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This fundraiser ended on 05/13/12

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Please help me make 2012 the year we all helped bring light to a family's life.

As I approached my fiftieth year on this big, blue marble rocketing around the sun, all of the things that have happened in my forty-ninth year had me thinking some fairly serious thoughts about life and death, and what I’d hoped to contribute to the world around me by the time I reached this milestone in my life.

I decided that what I wanted to do to celebrate the joy of living for fifty years on this beautiful planet we call home is…to give something of significance to someone less fortunate than myself.

Y’all know me. I’m not rich. I’ve got a kid in college and another on his way out into the world, the usual assortment of mortgage and bills, and finances can be a bit of a challenge at times. But I’ve still got way more than some folks…and it makes me feel good to help when and where I can.

In 2011, my friend (and teacher) Judi Hendricks traveled out to Pine Ridge, South Dakota to help build a natural home built of reused shipping pallets for a family living out of a tent on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. (A place where winter nights can reach -50 and summer days can soar to three digits without a wisp of shade, much less air conditioning.) It’s brutal.

The reservation is a place of serious poverty. Obscenely poor living conditions and unemployment has swept the reservation for over a century, a direct result of the cultural annihilation of the Oglala Lakota. A branch of my family hails from South Dakota; it’s a place where I’ve always felt a strong spiritual draw.

The issues of poverty and suicide and despair out there are too big to address all of a piece; so I decided to go in the opposite direction and go small. I’m going to let the Lakota (and God) take care of the Big Picture; I’ve adopted this one family. I did what I could last year to send along blankets and sheets and towels and jackets, all of which were presented to the family and much appreciated. This year Caleb and I are going to accompany Judi out to the rez for a week and plant an orchard for Alison and Walter.

I’d like to do more. That’s where you come in.

I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I don’t want for anything and at this point in my life, there isn’t much that I need in the material sense. If you can help, I would appreciate it tremendously, as would Walter & Alison.

$200 will buy a load of firewood come winter to heat their home. $150 will buy a swarm of honeybees to populate the hive we’re going to build the family this summer. If Judi and her friend Ryan and I can scrape $1600 together, we can get electricity run to this family’s little 30’ x 30’ cob house.

Imagine having spent last winter without a single light. Without a fridge. Without TV or radio or a laptop. Without a washing machine, or a clothes dryer. Imagine washing your sheets in a bucket outside in December and drying them on the clothesline—because that’s all you have. No running water. No plumbing. Just an outhouse.

These are the conditions these folks are living in TODAY—in 2012. Now imagine helping bring electricity to this home. I can imagine it—and the thought makes me very, very happy.

As Ryan and Judi have said, “One person can't raise a roof but fifty people can.” 50 people donating $32 apiece or 75 donating $22 would make this gift possible. I get all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it. (I know! Me! Warm and fuzzy! Imagine!)

I’d like to look back and think, “Oh, yeah—2012. That was the year I helped bring light to a family’s life. It was a good year.”

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