Mutual Aid vs Charity
I’ve been thinking about this a lot. The difference between Mutual Aid and Charity and if what we’re doing with our REALITY BITES falls more into one category or the other. I’m leaning more towards Mutual Aid these days. I’ve seen Mutual Aid described as, “Cooperation for the sake of the common good, getting people to come together to meet each other’s needs, recognizing that as humans, our survival is dependent on one another.” Isn’t that what we’re all doing here with the REALITY BITES? Sure, the bites are made in the Singing Bowl Granola kitchen, but each one of you is playing such an important role by providing funding for them. Like me, you recognize the pervasive need for nourishment among the growing population of under-waged and unhoused members of our community. Rather than each of us acting as individuals trying to provide solutions, we have pooled our resources, teamed up with front line workers, and provided nourishment where it is most needed. As humans, our survival and our success really are dependent on one another.
I’ve also been thinking a lot about the power of kindness. There are numerous studies proving that acts of kindness benefit everyone involved - the giver and the receiver and, of course, they also have far-reaching ripple effects. Yeah sure, our REALITY BITES are loaded with nutritious ingredients, but the main ingredient is definitely kindness. Every dollar you spend on REALITY BITES is a buck of kindness. The fact that the bites were created specifically to meet the needs of the hungry is an act of kindness that, according to Amy from See Spring outreach, resulted in some recipients being “so touched and often brought to tears that members of their community cared for them in this way.” Let’s be honest, not everyone recognizes that unsheltered people, people living with addiction or mental illness or extreme poverty require massive doses of kindness to get through each day. That’s why the recipients are so grateful for the kindness and care that we are offering through the REALITY BITES.
Re-writing the narrative
Coming from a family of writers, I firmly believe that we can and should change the narrative of our world. We are bombarded daily with stories of a world that is hateful, cruel, and individualistic, yet everywhere I look there is an abundance of goodness. There are neighbours, friends, families, and complete strangers doing what they can to care for each other. Yes, REALITY BITES were created to nourish the hungry in our community, but they were also created because I believe that most of us are deeply concerned about the suffering around us and we want to be able to help. My amazing customer Cassie sent this insight that sums it up beautifully, “And I think how you’re doing this is really a wonderful way to make connections between people in the community - those that are housed and those that aren’t. And it’s a really different reality. Great that you’re giving us an opportunity to better share your delicious Bites with people who might really need them and also enjoy them.”
I’ve got to admit, that I was a victim of the doom & gloom story and I was sinking into the pit of despair when my lovely, no-BS friend hit me with some tough love that made me accept that I can’t single-handedly solve the problem of poverty and homeless (thanks, Diane!). That’s when I changed the narrative in my head to one of abundance and generosity. There’s no doubt about it, one government after another has failed to care for their citizens, but it is awe inspiring to see how so many individuals consistently come together to make up for these governmental short comings. I am so grateful for how my community shows support and care for those in need.
Hunger is a continuous issue
Since launching the REALITY BITES on November 20th 2022, thanks to you, we have donated 422 cups to be distributed by our friends at The Rainbow Kitchen, See Spring Coalition and Peers. The bites have been received with much gratitude, but as you know, the hunger continues on a daily basis, so I will continue to encourage folk to help keep this program going, nourishing our community. February is considered the month of love, so throughout the month, I’m going to send some extra love to our unhoused neighbours. For every $50.00 you spend on REALITY BITES, I will add 2 cups to your donation.
One more quote from Amy who is in the parks every single day helping our most vulnerable neighbours, “For those of us sitting in solidarity with those outdoors suffering through innumerable challenges to have something like REALITY BITES with us brings a community offering of comfort and real time help all perfectly delivered in a cup thanks to the Singing Bowl Granola community.”
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