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Join NOW: Co-Ops Are Inclusive Places For Rural & Urban Dwellers

Cooperatives enterprises have a long history of making a economic and social impact for people around the world. Please learn more about cooperatives and then join one in your community. You have many choices, a credit union, grocery store, bakery, brewery, housing and more. Below are a few resources to help you connect.

Learn About Cooperatives

Inclusive Economy


South Sudan Situation Report No. 79

In a recent  a recent report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):

  • A humanitarian barge departed Bor on 16 March. The barge was
    South Sudan Situation Report No. 79

    South Sudan Situation Report No. 79

    carrying over 1,000 mt of relief items to Malakal.

  • So far in 2015, 214,950 children (37 per cent girls) have been reached with education support in South Sudan.
  • There were reports of localized population displacement following fighting in Greater Upper Nile as well as inter-communal violence in Lakes State.
  • Humanitarian partners have reviewed service provision in Mingkaman in order to rationalise them and prioritise life-saving assistance.

Read more: South Sudan: Crisis Situation Report No. 79.

Serve Now: Never Forget Millions In South Sudan Are Homeless!

  • An estimated 1.5 million people have been uprooted in fighting that started with a political impasse in mid-December 2013 between President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar. The conflict also sent nearly 100,000 civilians fleeing to UN bases around the country. UN Mission South Sudan
  • At least 40,000 people who fled fighting in South Sudan are staying in horrific conditions at a UN camp. Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)
  • “Being a father is always about being able to provide for your son, sending him to school or a good hospital if he needs it.  But how can you say you’re a father when you’re just sitting here? I am just ashamed of being a father here. It would be better if we didn’t have to leave to be refugees. The world needs to support people in their lives so South Sudan can be developed and there can be peace in this world,” Gatluack Choul, South Sudanese Refugee


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ACT NOW: Please Help Pastor Dave Owens Raise Money To Replace Embassy Church DC’s 45 Year Old HVAC & Furnace


Pastor Dave Owens, Embassy Church DC

Pastor Dave Owens, Embassy Church DC

Please help my friend Pastor Dave Owens of Embassy Church DC raise money to replace his 45 year old HVAC and furnace. Pastor Dave is a humble and mighty warrior in the church, and a man I am proud to consider a friend.

Seven years ago, when my oldest son was 2 years old, Rebecca and I came across Embassy Church DC while searching for multicultural churches within Washington, District of Columbia’s city limits. Upon the first visit, I recall a noticeably warm and homelike feel to the church. Everyone greeted and hugged us, as if we were old friends, offered us a breakfast snack, and took time to have a personal conversation. The sanctuary, at the time, had traditional church pews and flags, representing a variety of countries around the world, hanging from the wall. The worship service consisted of a contemporary Christian style, with a multicultural praise and worship team. I recall all of my worship senses being touched on that Sunday. The only other time I saw a church so diverse was when we attended Bridgeway Community Church in Columbia, Maryland. What made Embassy Church DC so appealing was that it was 20 minutes from our home in Washington, DC versus 45 minutes to Columbia, Maryland – A very important gas savings for a young family.

Elders, Embassy Church DC

Elders, Embassy Church DC

Once service ended, Pastor Dave came to us and warmly greeted Rebecca, my son, and me. But, not only did he greet us, he actually wanted to know about us personally. Rebecca and I left his church feeling very welcomed and excited to go back for a visit.

After becoming regular visitors, Pastor Dave approached me before service one Sunday and asked if we could have lunch one day. We exchanged numbers and planned a day and time to get together. Pastor Dave invited us to join him at Bambu DC Asian Cuisine on Macarthur Boulevard in Northwest, Washington, DC. The food didn’t disappoint us either. But the food wasn’t what impacted me most – And as most of you know, I LOVE fabulous dinning. What impacted me the most was that Pastor Dave and I seemed to click, at least from my perspective. We both agreed that diversity and a focus on multicultural ministry was very important. Why? Well, it’s America, and the most segregated day of the week is Sunday. Pastor Dave and I both agreed that it was important for all followers of Christ to stand as one body, with one praise, and one voice. We also agreed about the importance of church missions trips. Rebecca even told Pastor Dave about her weeklong trip to Juarez, Mexico with our former church, World of Life Christian Center, located in Lone Tree, Colorado.  No – I couldn’t go because I had to stay home and watch our oldest son. But I was there in spirit.

