You are more than you know… You have personal power! We all have the ability and are meant to make a positive difference in the world! The problem with too many of us, is that we don’t believe the great good that just one person can do and the difference that just one personal can make! Too many believe that they have no personal power when the truth is that our personal power is a innate gift from God!
I hope you will enjoy today’s story! It comes from the book Stone Soup for the World
The Power of an Idea by Jeb Bush and Brian Yablonski
One Sunday morning in the spring of 1993, eleven-year-old David Levitt read “The Power of an Idea” in Parade magazine. The story was about Stan Curtis, a Kentucky man who had founded a network of volunteers to transport donated food to hungry people. The program was called Harvest USA, with over eighty chapters across the nation. David was so intrigued, particularly by their motto “Feeding The Hungry Without Money,” that he paid a visit to another food organization, the local Tampa Bay Harvest.
The president gave him all kinds of information about Stan Curtis’ food donor program called “Operation Food for Thought” in Louisville, where donated leftovers from school cafeterias goes to the hungry. Why couldn’t he create a similar program in his school so that leftover food could feed the homeless in local soup kitchens?
The sixth-grader first approached his school principal with his idea, but was told that there were probably government regulations that would prevent a program like this from getting off the ground. Even his new friends at Tampa Bay Harvest told him that several people had made similar proposals to the Pinellas County School Board only to be defeated. Nevertheless, David was not discouraged.
Over the next few weeks, David collected facts, figures, and success stories from Tampa Bay Harvest and Operation Food for Thought. He researched Florida’s laws regarding food donations. He wrote a proposal, made eight copies of it, and personally delivered it to the superintendent and all seven members of the Pinellas County School Board.
While at the school board office, David asked to see the meeting room. Photographs of the board members were hanging on the walls, and as he looked at them he wondered how an eleven-year-old would be able to sway these powerful people when so many before him had failed. What if he called each of them individually to share his idea? He got the phone numbers of each of the board members, personally called each one, and asked their response to his idea. No one had ever taken the time to do this before and the school board members were really impressed with David’s determination.
David’s twelfth birthday was a big one. He found himself standing before the Pinellas County School Board in the very room he had been awed by only weeks before. His persistence and hard work had paid off. The school board unanimously approved his plan! David smiled in victory. “It just took a kid to help them see that this matters,” he said.
Five months went by, however, and the program had still not been implemented. David was getting impatient. Food was being wasted and people were going hungry. David called the president of Tampa Bay Harvest to see what needed to be done. It turned out that they needed airtight containers to ship the food, and since the school system’s budget had no money to purchase them, Tampa Bay Harvest was responsible for buying the containers. But they didn’t even have a bank account, let alone the money.
David set out on a quest for the containers. A visit to his local supermarket got him the addresses of companies that made containers. He then sent letters to every company he could find. Publix Super Market, Inc. was the first to help. They sent him a one-hundred dollar gift certificate to buy containers. He was making progress, but it wasn’t nearly enough. Next, David received a letter from an executive at First Brands Company, maker of Glad Lock bags. They were so impressed with David’s project that they sent him eight cases of storage bags and later committed to providing an ongoing supply. David was delighted.
Now the program was finally ready to begin. It had taken just about a year from the time David had gotten approval from the school board for the first school lunch to find its way to the hungry. At first, ten schools donated their leftover lunches to soup kitchens and local shelters. Today one hundred and five school in Pinellas County send their leftover lunches to the volunteer transportation network – over 234,000 pounds of food in two years!
Now, fifteen-year-old David wonders, “Can you imagine how much food there would be for the homeless if every food server throughout the U.S. participated in food donation programs?” Now he’s lobbying the Florida legislature to get his program to go statewide. When David tells others about his experience, he says, “Kids can make a difference, and adults will take the time to listen to kids.”
David’s always looking for creative ways to get more food to the homeless. At his bar mitzvah, he asked guests to bring canned foods for Tampa Bay Harvest and, as a result, collected over five hundred pounds of food. “The most important thing I’ve learned is how good it makes you feel when you do something to help others,” David said in his bar mitzvah speech. “Working with the Harvest program has made me a better person.” He adds, “I want to champion causes like this as long as I live.”
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