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making a difference

Venezuelan Aid

FEB 22, 2019 – At physical therapy for my torn Achilles tendon (that is mending well, thanks) I happened to overhear another patient say that his wife is a flight attendant whose route is Miami/Caracas. Because our CAO, Ana, has parents and siblings and one especially beloved young nephew living in Venezuela, I immediately tuned in to what Mark was saying.

“At first, Debra and her crewmates took canned dog food for the poor, emaciated detection dogs that search the planes in Caracas,” he told us, “until they realized the ground crews there were eating the dog food themselves out of desperation.” Can you imagine living on the equivalent of four US dollars a month as those workers must, he posed to us. $4 a month. And even if other members of your family make more money, there is no food to buy.

Whether it was what Mark had said, or the concerned, compassionate way in which he’d said it, everyone listening tried to wrap our heads around the increasingly harsh reality of life in Venezuela. “So now the flight attendants take bags of dry food for the canine units,” he explained, “and right before they board in Miami, they buy as many hamburgers as they can carry to feed the ground crews and their families when they land.” Wow.

At this point in Mark’s story, my late mom came to mind. I could see her sending me off to college with a crisp $100 bill and the advice to “Always keep one hidden away in your wallet in case of emergency, or to use as ‘mad money’ as opportunities arise.” I found the hidden $100 that has come and gone many times now, and handed it to Mark to please give to the wife he so clearly admires. He looked at the money, then at me, and whooped, “100 more burgers, right here!”

That was this past Monday. Wednesday I received a text from a number I didn’t know, with the pics you see below. “It’s Mark from Care Plus. My wife Debra sent these photos so you’d know that the dogs were fed, then the balance of the money was given to five families. We just wanted you to know you have really helped a lot of people caught in the middle.”

Amazing. This busy man committed to the greater good took the time and went to the effort of asking the physical therapist for my number so He could acknowledge Me?!? Just as Mark surely guessed it would be, it was very gratifying for me to see that something big had come from my small donation. As you know as well as I, doing good feels good in and of itself; to learn of the difference you’ve made — that feels really, really good.

Mark’s acknowledgment made me think of our gorgeous new Pretty Words card, the “Never Underestimate the Difference You Make” design you see above, and I promptly ordered a dozen to send to those who enrich my life. And that made me think, “Hmm, maybe we can do some real good here.” If you care to join me, this weekend take a few minutes to list all the Marks and Debras you know, and maybe include those you admire from afar — the tender-hearted and seemingly tireless folk who keep fighting the good fights for us all. Then add all the unsung heroes who make your life sweeter, simpler, better. If you’ll order cards with which to acknowledge them, we’ll send half the money you spend before March 8th to Debra to support her crew’s efforts. (While there are established relief funds supporting the Venezuelan people until life turns around for them, we like knowing exactly where money goes when it flows through Mark and Debra Campbell’s hands.)

Needless to say, we are blessed to be Americans. Or maybe I should revise that to, “Let us say many times throughout every day, we are blessed to be Americans.”

~ jodee stevens
founder & chief creative
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