Thursday, November 24, 2011

What really matters.

A lot of the time I am blown away with the number of you who make Sometimes Sweet a daily stop, and it's amazing to me that you take the time out of your day to come here and share in my world. I often think though that with all of the readers and friends I have met over the past few years, there has to be something more I can do with this gift of an audience.

Outside of this bubble we live in, there is so much more going on in the world. It's easy to get caught up in your daily life and forget this- I know I am guilty of often having a one-track "me me me" mindset, and not looking or thinking outside of where I very comfortably sit. But one of my biggest goals for this next year (and now) is to make a difference, and that's where this blog comes in.

Today I'm going to be telling you all about my sweet friend Kristin and the work she is doing over in India. And in the months to come, I'll be sharing different charities, organizations, or individuals that I am personally familiar with that are doing amazing things. Sometimes it's hard for me to just send donations off- I wonder if the money is really going where they say it is, or I'm concerned about the way it's handled. I'm not sure if everyone is like that (maybe I'm just crazy), but if I can't physically help out myself, it's comforting to me to know the person who is, and to see the good they are doing with the donations.

My friend Kristin is a nurse and is currently living in India. She blogs daily about the work she does, and shares some of the most heart-wrenching, inspiring photos and stories. Here's a little bit from her:


"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others... That is a quote by M.K. Gandhi that I stumbled upon before my first trip to India back in February 2011. Fast forward to November and I can easily tell you that I have never understood what he meant more than I do right now. I am an American nurse living life in the biggest city in North East India, Guwahati. I walked away from my simple Californian life and moved to the state of Assam in May after participating in a one week mission with a NGO that repairs cleft lips and palates free of cost. I work full time (and then some) with them now as a nurse manager at a brand new cleft care center in Guwahati.



India is what we in 'developed' countries would call 'underdeveloped.' It teems with half built infrastructure,  animals, temples, greenery, trash, and people. Oh, the people. Or more specifically, the children. I feel like it took me some time to really open my eyes to what surrounded me and in true Indian fashion, what I saw was this twisted, heartbreaking beauty. There are children all over the streets of Guwahati, beautiful children. They are dirtied, half-clothed and hungry. For a longer time than I like to admit, I walked past these children and though my heart ached deep inside my chest, I did nothing. After weeks of planning, talking with friends, going back and forth and feeling discouraged, I made a decision. It was a basic one: I was going to feed the kids. I went down to the slums that first week scared, shaking and alone. I had made 20 meals and in under five minutes they were filling the bellies of 20 hungry children. It was clear, I had to keep this going. Now I am almost two months into this project that I call Asha Guwahati, and it is growing by the day. The goal of what I do is simple, I want to show the children of this slum and street community true love. I feed them without expectation of anything in return. I am still just one person orchestrating these feedings out of my kitchen. I currently make 50 meals at a time, one to two times per week. It takes me around three hours to make the food, and less than ten minutes to pass it out. Every feeding I have different friends come and help, everyone that helps gives of their time freely. Once a month we hold a street kids day where we bathe, trim hair, and cloth 20-30 kids. I am not changing the world as a whole but very certainly, very slowly, the whole world of each child we care for is changing.



Going to the slums is still scary and overwhelming. When the children see us coming with the baskets of food they run to us with this heartbreaking mix of panic and joy. They know I am there, they know that they will not go to bed hungry that night but they are scared that I will not have enough for them. I have many plans for this project but my goal will always remain simple. I know I can feed these kids, I know I can make the food and pass it out and I will do it as much as possible. I have totally lost myself in the service of the children of Assam, India. It means more to me than I could ever express that my friends like Danielle, all the way over in Arizona support me. If it means that much to me, I can not even begin to imagine how much it might mean to these children who have stolen my heart completely."
 
 

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If you visit Kristin's blog I guarantee that you will be moved, maybe to tears like I am, every time I read about her days in India. I urge you to read back in her posts- it's heartbreaking, but also so amazing that she is able to do what she is doing. So that's where we come in. I went back and forth about whether or not I felt comfortable asking you all to donate, but when it comes down to it, I can't think of a better way to assist Kristin in her efforts.



Here's how you can help:

make a donation to Kristin's project- Asha Guwahati. To feed a child one meal costs about 25 cents (and Kristin is working on getting this cost even lower). So even if you gave a dollar, you would be providing FOUR meals. Awesome, right? 

If you can donate anything, a quarter, 
a dollar, ten dollars, you can do so 
via paypal to ashaguwahati@gmail.com.

*Kristin also wanted me to let you know that she is one person developing this feeding project out of her kitchen, and every single rupee goes to the meals and the "street girls" day. She also wanted you to know that she isn't an NGO and therefore cannot offer receipts or letters verifying donations for tax refunds, etc. 

Outside of donating, you can follow Kristin's blog and support her via correspondance, comments, or even just saying hello and letting her know you're there, supporting her. You can also share her blog with others, share this post via Facebook or twitter, or you could even blog about it in our own space, and encourage your own friends and family to help out.

The neatest part about being a part of Kristin's growing project is that you will get to see your donation (whether it be monetary or even sharing her story, reading her blog etc.), come to life as you follow along on her journey. It's truly an amazing thing.

Thank you guys so very much for taking the time to read this. xoxo

31 comments:

  1. this is such a heartbreaking, yet true, occurrance. thank you for posting it and i will do my best to spread the word.

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  2. Now that is what makes this world so much better! taking the time to give back. Thank you Danielle for another great post and you can guaranteed I will be stopping by her blog and giving something back too.

