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It’s this simple…a chance to make a difference in the lives of many refugees.  I grew up being taught to help others.  My grandparents always had people from other nations in their home.  The dinner table was like an international peace summit.  You never knew who would be there and you were almost disappointed when you showed up for dinner and it was only family, and you weren’t meeting new people from exciting places.  The difference, though, in that situation and the one that my high school friend Geoff Gordon and his friend Keith Cooper are involved in – the people at my grandparent’s dinner table were here to visit or on a mission trip or to go to school.  They either paid for the trip or someone paid their way and later they would go home to a land where they “fit in” and spoke their native language.

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Geoff and Keith started a revolution.  They are changing the world (or at least Providence, RI) one refugee at a time.  And by doing that they are also changing one community at a time.  Their hearts {and the passion they have for this program} are bigger than the state of Rhode Island.  When they first started out they were known as The Providence Granola Project.  As of Jan 1, 2013 the Granola Project has transferred ownership to Beautiful Day, a non-profit that shares its mission and seeks to expand its scope.

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And with Keith’s permission I am sharing with you the e-mail I received…

As you may know, we are launching a granola bar. These Beautiful Bars are all-natural, gluten-free, no-GMO’s, locally-sourced, unique, and terrifically delicious. After months developing a recipe that we think tastes better than any others out there, we’re proud of how good they are.

We are ready and equipped with our new pans, new packaging, new labels and new gluten-free oats. Our prototypes should be in the mail at the end of this week.

As you also know, the reason we’re so serious about taste and quality, is that we’re serious about our mission to provide an onramp into the job market for refugees. The only reason gotten as far as we have is because so many of you have been buying our granola and nearly 50 of you contributed generously to our launch campaign on Indiegogo.

We would love your help as we continue this campaign. We’ve set a goal of $20,000, which will cover all our launch expenses including training new refugee staff and developing a training curriculum. Even more important than the funding, the campaign provides a huge opportunity to make a connection with our work. Every time someone visits our campaign and spends 3 minutes watching our video, they get an introduction to the importance and challenges of refugee resettlement.

The “crowdfunding” approach may be new to some of you. Essentially it works through lavish communication–the tweets, the likes, the shares. A lot of people are inspired and feel committed to our mission.  Not all of them have money to contribute and not everyone likes granola.  But many know people who might really want to know about our mission.

Please understand that this is NOT a plea for those of you who have already given to give more. Or for those on a really tight budget to feel like they need to give. We mainly want your connections with anyone who might be interested in refugees. So far the campaign has had about 1000 views.  We love to have ten times that within the next 3 weeks. If you could take a few minutes and re-post the campaign on your facebook page or, better yet, use the email function within the campaign to send a notice to a few friends, this would be a great help to us.  In a world of mass marketing emails, these kinds of personal invitations go a long way. And please encourage them to re-post or re-email the information.

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Last night we had our first ever company cookout with employees, board members, volunteers and their families.  We had a threat of rain and almost cancelled, but it turned out to be a beautiful evening in so many ways.  Even though some of us could only communicate a few words in a shared language, sharing a meal felt like a way to express our appreciation and support for each other.  And watching the children simply leap frog over language and cultural barriers within a few seconds as if they are inconsequential was an inspiring picture of our mission in action.

As always, many, many thanks.

Keith Cooper
Beautiful Day

 

As you know…I love to help people.  And if it were a perfect world I’d be able to fix any problem anyone is faced with, but it is not a perfect world and therefore I reach out to you for help on behalf of this great mission!  It really does take just one thought, one person, one action to cause a huge change in the world.  Be the change you wish to see in the world.  Please leave your comments and let us know what you think of the mission these guys are on.  If you have ideas to help – we’d love to hear that do.  And, if you order some granola / granola bars let us know what kind.  Share the love! (P.S. – I’ve ordered a monthly granola subscription for my father in the past.  Great, original gift idea)

~heather