Every Child’s Right

I am always coming across relatively small charities which make a big impact for what they do. I once contributed to a clothing bank for street youth who had been arrested for being idle and who were destined to receive harsher sentences compared to those who seemed respectably turned out.
I experienced a similar epiphany last week when the Diaper Bank of NC came to my attention.
There is a serious shortage of diapers and other personal sanitary items among the poor in North Carolina. Diapers can cost as much as $100 a month per child and are not covered by SNAP (also known as food stamps) or the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children – better known as the WIC Program).
A recent study in The Journal of Pediatrics found that women in need of diapers reported more difficulty with stress management, depression, and coping with trauma—which negatively affects their child’s health.
Another study conducted by Feeding America, called In Short Supply: American Families Struggle to Secure Everyday Essentials, found that 48% of families who cannot afford basic household necessities delay changing a child’s diaper to make their diaper supply last longer.
All across North Carolina, there are stories of families who are struggling to provide diapers for their children to keep them dry, clean, and healthy. It is not just infants who are affected. Tears come to the eyes when you hear of young girls who cannot afford personal sanitary items and so stay away from school rather than be shamed.
The Diaper Bank of NC is a 501c3 organization. No goods or services are exchanged for donations, which are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Opportunities for Immortality

Brian Greenwich 170823This week’s Time Magazine features a report in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology on a study which found that light to moderate drinking was associated with a 20% reduced risk of death compared to no drinking at all.
Now we all know that death is the one certainty in life (hence the expression “dead cert”). So if we can reduce the risk of death to 80% we must be on to a winner.
Cheers!

This is What I Like about the South

Feeling the need for an Independence week end getaway we decided to take ourselves down to Kinston and visit Kings BBQ Restaurant.
Kings BBQ Restaurant feeds Eastern NC barbecue lovers locally and nationwide, serving 8,000 pounds of pork, 6,000 pounds of chicken, and 1,500 pounds of collard greens a week! So it is obviously well recommended.
My initial curiosity was sparked by a clip as part of a NC tourist promotion and the YouTube extract is worth watching.
I had the pulled pork (which is why we went) and as a side dish I had the collard greens which are cooked with bacon. Together with the fried okra and freshly cooked chips we couldn’t manage a dessert – so we brought the pecan pie home with us. And yes, being well brought up and skilled in these matters I would never put ketchup on NC barbecue pork.
Kinston has a population of 21,000. The area is very agricultural – where else would you see highway billboards extolling the virtues of pesticides and fertilizers? The farmland is characterized by tobacco which is an indicator of poor soil. Kinson was badly affected by Hurricane Matthew last October
 as the restaurant marker shows.
It was a good trip and a very nice meal – plain homestyle Southern cooking at its best. The restaurant was pleasantly full but not crowded and our waitress Tina bustled around like the true professional she is.
Is it on the list for a revisit – yes it is!

Dragon Arts

Wales is renowned for its artistic genes. Artists and bards spring up everywhere. After all Aberystwyth boasts my son in law as a sculptor in residence.
Last month the Ceredigion coast experienced some late spring gales and among other detritus a tree washed up on the beach.
If as Michaelangelo  said “Every block of stone has a statue inside it.” then every piece of wood harbours an artistic expression that wishes to
emerge like the butterfly from the cocoon.
So it was with no surprise that one morning we discovered that the tree trunk had been transformed into a dragon complete with (dead) 
spider crabs for eyes.
As can be seen, my grandson is a true native of Wales and shows no fear of dragons!

 

Thoughts from London

Regular readers of my blog may have noticed that I have been quiet lately. This reticence is partly because my bloggable life has not been that eventful.
However not long after the London Bridge terrorist outrage, I dined at the George Inn in Southwark (just south of London Bridge).
The George Inn was
built in 1677 and is the only galleried inn in London. The street was reasonably busy, since London Bridge is a major railway terminus for the Kent towns. The George is quite close to the site of the Tabard which features in the opening lines of the Canterbury Tales:

At nyght was come into the hostelrye
Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye
Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle
In felaweshipe, and pilgrims were they alle,
That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde

The George was busy and the coaching area was now full of drinking people enjoying each other’s company before going home. The two bouncers at the front of the yard may have been permanent and not just because of terrorist security issues.
I sensed that the overall feeling in London was of not letting the security situation get one down or restrict one’s social life.
Ten days later I treated myself to a fish and chip supper at the Fishbone in Cleveland Street (between Great Portland Street and Tottenham Court Road). Coincidentally opposite the restaurant was the George & Dragon pub. From what I could see it was not very large but there were about a hundred people outside drinking and enjoying themselves as if the terrorism threat was totally elsewhere.
Perhaps it is all in the survivorship genes. People are around today because their ancestors survived previous horrors. If you don’t keep going forward then you lose out on the game of life.

Wags4Tags

There is always plenty of doom and gloom wherever you look. Sometimes the morning news makes valiant efforts to stress the nice things about the day – such as spring blossoms but often the focus is on pollen and the associated allergies (welcome to my world). On the other hand there are many people making significant and beneficial changes to people’s lives. I came across one such person at the Triangle BABCNC Tra’Li Networking Social where I met Vivienne Carosso who is a key member of the Wags4Tags team. Basically Wags4tags unites psychologically and emotionally impaired Veterans across North Carolina with trained Companion, Emotional Support Dogs rescued from kill shelters so the two can heal in unconditional love, trust and loyalty. They are coming up to their 50th pairing so all credit to their President and Founder Ronnie Sadoski Trained animal companionship can help Veterans in their readjustment to civilian life by easing their symptoms and providing assistance, unconditional love, trust and loyalty.   There are many ways to support this enterprise. It takes up to $2,000 per dog to prepare it for his/her new Veteran-owner. This includes, but is not limited to rescue/adoption fees, and cost to spay/neuter, vaccinate, treat for heartworms, take care of other medical issues (such as eye infections, flea infections), micro chip, feed, foster/train, certify. None of these costs are passed on to the Veteran. The contact for Wags4tags is WAGS4TAGSNC@gmail.com Wags4Tags is entirely volunteer-based, and all donations stay in North Carolina. 98% of all donations go directly to rescuing, vetting, training, and matching a dog to his or her new Veteran, including any and all supplies the Veteran will need.

Nice Curves

This week’s factoid and opinion comes from the Spectator of 11th March 2017 in which Rory Sutherland advises and opines that we should spare a nod to Vilfredo Pareto, after whom the 80/20 effect was named.
Pareto did at least live in accordance with his theories: his final years were spent secluded in an Alpine chalet with a mistress and 20 Persian cats.
Sutherland’s guess is that Pareto started off with five mistresses and 100 cats before deciding that 20 per cent of these would give him 80 per cent of the pleasure.

Rory Sutherland is vice-chairman of Ogilvy Group UK.