Garbage Day

Over the past three days I attended two showings of a musical called Back in the Boondocks. It was put on by the CrossRoad UMC Arts Academy. The premise of the story is that of a family living in Louisiana. It details their struggles with relationships, alcoholism, friendship, death and faith. Musically the backdrop is solely Country with songs by the likes of Miranda Lambert (Kerosene), Joe Nichols (The Shape I’m In), The Band Perry (If I Die Young), Craig Morgan (Bonfire) and Little Big Town (Boondocks).

As someone who is not a big Country Music fan (yet I feel I am becoming a very selective one as each day passes), and a seasoned agnostic, the existential message disclosed by the production was something to which anyone could relate. For me it was summed up simply as this: we should not be looking for happiness, we should be looking for peace. This production was sharing how that could be found in Christianity and the crowds who I saw it with grasped that to thunderous applause. I saw the message as expanding beyond any one faith or belief system. Encountering, as well all surely have, individuals who do not hold the same life view as we and he who are at peace it serves not to remind us that we are necessarily wrong in our beliefs but that maybe we have gotten a bit off track.

There is one character who loses her farm after her brother signs it over to her seemingly ex-husband in good faith. Then there is that same brother who struggles with returning to Nashville in an effort to revive a successful singing career which he walked away from when his wife died in a tour bus accident. Amidst the messages of forgiveness and repentance I was more hit by the problem of attachment. Of holding on too tightly to something for fear of being without it. Such a crime assumes that beyond the now is not any better. How can we be so arrogant and naive?

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What is Change-Can

It started like this…

1. Buy a can of soup.

2. Cook the soup.

3. Eat the soup.

4. Clean the can.

5. Start collecting change in the can.

6. Once filled up, donate the money to your favorite charity.

Something so simple, right? Maybe not original but it was new to me when my good friend Chris Gandy pitched it to his Philosophy class. It inspired me so much I decided to run with the idea and expand upon. Seeing the double entendre¬† to the phrase “Change Can”, I expressed to Chris a plan by which we could generate some type of grass roots charitable organization\group which serves to look for areas that we can change.

Chris was already in the throes of  his own good works efforts and my speaking up was simply a confirmation that he might be on to something. I personally have been wanting to do something with him for years as graduate school and work had pulled him from Jacksonville, FL to other parts of America (he now resides in Silk Hope, NC).

The birthing process is not yet complete but we are not short on targets. Food pantries are a shared love so our initial focus is there. However, since coaching youth football I have always wanted to start a Pop Warner Scholarship fund that would pay registration for at least one child.

Through the feedback of friends we have been able to find simple areas of need such as helping a local Rotary Club or assisting at the USO. It is not a matter of being part of the organization, but simply finding a need and volunteering time. People do it every day but some might be oblivious to how easy it is to take a few hours out of a Saturday or Sunday.

I know I personally am a bit ignorant as to what is out there outside my little tidal pool, along with how to actually manage a charitable group.

Another gem of an idea from Chris is what you will find below. I am copying from the Change-Can site he created ( It exemplifies the idea of using something small to generate change. Or as my friend Greg Stritch stated – Don’t try to cover too many dots. You empty stretching yourself too thin and you end up covering none at all.

I ask anyone who reads, follows or participates for patience. Chris and I are both learning as we go. Our goal is to earn the trust of those who will donate money. Beyond that we hope Change-Can will become a lifestyle that others will drive in their own towns. A penny, nickel, dime, quarter or dollar at a time. A day picking up trash, gathering fruit that might go to waste or simply taking away someone’s sense of being alone.

Change can also be sharing tips on starting a garden, home repair or fitness. Apathy is our enemy. You decide, is it going to change for the worse or for the better?

For our first official initiative, here’s what we’re proposing. I have 142 friends on Facebook, and I’m guessing that each my friends has at least the same number of friends. You do the math, but that’s just over 20,000 people, and they have friends, etc. Let’s see if we can get everyone to donate $1 for a charitable cause. Even if only 10% responded, that’s $2000, which is a significant amount and could do a lot of good.

The second part of this proposal requires an act of faith on everyone’s part, as I would like everyone to send us $1 in the mail by a certain date – let’s say one month from tomorrow (August 13). At that time, we’ll take the money to the bank, have a cashier’s check issued, and mail the donation to our charity – courtesy of the Change Can group. We’ll keep detailed records, provide receipts for the individual donations, notify everyone when the donation has been made and provide copies of all documentation. Of course, everyone could make a $1 donation online to the same charity, saving a stamp and envelope in the process, but we like the tangibility of letters and the impact of one large donation.

Please forward this note to all of your friends (think of it as spam with nothing but the best of intentions). We appreciate your support. Let’s do something good.

c/o Chris Gandy and Brian Fullford

PO Box 303, Pittsboro, NC 27312