Eventually my family moved away from the area and Pastor Dave and I kept in touch on Facebook. That brings me to now, seven years and one additional child later! One Sunday Rebecca, my family I, which now includes an additional person, decided to visit our old friend. It was like a small reunion. Pastor Dave first saw me while he was practicing in the sanctuary with his praise and worship team. In true Embassy Church DC fashion we were greeted by two lovely members and again offered a breakfast snack. Nothing had changed, well…besides the fact that Pastor Dave removed the traditional church pews for more contemporary style seating. Pastor Dave said that it gave him more flexibility for church events. Before church began that Sunday, Pastor Dave walked up to us, gave us a warm greeting, and asked us to reintroduce ourselves to the church once service began. After service, Pastor Dave invited us out for lunch as he did seven years ago. After grabbing some sandwiches, at his favorite Georgetown restaurant, we went to Rosslyn, Virginia to the Marine Corps War Memorial and had a lovely time catching up.

Pastor Dave is one of the most humble and real pastors I know. He will never shy away from offering tough Christ centered counsel. Again, I am proud to call him a friend in a time of my life where many transitions are occurring. I encourage you to open your heart and wallet to help this great servant of the Lord replace his 45 year old HVAC and furnace. Yes…45 years!

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Embassy Church DC

Embassy Church DC


ACT NOW: Support Stephen McDow’s Efforts To Raise Money For Ride For Food

Stephen McDow

Stephen McDow

Can you believe it? I’m helping Open Table raise money for our program by participating in Ride For Food on September 15, 2013. All money raised will help Open Table better serve their guests who are experiencing hardship. Any donation you can make will be appreciated. I have set a goal of $1,000.

Thanks to a generous financial backer I will join Team Open Table at 7:30 am on the campus of the Noble and Greenough School. I’ve personally committed to 12 miles.

Your support is encouraged and appreciated in advance. Together, we can make an impact in the lives of individuals in need of food relief.

According to a report by Massachusetts based Project Bread and data collected from the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture):

“The food insecurity rate in Massachusetts has grown by over 43 percent since the start of the recession in 2008. This is the highest rate recorded in the Commonwealth since this data was first collected in 1995.”

In an article published recently by the Associated Press:

“Poverty is spreading at record levels across many groups, from underemployed workers and suburban families to the poorest poor. More discouraged workers are giving up on the job market, leaving them vulnerable as unemployment aid begins to run out. Suburbs are seeing increases in poverty [too].”

Dr. Cornell West of The Poverty Tour says, “You can’t lead people unless you love people and you can’t save people unless you serve people.”

What is the depth of your love and quality of your service for people, specifically poor people? Show your love and donate today by clicking the link below.

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Stephen McDow

Reflect Now: The Corporation for National and Community Service Sends Stephen McDow A Note Of Thanks

Stephen McDow With Fellow Volunteers At Open Table

Stephen McDow With Fellow Volunteers At Open Table

The Corporation for National and Community Service sent Stephen McDow a thank you note regarding his commitment to service:

Hi Stephen,

Thanks so much for your message and for sharing your volunteer experiences with us. We’re glad to hear you’re at 555 hours and counting! It’s always wonderful to hear from volunteers who are doing amazing work in their communities and making service a part of their lives. Have a wonderful week and thank you for serving!

Stephen is humbled that the Corporation for National and Community Service took the time to thank him for his commitment to service. He also view’s their note as motivation to seek greater opportunities to help people.

Visit: to learn how YOU can make an impact!

Visit: to learn how YOU can make an impact!

Reflect Now: Stephen McDow Volunteers 555 Hours At Open Table

Stephen McDow Volunteers 555 Hours At Open Table

Stephen McDow Volunteers 555 Hours At Open Table

Life is a journey that has twists and turns. As many of you know I found Open Table in order to give back to society. I’m pleased to say that I’ve volunteered 555 hours at Open Table and have no plans on stopping. Serving those in need in Massachusetts has been a spiritually rewarding experience.

