Reasons to Smile: People Who Are Making a Difference

The Ride to Beat Hunger, from Costa Mesa, CA to Vero Beach, FL

Right this very moment, my long-time friend the Reverend Scott Alexander, is bicycling through the range lands of Oklahoma on a trip from Pacific to Atlantic that has, so far, included grueling temperatures–both hot and cold–long ascents and descents over majestic mountains, raging thunderstorms, and distances of over a hundred miles a day.

Who does this, right?  Well, Scott, for one.  It’s not the first time he’s made the trip, but this time he decided that while he was cycling, he could also do something wonderful for the world, and The Ride to Beat Hunger was born. Along the way Scott hopes to raise tens of thousands of dollars to help the 925 million people in the world (yes, you read that correctly) who are hungry. TRTBH operates under the direction of the Indian River Community Foundation, and the two charitable beneficiaries will be Harvest Food and Outreach Center in Vero Beach, which distributes food to those in need of it, and the international charity Stop Hunger Now, which assembles meal packets to be delivered, primarily, to schools in regions stricken by hunger. On June 9, after Scott’s “splashy” arrival back in Vero Beach, Stop Hunger Now will arrive with a truckload of food supplies for the community to help assemble into meals for international distribution. Talk about bringing hunger home.

At the same time, while Scott is peddling across country, fellow author Brenda Novak is conducting her Annual Auction for the Cure of Diabetes.  Brenda, as the mother of a child with Type I diabetes, decided she couldn’t sit back and wait for a cure. In the seven years since Brenda decided to do something to benefit diabetes research, the auction has raised 1.3 million dollars! That’s right.  Not only is Brenda raising lots of money for an important cause, everyone who takes part has fun. There are so many fabulous items to bid on, including my own offering of my five quilt pattern books, an autographed copy of Sister’s Choice, and a $25 gift certificate to Connecting Threads to help you start your project. But there are many larger items, too, including wonderful vacations (how about a night at Nora Robert’s Boonsboro Inn), trips to London, Paris, Australia. Or meals with your favorite authors, critiques of manuscripts, hand-crafted delights?

Scott and Brenda don’t know each other, but their common link isn’t me, it’s seeing a need, and believing they can make a difference. They have chosen, through their efforts, to change the world. And they will. World hunger won’t mysteriously vanish in June when Scott finishes his ride, and a cure for diabetes won’t be found on May 31, when Brenda’s auction ends, but children will be fed, and researchers will receive more funding. Things will change for the better.

Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Brenda and Scott are proof of this, as are millions of other people who reach out, in whatever way that’s available to them. I’m proud to know them both.

If you’re interested in donating to either of these endeavors, click on the following links:

Donations for the Auction for the Cure of Diabetes (But for more fun, find something wonderful to bid on while you’re there.)

The Ride to Beat Hunger (Right now an anonymous benefactor is matching gifts dollar for dollar.)

We can make a difference, too, just through our support.


  1. Lynn Ross on May 8, 2012 at 9:49 am

    The dedication of people like this amaze and inspire me. God bless them and their work.

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