.

The Power of Love and Hope

As I witnessed this incredible sharing of passion for others, of commitment to help those who need help the most and the incredible generosity of donations such as the one Minister Blackett made today, I was reminded of something.

I was reminded that for all the things we can find wrong in the world, there is an incredible amount of “stuff” that is right with the world and there are amazing, passionate, compassionate people turning this “stuff” into reality for the benefit of others.

Sure, the press doesn’t seem to latch on to these things since they prefer to present stories of catastrophe, war and disaster.  These stories wear us down and cause us to wonder if there is any hope left at all.

But observing what I saw today was a reminder that human beings still stand for the right things.

Compassion for the needy and the downtrodden …..

Passion for making a difference …..

And most importantly, love for humanity.

This is the type of story that needs to be shared.  Stories that prove to us that despite the many things we must endure and overcome, the basic human fundamentals of love for one another and for creating hope where hope is difficult to find still thrive.

Marilyn said something today that I thought was profound.  She said:

It only takes one to make a difference ... but it takes many to make a change.

What I saw today were a group of people intent on making a change.

A necessary change.

A change that offers hope to many who so desperately need it.

And in a world where chaos, hatred, tragedy and indifference are constantly packaged and presented to us via what we call “news”, the message of love and hope for a better future for everyone is a better one to hold onto and to be part of.

What do you think?

In service and servanthood,


This blog entry is the same one as posted on my Musings-in-a-Minute blog, which can be found here.

Note: This blog entry is not an endorsement of intention, activities, performance or results of any of the afore-named parties on a go-forward basis.

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