So much of what we see on the news every day is so negative. I love seeing stories that are more positive - I look for them. I seek out stories with a sense of fairness and justice. We need more of those stories. We need inspiration.
Every night before I go to bed I eat a carton of Chobani yogurt. It tastes great and it's high in protein. Mother often eats it for lunch. We buy about 12 cartons of Chobani a week. I love this story: At Chobani, Now It's Not Just the Yogurt That's Rich.
If you don't want to read the whole thing, here's the main point:
"Hamdi Ulukaya, the Turkish immigrant who founded Chobani in 2005, told workers at the company’s plant here in upstate New York that he would be giving them shares worth up to 10 percent of the company when it goes public or is sold. The goal, he said, is to pass along the wealth they have helped build in the decade since the company started. Chobani is now widely considered to be worth several billion dollars."
The employees who have been at Chobani the longest will get the biggest payouts. Oftentimes when a smaller company is sold the person who founded the company makes out like a bandit, but the workers are left in the dust. Not so for Chobani.
I've worked for big companies whose CEOs were billionaires, while the people who worked hard to keep the company profitable could barely pay their bills. Is that fair? No. I'm not in favor of socialism or communism - I've seen the results of that firsthand. It doesn't work. However, when the inequality of earnings is so stark and unfair as it is at many big companies here, there needs to be a change of some kind.
It's not only about fairness, though. Doing what's right instead of what's easy often pays off in the long run.
I have a cousin who started working at a small company as a secretary when she got out of high school. The owner of the company recognized her intelligence and promoted her, even though she had not gone to college. Skip ahead 20 years. The owner died and the small company - which was still small but now highly profitable - did something extraordinary. He didn't have children to leave the company to, so he left it to his employees. My cousin, who worked there her entire adult life, kept the company thriving and profitable after the original owner died. She retired not too long ago, very comfortably. That's an example of the kind of thinking we need more of in this country.
I remember seeing a story on TV years ago about a Japanese car company that gave out ownership interests to its employees. Once they became vested owners, they worked harder and were happier, and the company thrived.
I also love this story: French supermarkets must now donate all unsold food to charity. France is a country that cares deeply about good food, and I love that about it. Now it's mandatory for grocery stores to not waste food. How cool is that?!
Grocery stores throw away tons of food every day here in the USA, and yet there are thousands of hungry people. That bizarre dichotomy is just disturbing to me. If you want to read the sad facts, check out the website Hunger in America. Many people have "food insecurity" in our country. That's just ridiculous, since grocery stores are throwing out food DAILY.
I watched an episode of one of my favorite shows, Bizarre Foods, and this episode, Dumpster Diving in San Francisco, was fascinating. These two young women get food from dumpsters that's perfectly good, perfectly edible, and "cook it for anyone in need."
Why can't that happen everywhere?!?
The Atlanta Community Food Bank is always in need of donations. Why can't they go to Kroger or Publix and get the food that's being thrown out every day? If I were hungry and had no resources I wouldn't mind eating an overripe banana, or some vegetable soup. Once you throw everything in the soup pot and bring it to a boil for a few minutes you've killed any germs.
Maybe my feelings are this come from the fact that when my son was small, he often went hungry.
Here's a little story about how that still impacts him today.
I put compost in my garden over the winter, and much to my shock, I am now growing potatoes. I would never have even tried to grow potatoes. Michael and I were outside yesterday and I pointed out the potato plants, which are numerous and thriving, just grown from peelings. "I've picked potatoes before, in Kazakhstan," he said quietly. "When you were with your birthmom?" I asked. "I don't know. I just remember picking them. I don't remember details," he said quietly. It was clearly not a memory he treasured, but rather something sad. I know when he was with his birthmom they were often homeless and hungry. He refuses to eat a banana now unless it's so unripe it's green. She would get bananas from the trash and feed them to him when he was small.
The effects of hunger last a long time, physically and emotionally.
When you walk into an orphanage and look into the faces of kids who aren't fed well, and know that many of them are only there because their parents cannot afford to feed them, it changes you. It gives you an incredible sense of the fragility of life.
If you know a similar story to these, drop me a comment and let me know. I really want to spread positive stories, and encourage folks to think about justice and fairness - in employment, in food situations - in everything. My dad used to always said to me "Life isn't fair. Better get used to it."
Well I got used to it, but I still don't like it.
Why can't each of us try, in our own small way, to make the world a better place? Maybe if we do that, it will become a reality. Worth a try, right?!
Here's one way you can help. My friend Stephanie, has adopted 13 kids, all special needs. Her son Nate would love a special therapeutic bike. Nate was severely abused in an orphanage before Stephanie and Warren adopted him. He is nonverbal and has huge challenges. This bike would be such a blessing. Check out their Go Fund Me page and help if you can. Thanks!