Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Two stories of Hope...

 My daughter is an Americorps Volunteer this year--spending 10 months of her life working to help to better America. She has worked in New Orleans, Hattiesburg Mississippi, off Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, Memphis and a few other places that I can't remember off the top of my head. She has done new construction, worked with non-profit organizations that help people get back in their homes, others that are committed to planting trees or fixing up hiking trails. She has done remodeling, office work and a lot of just plain hard work like loading hundreds and thousands of pounds of dry wall and planting thousands of trees.

But, yesterday she was pulled off her current assignment and was assigned to Chattanooga, Tennessee where she will work with the Red Cross in the aftermath of the devastating tornadoes which swept through there last week. As I was thinking about this, and about how little one person's influence seems to be, I couldn't help thinking that each and every one of the volunteers has hope. They have hope for the future, hope for America and hope that they can make a difference. Kari said they will be working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week for the couple of weeks they are stationed in Chattanooga.

Why does she do it? Why do any of them do it?
I think they believe they can make a difference.
And they are right.

That led me to think of my small town. It is a 21st Century Mayberry. We have a soda fountain in the drugstore, a barber--kind of like Floyd--a few banks and hair dressers, one fillin' station minus Goober, and a little grocery store that looks like it did 50 years ago.

The owner, Leonard Fitch is probably the nicest man you will ever meet [Leonard is on the left]. But, with Walmart, Kroger and Sam's to compete with, the way of the family owned IGA is fast becoming extinct.

Well, an Asbury Seminary decided that he would spearhead a plan to save the local IGA from extinction. You can read the article here, but basically, using Facebook and enlisting locals and college and seminary students, Jay Leeson [the student] has started a one man  campaign to save our grocery.

Why does he do it?
I think he believes he can make a difference.
And I think he is right.

He has hope that if he can bring like-minded folks together, we can keep our local grocery. He has an expectation for what he can't see. He has hope and it is changing how we view our local grocery. Rather than looking at it like a convenience store, Jay is challenging us to see it as part of the community's heritage.

I am in awe of people like Kari and Jay--people working unselfishly for the good of others. People with Hope.

Take care,

If you would like to keep up on Kari's life in Americorps you can go here: http://karigoestomississippi.blogspot.com/
If you would like to keep up on the Revitalization of IG you can friend the group on Facebook by goingt to  Fitch's Neighbors

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