 Dr. Cornell West of The Poverty Tour says:

You can’t lead people unless you love people and you can’t save people unless you serve people.

What is the depth of your love and quality of your service for people, specifically poor people?

My love for people is deep…its been that way my entire life. I’m honored that Open Table’s president, Peter Hilton, allowed me the opportunity to come and make an impact on those individuals experiencing a time of need.

I pledged 500 hours to the National Day of Service…and plan to pledge another 500 hours, totaling 1,000 hours since September 2012.

Will you join me? No matter where you are in the world find a local food bank and invest your time in helping to bring a smile to those in need.

Reflect Now: Juicing Will Help Prevent Childhood Obesity

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents. Childhood obesity has many immediate and long-term health effects. The solution? Well…part of the solution is juicing!

If you make sure your child gets proper exercise, eliminate junk food and increase your raw vegetables, fruits, nuts, and beans you will see a difference in attitude, energy, and BMI. Besides, parents may want to think about building a good eating foundation from birth to 16. Why you may ask? That way from 16 to adulthood your child will only crave the GOOD food. If you start following an increased raw diet, eliminate the junk food and have beef, sweets, and the occasional visit (once every 3 to 6 months) to your favorite restaurant to splurge on the calories, you will also see a difference in your child’s cravings. No longer will they crave a dose of cheese fries and fried chicken fingers or chips and dip…you will find they will go into the refrigerator and start picking out their kale, beets, carrots, strawberry’s and apples themselves. Isn’t that a parents dream? Well…it can’t be said enough: Start Juicing!

Consult your doctor for sure if you have any health risks and concerns and Start Juicing!

Note: I also filed this on CNN iReport: Stephen McDow

ACT NOW: Congress Weakens USDA’s Plan To Improve School Meals

Congress Weakens USDA’s Plan To Improve School Meals

By: Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project

Take Action Now

It’s a stark reality: today’s kids may be the first generation in our nation’s history to actually live sicker, shorter lives than their parents. Today, one in three kids is overweight or obese and more likely to suffer from diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other long-term chronic illnesses. Reversing this trend will not be easy, but it is doable. And ensuring that schools serve or sell healthy foods is a good place to start, given that many children consume more than half of their daily calories at school.

Stephen Ornes – Science News For Kids

In January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed a plan to update school meal nutrition standards for the first time in 15 years. The proposal would ensure schools serve more fruits, vegetables and whole-grains while limiting calories, salt and fat.

Some members of Congress raised concerns with two key provisions.

The existing, outdated standards allow as little as two tablespoons of tomato paste to count as a serving of vegetables—making the sauce on one slice of pizza equal to one full serving of tomatoes. USDA’s proposal would have closed this tomato paste loophole. In addition, USDA had proposed limits on starchy vegetables like potatoes. Combined, these two requirements would have put the focus on more nutritious, whole vegetables and encouraged kids to eat a wider variety of them, as recommended by the National Academy of SciencesInstitute of Medicine and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

As part of the debate on the FY 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, Congress voted to restrict how USDA measures tomato paste, meaning one slice of pizza may still be allowed to count as a serving or half a serving of vegetables. The vote also bars USDA from requiring the limits on starchy vegetables in the cafeteria line.

This law could weaken the effort to make school meals healthier despite the fact that the American people support such efforts. More than three out of four voters—78 percent—believe that schools should be required to meet higher nutrition standards for all foods they serve or sell to students.

Ensuring schools serve healthful, well-balanced meals supports the efforts parents make at home to feed their kids nutritious food and teach them how to make healthy choices.  Thousands of schools across the country—in communities large and small, urban and rural—already are proving that they can serve healthy meals that kids will eat at an affordable price. They’re serving more fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy items, while featuring fewer fried foods on their menu, and it’s working. But thousands of other schools have not made these changes, so USDA’s stronger standards are urgently needed to help our kids.

Because kids who eat well aren’t just healthier; they also perform better at school. Ultimately, that affects all Americans—benefitting our economy while also reducing health care costs.

USDA must finalize the nutrition standards in a way that will not only improve school meals, but ultimately, the long-term health of our children and nation.

Take Action Now