WHY IT MATTERS
By John Berry
There is a story that is often told by those within the human services ‘world’. It goes like this:
One day long ago there was a huge fire in a jungle that was limb by limb, animal by animal, destroying what was once lush, green, and alive. All the animals were fleeing for their lives out of the path of the fire – elephants, lions, monkeys, and birds – all except for one bird. A tiny hummingbird was flying down to a river within the jungle, then back up to the sky, flying down to the river then back up. And he kept doing that for some time. As an elephant was hurrying out of the jungle, he noticed this hummingbird doing this strange activity. He stopped for a moment and noticed that the hummingbird was actually wetting his wings once he got to the river then flying up over the fire and flapping the water-soaked wings with the hope of putting out the fire. The elephant went over to the hummingbird and inquired as to why he even bothered with such activity. The hummingbird quickly replied, “I’m doing what I can to put this fire out. If the rest of you would only do the same, we could save this jungle.”
I think that some days we all feel like that little hummingbird. We see the tremendous need and the growing poverty and we look at what we are doing and we might ask ourselves if we are truly making a difference.
Years ago I was at a presentation by Sir Bob Geldof, the former Irish rock star who created Live Aid and become a world leader in Philanthropy, especially as it relates to Africa. He made a statement that I think sums up why all of us do what we do; even when we can’t see the immediate impact. He said that after all the years and all the work and all the money people still asked him if it was worth it and if he’s made a difference. His answer was that if one person, just one person, was saved from death or suffering than yes – it was worth it. Because, he added, who can place a value on life?
At St. Vincent de Paul Georgia the work we do matters and we make a difference. The numbers are staggering when you look at them; over $14.0 million in support to people in need here in Georgia. Last year more than 129,000 people helped. Big numbers, big impact.
But, what matters most is that we ‘Change Lives…One at a Time”. Each of our 5000 + volunteers and our thousands of benefactors and supporters change one life, one at a time. So like that hummingbird in the jungle we continue the effort each day and we do what we can – confident that others will do their part and that together we will save this jungle, and make life better for all people here in Georgia and around the world.