My lesson in everyday advocacy this week came from admitting I was wrong.
Here’s what happened:
Two weeks ago, we announced that Redbudsuds was sending soap as humanitarian relief for victims of the storms in Georgia. As quickly as we could, we designed* and printed* labels, got donations for little soap bags*, and assembled satchels* of our shower bars. We were so excited to be bringing our community together to help those in need...
...And then I talked with Tim Reichel, our local Red Cross Disaster Program Manager.
Turns out, the need simply wasn’t there.
Tim patiently explained that when a natural disaster occurs, the best way to donate to a specific disaster is with a financial contribution. That way, the funds can be quickly transmitted and used exactly where they’re needed most. Furthermore, there was no good way to physically get our soap from Ohio, down to Georgia, and in the hands of people that need them. In fact, these people were already being served by local relief efforts.
But we still wanted to help.
Together, Tim and I came up with a much better plan for a long-term partnership: supplying soap for Comfort Kits that go out people who have lost their homes due to fire in our local 4-county region.
Instead of helping with a single emergency, we could be part of their efforts as they respond to over 80,000 disasters a year - just in our region alone.
Without a moment’s hesitation, I agreed. Suddenly, all the soap trimmings that were sitting around my workshop would have a place to go. Not just this week, but forever. And now we established have personal connection so we know exactly who our donations are helping.
Together, we found a way to use resources at hand while building trust with our diverse neighbors, right where it can have the biggest impact. Beautiful.
But it meant swallowing my pride and taking the effort to let my people (including donation partners) know that our original plan, alhtough well-intentioned, was also ill-conceived. Not fun, but necessary to move forward.
So there you have it.
Changing course isn’t weakness; it is what gives light and love the freedom to heal.
It is precisely when we are open to change that we can truly work together for good.
Being an “everyday activist” doesn’t mean you have all the answers. It means when you see a need, you get to work and adjust as you go.
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So, I want to know...
Do you see yourself as an “everyday activist”? Was there a time when acknowledging you were wrong led to a better solution? When have you been able to collaborate to accomplish something you never would have been able to do on your own? #ShowYourGLOW and let us know in the comments below!
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Wondering more what Thoughtfully Clean Field Notes are all about? Read the the first post here.
Looking for more resources on how to help protect our planet? Check out last week's resource post and stay tuned for more this Thursday.
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*Special thanks to Stateline Bag Co, Caylie Grubbs Design, USA Quickprint and the students at Malone University for helping us with this project!
Small drops make an ocean; let’s make waves.