August 14, 2010

A Day at the Sunland/Tijunga Watermelon Festival

A BIG thanks goes to Evan Sobel, Elizabeth Gervase and Jessica Hooks, who worked so hard in the heat and dust and blaring music of the Sunland/Tijunga Watermelon Festival on Saturday, August 14, 2010.  We raised $375, and while that doesn’t sound like much, it was quite an accomplishment, given the demographics of the people who attended.  We did make connections with several groups and churches that have funded projects in the developing world and we will follow up for speaking engagements.  Elizabeth’s focus was to try to get some schools to take up our cause and she got a couple interested in doing that.

The majority of the people who attended were from the low end of the income scale and many who liked our cause were sad that they did not even have $10 to contribute for a set of bracelets.  One woman, moved by what we’re doing, had $10 and her choice was to eat or give it to us.  She thought about it for a few moments and I said, “Go eat…if you want to send us $10 later, you can do that.”  Some gave us the few dollars they had.  They could relate to people in need and wanted to help.

There was also a strong sense of community at the Fair.  Everyone got free watermelon and a lot was consumed!  Other vendors and reps of causes came by and were also interested in helping us as we were interested in their causes.  The church booth next to us was selling a week’s worth of food for a family of four, valued at $75, for only $30 and people were signing up.

Spending time there put us in touch with the reality of what our country is going through. Evan said that he didn’t feel like we were in Los Angeles.  There were a number of people who brought loved ones in wheelchairs, a lot of special needs people being taken out by their families.  One woman, upon reading the insert in the necklace, started to cry.  She had recently left a homeless shelter after suffering physical abuse from her husband and had just gotten her child back.  She was working with her father selling jewelry and was proud that she has turned her life around.  When she read the words that come with our necklace, tears welled up, turning to sobs.  She could relate to words praising the strength and flexibility of women.

This day filled our spirits to see how generous people can be with so little.

The best way to end this is with “Blessings.” We were “blessed” by a lot of people for our work and that felt good.


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