I enocourage you all to please support this wonderful idea my friend Brandt came up with, you can participate from wherever you are.
Written By Brandt Russo
I have an idea for a campaign. I have always been fascinated with taking waste and turning it into life (dumpstering discarded food to feed the hungry, using vegetable oil for fuel, taking trash and turning it into art, etc). I feel like this idea can be replicated (and has been) because we will never run out of spare change.
Statistically, the majority of the dying world lives off of under 2 dollars a day while the average american range is usually between 25-40 dollars a day. Our consumption rate is also off the charts. Do you realize that only 8% of the world actually owns an automobile? Its amazing the things we take for granted, such as clean water, while 85,000 children die annually of diarrhea (something we americans make jokes about; “when you’re sitting in a chevy, and you feel something heavy…” well you know where im going with this).
When I went through ‘Operation Starvation’ (http://operationstarvation.tumblr.com/), I realized that children were so much more eager to give, because they were convinced that the little they had would ACTUALLY change a child’s life. Many of them would count the change in their pockets, and at 1.7 cents a deworming pill, viewed those coins as medicine that would save a child’s life. Unlike adults who think the problem is far too large, turning enthusiasm into apathy. Its not that we don’t want things to change, but don’t see our loose change making an impact. Its interesting how Jesus mentioned, time and time again, how we have to be found faithful with the little we have before God would grant us more. To be a people who would leave the 99 healthy in pursuit of that one in distress, yet we are always out to conqueror the largest of social problems internationally while stepping over our very own (without homes and basic needs) in our backyards.
My first objective is to raise $10,000 for a downpayment on a house in Central City, New Orleans “most violent” neighborhood. The area’s recent history is deep rooted in violence and is notorious for its high murder rate. The area is where New Orleans rap labels Cash Money Records & No Limit Records started.
In mid-2006, the area became considered the most dangerous part of the city, in terms of murders and crime activity, and was the major reason for the June decision to deploy the Louisiana National Guard to the city so that NOPD officers could focus on the ‘crime hotspots’, such as this area. In 2007 the neighborhood had a murder rate of 316 per 100,000. The problem with high rates of violent crime continues, fueling its poverty, drop out rates, prostitution, abortions, and so on.
I have ministered in and around Central City off and on for over two years, and feel its time to go all in and dedicate a house to the Lord to be used for His work. We are going to call our little experiment in neighborly love, “The Embrace Community”.
We look to eventually offer after-school tutoring for neighborhood kids, a food bank, free clothes closet, community bike shop and free library, organic vegetable gardening, weekly dinners, emergency shelter, lodging for homeless friends, etc.
Basically, what im proposing is that we begin to collect our loose change (to give it all away in ways that will produce change in the world). If you believe in this vision and want to be a part of the Loose Change campaign, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with (loose change request) in the subject bar and I will email you everything you need so that you can display at your church/small group (or you could give online – http://brandt.chipin.com/the-embrace-community). You don’t have to collect change to give to “The Embrace Community”, but I urge you to listen to your heart, find a cause, and share the idea that the little that we usually dismiss as worthless could sustain human life in most of the world.
I read an article recently suggested the average American family has $100 in spare change lying around their house. Through organizations like CharityWater, a fresh water well could be drilled for around $5,000 providing clean water for years to come. There are so many opportunities that await. Experiments like this change outlooks and have the ability to restore faith. Find something you care about, learn the facts, share your heart and start collecting loose change. Give fiercely, and rest assured that God will multiply anything given.
In the words of Shane Claiborne, “The great paradox and humor of God’s audacious power: a stuttering prophet will be the voice of God, a barren old lady will become the mother of a nation, a shepherd boy will become their king, and a homeless baby will lead them home.” God is in the business of using things the world views as devoid of value to change the face of this earth. Lets start today.
Written By Brandt Russo