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  3. This is such a heartwarming story and yet its heardbreaking at the same time. Its amazing that someone would want to do this for people they don't even know to give them a better life.
    I'll be stopping by her blog to say hello. Thank you Danielle for sharing this with us!

    <3 Jenn
    jenn-mcclure.blogspot.com

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  4. Hi Danielle, I always read your blog but haven't commented till now... what an incredible woman, doing something so simple for her yet so massively changing for those around her. Congrats on sharing her story, I'll be sure to pop on over to her blog.

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  5. I adore Kirsten's blog and I just think she is the most wonderful person! I am so pleased that you are using your popularity to help raise awareness for her project. I tell everyone I know about her blog, it's just so inspiring.

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  6. Wow, I rarely comment, but this was such a great post! I am loving reading her blog!

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  7. What a wonderful, touching post, and Kirsten is doing an amazing thing, actively helping children in India. I've not heard of her blog before but I am checking it out now, and I'm trying to cut back on spending but I donated too.xo

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  8. i love kristin's blog. she is such an inspiration to me!

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  9. This is an incredibly touching story, thanks for sharing on Thanksgiving, she sounds like an amazing woman :)

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  10. so inspiring. but so so sad.

    that's amazing that she does that for those kids..

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  11. What an inspiration, she's so amazing!
    Thank you for sharing, I definitely think people are going to be a lot more thankful after hearing this story.

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  12. I love this girl and I love this whole entire thing. I'm donating right now <3

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  13. What an incredible woman and incredible vision. I will be donating for sure, no doubt about it, and spreading this to others. I often feel the same about donating, it is hard not knowing where the money is actually going, but I find comfort and peace in giving to this cause because I know every cent is going exactly where it should, into the bellies of children who need it.

    Thank you for sharing this and for using your blog as a platform for change.

    -Sara-

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  14. I can't think of a better thing to do on this Thanksgiving morning than to donate to Kristin and her work. Thank you so much for sharing her story and for incorporating this idea into your blog. You really are one of the good guys, Danielle. Happy thanksgiving to you and yours.

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  15. *totally crying here*
    I am so glad you posted this today. I've been putting off any thanksgiving meal stuff because I feel guilty that we can just splurge on a huge fancy meal whenever we want while some people are simply trying to figure out how to go to bed on any given day without being totally hungry. I've been trying to figure out how we could instead spend our money on thanksgiving or who we could feed instead, but like you said I'm very hesitant about donating money because, for me, I'm not very trusting that it will go where it needs.

    So now I know how we are giving back to the people of our planet today on Thanksgiving.

    Thanks and I really think that using your blog to do good like this is an incredibely beautiful thing.

    xoxo, Elisabeth

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  16. This is such a great thing do be doing, and so great you bring this up to all of your many readers! I am also so so amazed of Kristins work and willpower.

    My way of giving actually usually goes for the animals. Heres a post i did recently on what small things you can be doing for the animals nearby where you live.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    http://ohmahgad.blogspot.com/2011/10/boo-boo-kitty.html

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  17. oh, this is amazing. I think it's so great that you posted this. Isn't this what blogs should be for!! :)

    bottleblack.blogspot.com

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  18. Gorgeus person! I'm really touched of what she's doing.

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  19. oh wow, this is so inspiring!! I admire everyone who puts time, effort and their heart into helping others. if more people did this, the world would be a much better place than it is right now. I'm impressed by this amazing lady!

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  20. I read Kristin's blog and she is amazing!!

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  21. Whoa! I had NO idea you two knew each other- it's a small blogging world hehe :) I am a huge fan of Kristin's blog, and have been for some time. I've been wanting to go to India to volunteer foe quite some time now, so I basically live vicariously through her on her blog. Her posts are SO inspiring- great jot Kristin :)

    And Danielle, so awesome that you're sharing this! I love that you use your blog to share these things with your readers. Great post.

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  22. this is amazing! consider myself a new follower of Kristin's blog. i am very active in my community and love to help in a "hands on" way. i love seeing others reach out in any way they can. truly amazing and touching.

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  23. So great for you to bring attention to this amazing girl and her amazing mission. Happy Thanksgiving love, and thanks for this!

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  24. danielle,

    thanks so much for using your blog as a platform for helping others. kristin's blog is amazing and i appreciate all the hard work she is doing! i stopped by to leave a comment and sent a little donation along.

    <3 chelsea

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  25. this is amazing. thank you so much for sharing kristin's blog and story! i just donated the little bit of cash i had in my paypal, and will definitely be donating more when i can. what an amazing soul - this just warms my heart!! xo.

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  26. Thank you so much for posting this and telling us about Kristin. It's so inspiring (and a little intimidating?) to see what one person did with just a little time and money. It's so tempting to say, "Well, I won't be solving the hunger problem in India alone," and walk away, but she didn't, and those kids will never forget her.

    I read all the time but just had to comment today and thank you :)

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  27. Beautiful story, and woman. Hope my little donation helps!!

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  28. I will make a small donation, and stumbled and shared this. Great work Kristen, and thanks for sharing this Danielle.

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  29. Danielle - I just love you. So awesome that so many people will see this.
    I adore Kristin and her amazing heart. Every time I read her stories, I end up in tears. Wish I could fly over and help myself. How cool that so many people will get to help in such a neat way now.
    <3

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  30. Thank you for posting this. Online networking does such amazing things, and now you've opened the eyes of many of your readers. I can't wait to see the upcoming posts! <3

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  31. Thanks for the inspiration! I`ve never thougt but in spite of my age (26!) I`m gonna get a medical education, coz I realize I WANT to help people! Kristin is great!

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