Weekend Meditation: The Bake Sale Response

No matter how tiny your droplet of help feels compared to the ocean of need, it's always better to do something rather than nothing at all. When the news of the earthquake in Haiti started to roll in last week, most people felt an impulse to help. To do something. But what? It basically boils down to time, talent and training. For a few of us, that means grabbing our med kits and taking the next plane south. For others, it's rolling up our sleeves and getting into the kitchen.

Introducing: The Bake Sale Response.

Holding a bake sale for disaster relief may seem futile to some, almost an indulgence. In the end, how much can you really contribute by selling a few platefuls of cookies and an apple pie? The answer, in my opinion, is a lot more than you think.

To begin with, the very act of doing something, no matter how small, is a step away from hopelessness and despair. And no matter where we stand in the concentric circles of support surrounding a difficult situation, we cannot afford hopelessness and despair. Difficult times require a whole range of responses, so never cut off your impulse to help because you think it won't make a difference because that, ultimately, is the worst indulgence of all.

Besides, you'd be surprised how much a bake sale can raise. Reports are rolling in that bake sales for Haiti are bring hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Samin Nosrat is organizing a multiple location event in the SF Bay Area, with a goal of raising $7500. Other bake sales are selling out completely, with customers handing over $20 bills for a few cookies and refusing the change.

Some of us have deep enough pockets to write a check to our relief organization of choice. And some of us don't have money to spare, but we do have time, energy, talent and lots of friends and contacts in our communities. Be it at your work place, church or temple, school or the busiest downtown corner you can find, engaging with each other in the act of charity is a powerful event.

In the end, a bake sale's greatest contribution isn't just the money raised, it's also the experience of community and the satisfaction that comes from joining together for a greater good. This takes us beyond the anonymous, individual act of writing a check and into a larger sense of belonging.

What grassroots efforts are you seeing in your communities this week? Visit yesterday's post on Bake Sales for Haiti for more information on a bake sale near you and other ways to contribute. In particular, check out the vegan bake sale efforts, now in fourteen cities and growing!

(Image: Dana Velden)