"What Drives Us to Do the Right Thing?"
You know them. Those catchy, time-limited, straight-forward and eminently practical calls for food or clothing, bandages or books. We call them "drives," and often they're just what's needed to drive us to do the right thing without missing a beat in our daily lives. Napa Valley CanDo has two remarkable drives in the offing, one in December and one in January.
Feed hungry families throughout the Valley. While the holidays are times of celebration for most of us, hunger never takes a holiday. Even before Napa Valley CanDo had a name, we initiated a drive for the Napa Valley Food Bank. In this community of plenty, no one should be hungry. According to its director, Shirley King, the Food Bank's Emergency Pantries alone serve over 1000 families each month. Home-bound elders receive food through the Senior Brown Bag program. And nearly 15,000 Valley residents received food through the Food Bank last year.
Soles4Souls (S4S) - Helping others stand a little taller. Since its inception following the devastating tsunami in 2004, Soles4Souls (www.soles4souls.org) has distributed nearly 12 million pairs of new and gently used shoes, half in the U.S. and half overseas. The collected shoes are repaired, refurbished, re-laced and sanitized. Then, wherever the world has come undone, after Katrina, in Haiti, or in communities across the United States where kids sometimes stay home rather than go to school barefoot, S4S sends shoes along with staffers and teams of volunteers to fit people one-on-one. The shoes help recipients ward off debilitating and sometimes deadly parasites, navigate through the rubble without cutting their feet, find their self-respect, or perhaps get ready for their first job interview.
The driving force in this effort are kids! Students from Napa's middle schools will help lead the way through "The Green Teens" leadership program as we shoot for 10,000 pairs of shoes. High schools will be collecting shoes, too, as will Scouts. As for adults, have a faith-based or social group you'd like to get involved? We'd love to visit and share the Soles4Souls story or send you talking points. Have a site for a collection box? Get us the address and we'll get you a box!
Gather your gently used shoes -- all those shoes you could wear, but don't -- and put a rubber band around them. All shoes are appreciated, from flip-flops to heels, running shoes to wingtips. Then watch in January for Napa Valley CanDo/Soles4Souls boxes to spring up all over the valley.
This winter - drives are what drive us!
This column, by Hilary Zunin, first appeared in the December/January 2010/11 issue of Napa Valley Life magazine. www.napavalleylifemagazine.com