Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Heifer Int'l Turns Hunger Into Hope

Providing the Milk of Human Kindness

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

You've probably heard that proverb. It comes from the writings of 12th Century Sephardic Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides, a rabbi, physician and Torah Scholar.
Today, Maimonides' proverb is one of the underlying principles of Heifer International, the non-profit organization whose mission is "to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth." 


Heifer International, based in Little Rock, Arkansas, doesn't just give food or money to people in need. It provides them with farm animals, tools and education so that they can become self-sustaining, feeding themselves and their communities and creating basic industries on which to build. 

With Earth Day recently putting the focus on protecting the Earth's vital resources of land, water and air, SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel think now is the perfect time to focus on one more vital resource - man...and the development of each person's health, well-being and potential.

For Heifer International, that began with one cow named Faith...and the milk it provided.  

Founded by Dan West, an Ohio farmer who served as an aid worker during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), Heifer International came about when West realized that it wasn't enough to give hungry refugee children a single cup of milk.
What they really needed was a cow. Then they could have milk every day.

West turned his idea into a reality in 1944 and the first three cows that were donated were named, "Faith," "Hope," and "Charity."

To keep the momentum going and "pass on the gift," the recipient families had to promise that they would donate the first female calf born to another poor family - a practice of giving forward that continues to this day.

Since then Heifer International has grown into a worldwide organization that provides needy families in rural villages with cows, chickens, bees, and a host of other animals...fish, pigs, goats, sheep, cattle, oxen, water buffaloes, llamas, alpacas, camels, frogs and rabbits.


This gives villagers both food to eat and a source of income - milk, eggs, honey, and more that can be traded or sold at market.

Heifer International also shows people how to practice sustainable farming techniques and develop crops that are suited to their local regions.  

In addition to individual donations, Heifer International's work is made possible by partners such as Danone, Foundacion Coca-Cola, Pepsico Foundation, Keurig Green Mountain, Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, Starbucks, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, WalMart, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and others.

SurfWriter Girl Patti and her husband Greg Kishel were excited to hear from Heifer International this week that their donation went toward sending goats to Nepal as part of the Empowering Women Farmers in Nepal project. The goal is to help 138,000 Nepalese families increase their income to more than $2,000 a year by raising the goats and selling the milk.    

To date, Heifer International has worked in 125 countries and helped 25 million families lift themselves out of hunger and poverty.

When it comes to ending world hunger, it turns out:

 Milk does a community good.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Earth Day 2016 – Renewing Earth

The Sustainable Life

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

On Earth Day, April 22, we are reminded that we are all stewards of the Earth. With today's world population of more than 7 billion people it's more important than ever to live a sustainable life protecting Earth's vital resources of land, water and air.

English botanist Sir Albert Howard (1873-1947) was one of the first to recognize the importance of safeguarding the nutrients in soil, stating, "The health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible."

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel learned that Howard described the soil as being "Earth's capital" and, in order for future generations to live a life of prosperity, it is essential to manage and invest this capital well.

A proponent of organic farming, composting, and ecology as a way of nurturing the land, Howard's views on sustainability are even more relevant today.

More than ever, now is the time to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. And, in so doing, Renew.

SurfWriter Girls are glad to see that many businesses and individuals are making sustainability a high priority. 

New company Süga, Encinitas, CA, practices sustainability by manufacturing premium quality yoga mats made in the USA from 100% recycled wetsuits. 

Surfer and yoga practitioner Brian Shields wanted to create a product that reflected his interests while reducing his environmental footprint. What's more, Süga yoga mats can be recycled at the end of their useful life.
Another SoCal company that gives new life to old products is Harveys, Santa Ana, which makes handbags from recycled seat belts.

Founder Dana Harvey got the idea when he was restoring his classic 1950s Buick and decided to make his wife Melanie a handbag out of the leftover seat belt materials.
Well-known shoe brand Timberland puts sustainability at the core of its culture, stating, "We’re dedicated to developing products and materials that have reduced environmental impact."

Its Earthkeepers shoes and boots are made with recycled plastic bottles in the shoes' soles and have become its fastest-growing product line. Along the way,Timberland has kept 128 million plastic bottles out of landfills.
And next time you're planning a party or picnic, Repurpose in Los Angeles is ready with all the plates, cups and utensils – made from renewable, plant-based materials.

Founder Lauren Gropper wanted to create an everyday product that could impact millions of people. Her products are now carried at Whole Foods, Ralphs, Sprouts and other stores.

The list of companies focused on sustainability is growing. And customers are showing their loyalty. It turns out that embracing the sustainable life is good for business, for people and for the planet.

Not to be left out, in June Coca-Cola unveiled the world's first "plastic" bottle that's 100% made from sugarcane. The new bottle meets Coca-Cola's long-held goal to create packaging that uses "responsibly sourced, plant-based materials."

On Earth Day 2016 SurfWriter Girls think that's definitely something for the world to sing about.


Please post your comment below. Comments will appear the next day.

Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.