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Gopher Gulch: Finding a way to act locally and truly help

The joys of living in a small community become even more apparent this time of year. A week ago I opened the paper to see Jewel, age 7 and somewhat short of front teeth, passing out plates at the community dinner. Her pride and happiness shone like a light. Bless the parents who teach their children to give.

I once had a bumper sticker that read, “THINK GLOBALLY — ACT LOCALLY,” something that becomes easier every day. I took it to mean realize we’re all one community, then help where you can nearby. With the technology available, the children of today will find geography no hurdle to involvement.

Our helping dollars, like all the rest of our money, are stretched out like worn bungee cords, and we all balance our giving the best we can. I’ve always hungered to pull it together, to spend very limited resources in a manner that benefits both locally and globally. Something that captures my heart as well as my money. I’ve found it.

These days my favorite way to pull it all together has become Carolyn Dike’s group, Team Redwood, that goes to Haiti. Virtually all of us know at least one person involved with the crew, making it a local as well as a global issue. They come home with haunted eyes and tell of a translator named Marco who is raising 30 orphans and is grateful when he can feed them a single meal a day. Some days he can’t.

There are no social programs in Haiti — no food stamps, no WIC. All the children have worms, which steal the nourishment from what little food they get. Last month the team members wormed every child at the three orphanages they have adopted, and were able to leave vitamins, beans and rice for nearly a year. They tended injuries, illness and birth defects. They came home with hearts so full of the passionate desire to help that it flowed over onto those of us who know them.

The team of medical people and other community members with skills and stamina first went to Haiti to help after a devastating earthquake two years ago. Team members arrived to find utter chaos and dying babies. One thing led to another, and the single planned visit became the adoption of orphanages. Crew members pay their own way and every donated dollar directly aids the children.

I want to be part of this. I can’t go there, but I can go to Coast Central Credit Union or North Valley Bank a few times a year. I can even donate on its brand new, not really ready for viewing, web page, teamredwood.org.

I look at those eyes, those babies, and then I look at my friend Carolyn, and I know I’ve found a way that I can pull it together, to think globally and act locally. I highly recommend finding something that fills you with the passionate desire to help, and share it with your kids.

Reach Inez Castor, a longtime Triplicate columnist, at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


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