Pennies for Partnerships- Food Drive Launched

It was a glorious day in Bodhgaya, India on Republic Day January 26, 2011 as the first of the Pennies for Partnerships food drive was successfully distributed. A total of 13 homes received a 55 pound bag of rice. These are Indian families living in destitute poverty. The families live in makeshift homes constructed from mud and straw; they live without electricity and running water. These are some of the millions of people who live on less than a $1.00 a day in our world.

The food drive brought many smiles and great thanks from the families who received     a surprise visit just after sunset. We quietly walked into their homes with a greeting of     “Namaste”. Thanks to Om, our partnered social worker the message was delivered to  the people that we were bearing the gift of rice. There was amazing gratitude given  with thanks “Danyabad” along with smiles, outreach with hand holding, hugs and even tears.

The team of distributors consisted of Om (Indian social worker), Shannwaz (shop keeper), Marilyn and Chris from Ohio (who overheard the initial conversation with Om and became actively involved as contributors and distributors), as well as myself and the laborer of whom I do not have the name.

The pictures say a thousand words and the last 3 bags that were distributed were the most amazing but also the most difficult. The reason they were the most touching was because these families had disabilities such as blindness, and deformities due to polio. It became very difficult in the end as the word had spread and people from neighboring streets were coming and pleading for assistance. Obviously there is a huge need and not all people can be reached by such a small outreach project but we can only do our best to try to touch lives.

For those of you who are not aware in India the Caste system is still very strong in some places and the state of Bihar I am told the caste system is very much a part of everyday life here. The people we reached out to yesterday are of the lowest caste which means they are discriminated against and are regarded as the “untouchables”. This means their lives are limited for opportunity and poverty is often the only way of life they will ever have. I was told the people of the higher caste are taught to not have pity on them and the people of the lower caste are taught to not have envy for those who are of the upper class.

The opportunity to reach out and touch them with love and kindness, offering the gift of holding hands, hugs, and sitting with them for a photograph is something that not only deeply touches my life, I believe Chris and Marilyn’s life but also those who received the gift of love, compassion and generosity from Pennies for Partnerships.

Thank you for making this gift possible not only for those who received but for all of us who feel the joy of giving. There are still so many people who might be able to benefit from your generosity and gift of compassion. If you are still interested in giving this project is one that can be continued in communities throughout India. We will do an additional distribution today from the donations that came during the last day. Fortunately we will be distributing a little more than the same amount as yesterday which is wonderful because there were so many families in the very close area that were left out. This will let them know they are not forgotten.

May no man, woman or child be hungry in a world of plenty and may we care for our brothers and sisters of the world.

To contribute please e-mail me directly and all contributions are welcome and appreciated. It only takes a little to make a major impact. Bag of rice cost only $14.20

Thank you!!!!!



In India – Pennies for Partnerships Begins Again

My journey has begun. I departed Fayetteville, AR on Jan 11th on a 10:30 flight to Newark, NJ where my cousin Denise met me and we visited in the airport for about an hour in a half. Thanks to her gift of trail mix I sustained myself during the Dalai Lama teachings as it was so busy with approximately 40,000 people it was a little hectic to leave during the lunch. Also I was so lucky because my flight departed just as the storm moved in and according to Denise the airport was closed shortly after my flight took off; she indicated my flight might have been the last flight out that night. This is good because had my flight been delayed I might have missed the flight in India which took me to the Dalai Lama teachings in Sarnath, which is the location of the first teaching of Buddha. The teachings were awesome to be in the pilgrimage of all the Tibetans and my first day started in the best way possible. The Dalai Lama gave a special audience early that first morning I was there for all the foreigners; couldn’t have gotten any better. So I gave a shout out Hello from Arkansas in preparation for his journey to the U of A. Also, I had such an incredible experience due to Geshe Dorjee taking care of me by connecting me with a young monk who went above and beyond to assist me with everything. Sonam, Geshe’s student met me at the airport which was nice because I had not slept at all and had been traveling for about 40+ hours. I was completely disoriented arriving in Varanasi. Sonam was my angel. He found a room for me with a professor at the University and the accommodations could not have been better. “True Indian hospitality!” Then when I departed on the night bus to Bodhgaya Sonam saw me off. The day after I left Sarnath Sonam sent me a text message to tell me I was on the front page of the paper in an article of the Dalai Lama teachings. I am excited to see as I was not able to get the paper here in Bodhgaya. Sonam has saved some copied from what I understand which is awesome because there were no cameras allowed in the teachings. Below is a photo of my two angels in Sarnath.

So the experience at the Dalai Lama teachings was really something to to see. So many people working together to make it happen in a small place with few accommodations. So I met one very nice monk from South India and he showed me where the 6,000+ monks were staying. They built a tent city which each tent had several hundred monks sleeping on the cold ground.



Of course there was the magic of spirituality surrounding the entire town with most all people there to pay homage to the historical site of the Buddha’s first teachings of the Four Noble Truths.

Now I am in Bodhgaya which is where Buddha gained enlightenment. I have been enjoying my quiet time but honestly I was exhausted and got a little sick from the travels. Feeling better today. So I was going to head to the beach and hangout for a month but instead I am thinking of remaining here in Bodhgaya for some time that way I can connect with the community. Bihar is the state and from my understanding it is the poorest state in India. I am living among the beggars camp which surrounds the house I am staying at. My room is nice but I do walk by the mud and straw huts to get to anything. I am considering a way to do something for the community while I am here for a few weeks and want to do a food drive for the Indians. The people in this camp do not harass me for money when I walk by and they greet me with smiles. The children are the ones I feel so much compassion for. They know no different as well their parents may not either. They live with so little and I wonder sometimes how they find their food to eat. I see them digging in the ditches in the garbage and it breaks my heart. The last three days I took 1 young Indian boy who were on the streets trying to find a way to make a buck and had lunch with them. One young boy told me how his dream is to be a doctor, another told me he thought one man from France was going to come back to get him and give him a better life. I am so happy to know that these children have dreams and I hope they find that dreams come true. Meanwhile there are those who I am not certain if they get a meal everyday. I spoke with a local social worker who assured me that this group in the community is truly in need and is not the group of beggars that travel around to different areas during the high season to make money. So here is a glimpse into their life  and the community in which needs a little outreach.

Other visits to India the Pennies for Partnership participants have donated money for different projects in the Tibetan community. This time I would like to do something (small as it might be) for the beggars who live in the neighborhood and who I encounter in the daily. If you are interested in donating to the cause here are the details:

For a 25 kilogram bag of Rice it costs 625 rupees: this translates to approximately

$14.00 for 55 pounds of rice. Can you imagine how much 1 – 55 pound bag of rice would mean to a very poor family? For a family of five this could sustain them for approximately 2 weeks or a little longer.

Please if you are interested e-mail me directly at and I will provide the details as to how you can donate.

100% of ALL donations will be given to the beggar community through the purchase of rice which I have located a social worker to assist with the logistics.

May there be NO HUNGER among our brother and sisters of the world.

Please if you have the ability to donate even the smallest amount can contribute to a bag of rice which would help those who often go without food in a day. This is an independent mission as we have done in the past for Pennies for Partnerships to contribute to one of the poorest areas in India. This is strictly a gift to the community and is not associated with any one particular organization but comes from the beautiful friends and family in the United States. I have partnered with one Indian social worker by the name of Om who will assist me with the project.

By the way the project is spearheaded by the first donation that was given at the MOV/Crazy Neighbor show at George’s Majestic on January 8th, 2011. A young man I met for the first time gave me $3.00 to donate and I told him I would feed someone with it.

Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you.