• Kendra Butler

2020: The Year of Courage

Dear Friends,

There's a thing about writing a blog post - you need a message to send to your readers. Something clear, concise, confident. And if you're me, you want it to be a little bit funny, weird, and for it to hit home in the punniest way possible. As I mentally prepare for these posts, I ponder for days, come up with catchy phrases and ideas. Then, when I think I'm ready my deadline is about to expire I sit down to write it and my mind goes BLANK. Poof, all the brilliant and inspiring things I wrote in my head for the last two weeks have dissipated into a million little fragments. It happens every time - I should know better. So, per usual, I’m sitting here with 12 hours until we ring in the New Year, only able to write something honest, courageous, and raw in the hopes that you will be inspired as we ring in 2020!

Here it goes...

Honestly, 2019 was a blur. It was filled with lots of wonderful planned and unplanned happenings. World U.P. entered into 2019 with three goals, (1) finish fundraising and build a Mobile Produce Pantry (#MPP) that bridged community access to fresh produce in Richmond, (2) reduce unnecessary overhead costs and reallocate the funds to more important endeavors, and (3) create new programming for 2020. We leave 2019 having successfully accomplished ALL three goals, and a few more we didn’t plan on. It wasn’t easy, but we did it!

Since you will hear about the reduction of costs and new programming at the beginning of 2020, I want to focus on the Mobile Produce Pantry. In 2017, the Mobile Produce Pantry was just a crazy seed of an idea we had come up with to help improves access to food security in Richmond. In 2018, we created an action plan and a goal to raise $15,000 to build the pantry. We were told NO, a lot. In 2019, we surpassed that fundraising goal and found monetary and physical support from Dupont’s Spruance Community Giving Board to build the pantry. After launching the pantry in September, we distributed over 5,800 lbs of produce into Highland Park, bringing to a grand total of over 6,400lbs in 2019. It took 3 years and The Mobile Produce Pantry is not a perfect model constantly undergoing iterative improvements, but it’s effective, important, and necessary in Richmond.

I tell you this, because not only am I immensely proud of our team this year, but I want you to remember something important as you leave 2019 behind. That every impactful and important thing starts from an idea seed - an imperfect little collection of mental life that needs nourishment, time, and support to grow. So, as you move into 2020, here’s what I wish for you, me and Us:

  • Courage. Courage to plant the seeds you have. It’s not easy - in fact, sometimes it’s terrifying, paralyzing and feels very lonely. You’re not alone, you can do this. In fact, if you’re afraid of something, it’s probably something you need to face.

  • Time. Give yourself time. Don’t give up. Keep on nurturing those seeds, because nothing valuable happens overnight. Sometimes seeds take years to grow and bloom. Give others time too (this is something I personally struggle with - but have found that if you give others space and time, they will deliver with something better than you could have ever anticipated).

  • Friction. I know, I know... this one is less fun. But, it’s necessary if you want to see real results that are long-lasting, flexible, and sustainable. Growth requires a lot of friction, it’s not easy, but through friction, seeds get stronger and have the ability to break through the soil it’s buried under to reach the sun and bloom. If a palm tree can be flexible enough to sustain a hurricane and be stronger - so can you.

  • Space. Space is vital. If you don’t have the space to develop your ideas, then they are going to be forced and may not meet your needs or not align with your vision. Also, keep in mind that not every seed thrives, but by having the space to plant multiple seeds, we are increasing our odds of success, of impact, of growth.

  • Support. Share your ideas with others! It’s a scary thing to do because rejection is real. It burns. Allow your passion to burn brighter than the anticipation of rejection. Acceptance is also real. Use that to find your tribe, those people who will help your ideas become reality.

With that, friends, take on 2020 with courage and start planting new idea seeds into your life and the community! Also, if you have an idea for programming that you think could positively impact the Richmond community, but need some support, space, and time. Please let us know!

Peace, Love & Understanding,


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