Reflections on 15 Years of Giving and Caring

Sometimes, I wake up in the morning and wonder if the world has gotten better or worse. Lately, I lean towards the latter. With so many people in so many countries suffering from war, displacement, distrust, and a myriad of natural disasters that are often the result of climate change, it seems the world and its people are confronted with challenges that have not been faced since possibly the days of World War II. With all this spinning around in my head, it would be easy to pull up the covers, stay in my warm and safe home, and simply seek some peace from much of the hate that seems to be the focus of the news and present state of affairs. Of course, the question that comes to mind when I begin to feel this way is how can I think of doing nothing, and at the same time, how can just one person possibly make a positive difference in this world? Luckily when I hear myself going down this path, I remember the story of the starfish. You may have heard it. It goes like this:

An old man was taking an early morning walk on the beach. One day, after a storm, he saw a human figure in the distance moving like a dancer. As he came closer, he saw that it was a young woman, and she was not dancing but was reaching down to the sand, picking up a starfish, and throwing it into the ocean.

“Young lady,” he asked, “Why are you throwing the starfish into the ocean?”

“The sun is up, and the tide is going out, and if I do not throw them back in the sea, they will die.”

“But young lady, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it? You cannot possibly make a difference.”

The young woman listened politely, paused and then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it past the breaking waves, saying, “It makes a difference for that one.”

Yes, as the young woman said, “it makes a difference for that one,” and maybe that’s all we can ask of ourselves. For it would be hard, if not impossible, for one person to cure all the ills in the world. Instead, all that is required of any of us is for everyone to do their share, whether that is helping one person, one family, or one community, and isn’t that what makes for a meaningful life? It is our combined efforts that will change the world for the better, so instead of being overwhelmed by all the needs of the world, take satisfaction in doing just one good thing each day. It is the way we approach the world at TFI, and over the past 15 years, it has been those small good things that have helped support some 69 projects and initiatives in 15 countries all over the world which have helped make better lives for thousands of the world’s poor, particularly women and children. Here are some examples of programs and initiatives you have helped support since we began our work.

The above list of programs and initiatives is just a sample of much of the work that we have funded over the past 15 years. For a full list, including the story of TFI, please feel free to request one of our anniversary books to see what we have all been able to accomplish together. (See below.)

Next year TFI will be examining our history, what we have done well and what we learned, and will begin the process of making plans for the future. Of course, we do hope to continue our work in helping others next year and beyond. It will take a group effort to continue to raise the funds we give to others in need, continue to seek new communities and programs to help, and continue to stay close to our mission and in the process, work to make this world a better place.

So as we approach the end of our 15th year of operation, we very much hope that those who have helped us in the past will continue to do so as we try to build a reserve fund to create some stability for TFI, as well as add some additional board members who have the time and capacity to help provide for so many of the world’s forgotten.

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