The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

An appeal for charity

Floydm's picture

An appeal for charity

As many folks here know, for the past two years I've had the honor of working for Mercy Corps, a humanitarian aid organization based in Portland, Oregon.  Even if you are just a casual visitor to The Fresh Loaf, you may have noticed the Mercy Corps banners and tiles that I run for free here from time-to-time.

Once a year or so I feel it is worth making a case for Mercy Corps and other charitable causes here, so let this be my annual appeal to The Fresh Loaf community. This is my own personal appeal, not anything written by, endorsed by, or paid for by Mercy Corps. And, yes, I'm abusing my administrator privileges by posting this here rather than in my blog or the "Off-Topic" forum.  Please indulge me this one time a year.

2008 has been a busy year at Mercy Corps. In the spring we responded to both the cyclone in Myanmar and the earthquake in Southern China. Our programs in both place continue today with our teams helping locals replant rice fields, restore clean drinking water to their villages, and rebuild their local economies. Since then we have also responded to the terrible floods in Honduras and the growing cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe. We continue to work in more than thirty countries worldwide, helping those in the greatest need build secure, productive and just communities for themselves and their families.

Unfortunately, 2008 has been a very tough year for charities and non-profits. For the first eleven months of the year the US elections drew away people's attention from charitable activities. Rather than organize a local food drive or raise awareness of global crisis, many people worked and raised money for the candidates and party of their choice. That level of participation in and excitement about this election was wonderful but, as I said, it made it a very difficult fundraising environment for charities and non-political causes.

Now we all watch the economic crisis worsen. Many of us have watched the values of our houses or investments shrink; we feel less certain by the day that our jobs are secure. This time of year is typically the most active time of year at charitable organizations, but charities from the Salvation Army to The Red Cross are reporting that giving is off steeply this year.

Which is highly unfortunate, because this year the need is greater than ever. In most communities in America, food banks are serving record numbers of people. Around the globe, disasters, both natural and man-made, continue to make issues such as food scarcity and basic nutrition ongoing problems.

Any way you can help charities or community groups this year will be appreciated. If one of the things you want to give thanks for is The Fresh Loaf, please consider making a donation to Mercy Corps or a similar organization. Even a small donation, such as the purchase of an inexpensive Mercy Kit as an alternative to a traditional Christmas gift, helps fund programs for those who need them most.

Mercy Corps, obviously, isn't the only way to help, it is just the organization I know best and whose commitment to serve I can personally vouch for. Ringing bells for the Salvation Army, giving extra food to a local food bank, volunteering for Meal on Wheels, spending an afternoon at a local church or synagogue that feeds the homeless are all wonderful ways to help out. And while hunger is an ongoing problem that is of great concern to me, plenty of other institutions could use your support as well. The word on the street is that cultural institutions such as art museums, historical societies, and symphonies are seeing some of the worst drops in giving this year since they can't even make the case that supporting them helps ease the effects of the current economic downturn. But their closure would be a tragedy for the cities and communities we live in.

So please consider being as generous as you can afford to be this year. Take the time to think about ways your celebration of the holidays can make your community or the world a better place and don't forget to count your blessings.

For those folks who regularly support charities or volunteer their time, thank you so much for your support. Your gifts mean more than ever this year.

leemid's picture

As one who gives regularly to charitable institutions of my personal choice, and who is familiar, at least as a local news item, with Mercy Corps, I recommend giving as a way of life to those who have not yet learned the joys therein. As one who has also received of the generosity of others at times of crisis and need, it is appreciated more than the giver ever knows.

Unfortunately, I am losing my job at the end of this year, and my giving will entail no more than my usual weekly bread gifts. So what I can give, I give. May all of your lives be enriched this season and in the new year, and may you all prosper.

My best,


Floydm's picture

I'm sorry to hear that, Lee.  I suspect you are not alone among members here.  It has been a brutal year.

Well, again, let us count the blessing in our lives and hope for better luck (and a stronger economy) in '09.

ehanner's picture

I know most of us appreciate your efforts here and will be thankfull of your bringing Mercy's programs to our attention. I hope Mercy continues to draw the donations it needs.


GrapevineTXoldaccount's picture

Floyd.  I'm organizing a group of young women and men for a cupcake-cookie decorating party in two weeks. I've asked the kids to bring a canned good item for our local food bank.   There are so many people in need.  Anytime we can reach out and touch a life we find our own lives enriched beyond measure.

Blessings to all, and leemid, I'm thinking of you.  Peace.

Windischgirl's picture

Thank you, Floyd, for reminding us of all our blessings and how "rich" we really are.  Altho funds are tight in our family too, right now I do have time.  I volunteer at the Children's Hospital that saved my son's life nearly 6 yrs ago, and I have a trunkful of regifted toys (OK, I admit it!  New stuff from distant relatives that my kids never played with) that are going to the other children's hospital in town.

So you are right--if some of us listers are short on cash, maybe we can offer our time--preparing a meal at a soup kitchen or Ronald McDonald House or a local church, delivering items to needy families, even helping an elderly or ill neighbor by running errands or shoveling a walk. 

My favorite line from Mother Theresa is, "Maybe we cannot all do great things.  But we can all do small things with great love."

I think it's the 'great love' piece that makes all the difference.

Peace to all of you this holiday season,




gaaarp's picture

Floyd, thanks for this timely message, and for giving so generously of your time and resources not only to us here but especially to Mercy Corps.  As parents, it is so important to teach our kids to be charitable.  In doing so, we teach them that we, as humans, are all interconnected, that there are others in need, and, most importantly, that they can do something about it

There are few more important lessons we can impart on our children than this.

Happy holidays to you all.


"Be the change you want to see in the world."  - Gandhi

hanseata's picture

what charity should receive my year end donations.

It's really a shame how much money is wasted on political campaigns and mud slinging ads - we have our fair share here in Maine!


belfiore's picture

Floyd & all at TFL,

I can second your appeal for remembering charitable contributions. I'd like to add that a contribution doesn't have to be in hundreds or thousands to be valuable to those in need. Look at what Lance Armstrong has done with one dollar donations for yellow bracelets. Millions have been raised, one dollar at a time.

I have MS and tomorrow, because I can still walk, I will walk for those that can't & the money I raised will help fund the quest for a future without MS for us all.

So when you think that there are so many in need and what could you possibly do to make a difference, remember a single dollar can make the world a better place for someone. 

All of us "someone's" thank you for your generous hearts.