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The Loaf Lady Cometh

As I shared with you last week, dear readers, in my post, Beware the Great Pumpkin, I was personally inspired by the challenge given at the leadership conference of the not-for-profit organization I work for; for each of the 250 leaders in attendance, to raise $500 for our global ministries to children with disabilities, over the next year.

Susan, who was at the same conference, started talking after cell group about things that we could do to raise the money, such as putting a coffee machine in the church and donating the proceeds. After she left, I kept thinking about what I could do and one thing led to another and I ended up with 18 loaves of pumpkin nut loaf at the end of a weekend of frenzied baking.

We had a meeting of our district team the following week, and I had no shame--I brought my loaves--and they sold rapidly at $5 each. My coworker Iris told me that I should not be in charge of selling them, I should be charging more, but I couldn't bring myself to do that. Susan bought the last two loaves and told me to put them in the freezer for managers meetings, but the next day I went to another meeting and took them, along with another loaf from the freezer and resold them, planning to replace them with chocolate zucchini bread on the weekend. I ended up with $110 by the end of the week!

My friend and co-worker, Terry, was at my Friday meeting and when I told her I was heading back into the kitchen on Saturday, she asked, "Did you discuss this with Paul?" and added solemnly, "you know, our actions affect other people," (she had obviously read my last pumpkin post.)

Undeterred, I hauled out from the freezer some of my bags of zucchini to thaw on Saturday. They sat, resplendent in their light and dark green stripiness, while I again began the measuring sifting and beating together the ingredients of the moist and delicious chocolate zucchini loaves. It is very yummy. I'm not a chocolate lover, but even I enjoy this loaf. I ended up with 12 loaves (and there are still 2 more bags of zucchini in the freezer!)

The fact that I spend so much time in meetings suddenly seemed like a huge marketing opportunity, so on Monday morning I took 6 of my loaves with me to work, planning to thrust them upon anyone I met at the two meetings for that day--I was getting deja vu, thinking of my Amish Friendship Bread of a few months ago. I didn't have to work too hard at selling this batch either. My friend Irene, who loves chocolate zucchini bread, said, "How many have you got? and then, "I'll take 5 for $50.00!" She was also carrying a slow cooker full of spicy and delicious chili for the office lunchroom--for a donation. She donated the proceeds of her chili that lunchtime to my loaf fund. Can you believe it--I have $235.00 in my loaf envelope already?

Last night, Sue was here painting the cupboard doors in the loft room (which is almost completely organized now,) so, feeling too guilty to relax, I was tidying up another room downstairs. I took something out to the garage and what did I find? There sitting on a shelf--Brenda's discarded pumpkins--two of them.

In they came. I decided that I would chop them up and boil them instead of baking them. An hour or so later I had enough pureed pumpkin for another 9 loaves. I'm considering them "gold for global."

Yesterday as I was driving to work, I was listening to a CBC radio program about the UN meeting in Rome to discuss world hunger. They interviewed a couple of people who have experienced real hunger: a woman from China and a man from Sudan who had been one of the so called, "lost boys of Sudan." They described an experience I cannot begin to imagine: real hunger. The woman spoke about her anxiety as a child, when she would constantly check the rice barrel to see how much rice was left. Towards the end of the month she would know that in a few days they would get their next ration of rice and would relax a little. If the rice ran short, her mother would add more water.

She told of being given a coupon to buy one egg for her father who was in frail health. She was instructed to carry the precious egg home cupped in both hands, so that she wouldn't drop it. When she eventually came to Canada as an adult, she found it almost impossible to comprehend that here we can buy eggs by the dozen.

It's all a matter of perspective. People go hungry in Canada too, we know that all too well, but in general, we have so much in comparison to the rest of the world. It feels like a great blessing to turn some of our abundance into something delicious that people will buy and enjoy, and thereby help in a small way. And I am determined to cut our generous food budget and thereby save more to help. I am convinced that it is the cumulative affect of many small things, each of us using our individual gifts and abilities that will make a great difference in the world.

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