A Dollar...

The ripples of even the smallest gesture can reach miles. Help others in an expression of gratitude. Consider giving a dollar for every
>birthday of a loved one
>weekend that brings rest
>day of good health
>100 miles your car runs
>pay check
>time you eat out
>year of your child's life
>year you've had a pet

When you send us your dollars, tell us what they represent so we can share it with others.

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From the Executive Director


Small Talk to Big Gestures

Last week I was sitting next to a stranger, in a room full of more strangers, waiting for a meeting to begin. And like all well-mannered, American-cultured people, the stranger and I exchanged names and proceeded to engage in small talk which in some weird way turned from volunteerism to garlic. Yes, garlic. Matt began to tell me about his annual project--He plants 5000 heads of garlic; nurtures, cultivates, and harvests them; hangs them to dry; and then gives them to friends and soup kitchens.
Intrigued and somewhat floored by Matt's unique hobby, I had nothing left in my pocket of small talk except to say I like garlic and often pickle it. This led to him telling me about his wife's role in Project Garlic--She pickles garlic as gifts for others!
I'm sure I would have learned of other fascinating ways Matt and his wife are involved in their community had it not been time for the meeting to begin. At the end of the meeting, Matt and I exchanged the usual, expected pleasantries, said we'd trade samples of pickled garlic sometime, and said goodbye.
We've all had such encounters--We meet people we find interesting or with whom we have so much in common. When we part, we make a mental note of following up, keeping in touch, blah blah blah. Then life catches by with us, and we don't email let alone share our pickled garlic. I didn't expect this encounter to be any different.
But then, today, guess who stopped by? And guess what he brought for me? Matt and the jar of pickled garlic remind me of how little effort it takes to be a person of compassion, purpose, and good will. In that one gesture, Matt did what all human beings are capable of, but what only a few take the time to do. He flipped from stranger to friend. 



Underwear Akin to Loaves and Fish

It was about two weeks before Christmas when Interra's board of directors heard of the children's underwear drive at the Christ Unity Church in Medford (see previous blog). Looking for a way to help this project without violating our bylaws which restrict funds to projects outside of the US, we decided to make this our group's personal project. None of us were prepared, so when we dug into our pockets and purses, we came up with a total of $102.

The designated shopper of underwear, I shared my project with a colleague as I was leaving for the store. The project got his attention, and he offered to match the $102! Excited to have double the donations, I began looking for deals in the children's department. And there was a sale--buy one pack, get the second at half price. That another $50 worth of underwear to the pot!

The girl at the checkout was, of course, very curious about the mountain of underwear I had just deposited on the counter. When I told her that the underwear was a Christmas project for the underprivileged and homeless in our town, she reached under her side of the counter and produced coupons. Strategically, she separated the underwear into four purchases and applied a credit of $80. So off I went to buy even more underwear!

And that's how $102 miraculously more than tripled itself into an awesome deal on underwear.


Christmas Wish of an Unusual Kind

I know I spend way too much time on Facebook and Twitter. But once in a while, when I discover something like this, I don't feel so guilty about the wasted time.

You cannot watch this church's appeal and not feel compelled to make someone's Christmas wish come true.


Our First Rummage Sale

Even though it was a hot summer day, the participation of local board members* and supporters** made our first rummage sale a success. More rewarding than watching our little cash box fill up to a total of $347.50 was the feedback from customers when they learned about Interra. 

One particular customer's reaction was especially meaningful. Throughout the day she passed us several times, eyeing up the things for sale. Towards the end of the day, she returned with a few crumpled dollar bills in her hand. While she browsed our wares, I noticed her worn tennis shoes, her old, out-of-style cotton dress with a tear under her harm. Plain and simple, she looked just as worn as her attire. At the back of my mind, I planned to throw in a few extra things for free. But instead, it was she who surprised me.

Her purchase totalled $2; she gave me three dollars and insisted that I keep it. "I have so much more than some others," she said. "It's good to know that my dollar will be useful somewhere to someone." Nothing else can describe better the spirit of Interra. 

* Board members who helped: Gaby Fernandez, Roy Kline, Robin Lovelace, Wes Minton, Joe Savino, Cynthia Ward

** Other supporters: Jake Allen, Martha Carrilo, Terri Fagan, Rogelio Fernandez, Seth and Kathy Hofstetter, Patty and Ted Hubbert, Dennis Ingram, Janessa Ingram, Shari Jackson, Ginnie Kim, Sky Kline, John Mayben, Medford Radiological Group, April Oleson, Veronica Sagert, Sarah Stuki, Don and Elaine Turcke


Vacation With the Maasai 

Unique vacations always make the summer memorable. We just heard from Global Village Ministries about a great adventure this July--a trip to Southern Kenya to live among the Maasai people!

Whether you want to do paper work or drill teeth or cook meals for the team, it will be a trip you'll never forget. While you are part of a medical and dental camp, you will have the awesome once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go on some of the world's best safaris. And you want even more adventure, you can tack on three additional days to your trip and climb Mt. Kenya!

The dates are July 14-28, 2010. Global Village Ministries takes care of all of the details. If you are interested, go to their website or contact us for an application form.