“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” – Dale Carnegie
I live in a farming community.
Southeastern Pennsylvania is a land of gently rolling green hills planted in corn, soy, barley, and yes, still some tobacco. “Bucolic” is a good word to describe the countryside.
Farms around here are mostly family-owned and postage-stamp-sized, unlike the behemoth wheat farms of the Midwest.
Dairy farms are the most common but orchards, hog farms, goat farms, and truck farms (farms that raise produce for sale at the market) also dot the land. And egg farms.
In the county just to our north, an egg farmer, Josh Zimmerman, used to sell his eggs in bulk to school cafeterias, cruise ships, restaurants, and hotels. In fact, Zimmerman had an 80,000-hen cage-free flock producing approximately 60,000 eggs every day.
Look at the first sentence in the last paragraph.
You understand the problem.
Cruise ships, schools, hotels, and restaurants have mostly been closed, but the hens kept producing eggs, as hens do.
Because he typically sold his eggs in liquid form, Zimmerman did not have the proper equipment to wash, sort, and box his eggs for sale to grocery stores.
Zimmerman stored the liquid eggs in the freezer as long as he could, hoping for a miracle, but when his storage space ran out, he knew he had to begin slaughtering his hens, an emotionally and financially devastating proposition.
And that’s when the miracle occurred.
It came in the form of Timi Bauscher, owner of a nearby farm market selling dairy products and eggs.
Bauscher offered to sell Zimmerman’s eggs at $10 for a five-dozen flat. Not a bad price for fresh, cage-free eggs.
Zimmerman was skeptical. The market was tiny, but Bauscher was determined and she knew how to use social media.
She posted Zimmerman’s plight on Facebook and Instagram. Her post soon went viral. On the first day of the egg sale, traffic snarled and the egg sale soon had to relocate to a bigger venue.
Withing a week, with help from volunteers, mostly girl scouts and some local women, she sold 18,000 dozen eggs. That number has now risen to between 22,000 and 25,000 dozen eggs per week. Her typical sales before the partnership were around 80 dozen.
Some customers buy the eggs for personal consumption and some donate the flats of eggs to local food pantries.
It’s a win for everyone involved, especially the chickens.
When six-year-old Allison Winn developed childhood cancer, she named it “The Stink Bug” because she wanted to crush it.
After enduring the suffering, pain, chemo, and “just plain awfulness” associated with her disease, she adopted a puppy, Coco, from the Prison-Trained K-9 Companion Program as a friend to help her through some rough times.
When she got better, she realized other children going through a similar ordeal could benefit from canine companionship too so she set to work selling homemade dog treats and lemonade to raise money.
She eventually raised enough cash to adopt a black Lab for a child with a brain tumor.
Now, 10 years and hundreds of adoptions later, the Stink Bug Project is still pairing rescued dogs with seriously ill children free of charge.
The name of the original black Lab? Lucky Bug.
Coincidence? You decide.
The point of the stories is this: one person can make a difference.
One person’s acts of bravery, kindness, and compassion matter. One person’s example can produce ripples that keep spreading long after the original act has been forgotten.
It doesn’t have to be big; it can be a minor act of caring, courage, or generosity. Make some face masks and distribute them, volunteer to help students around the world practice their English, check on your neighbors, especially if they are elderly, donate some pizzas to your local police department, put a box of (sealed) goodies next to your front door and encourage delivery people to help themselves, gift someone toilet paper, heck, post a positive inspirational message on social media rather than something divisive.
In the words of Timi Bauscher, “You have to remember if you’re not doing things in your life that give you goosebumps, you’re doing it wrong.”
What can you do today to give yourself some goosebumps?
You can find the places I link up here.