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Making Connections: The power of a vegan bake sale, a Whole Planet and Africa

cupcakes

one of the delectable treats in this vegan bake sale!

If there is one thing I’ve learned in the past few weeks it’s to never underestimate the power of a vegan bake sale.

But I’m jumping ahead of myself by beginning with the end; there’s that pesky ‘impatient’ attribute I’ve been trying to work on.

Let me start at the moment when I learned about the Whole Planet Foundation, which was last year when I was hired at Whole Foods Market. It was just one of the many things I discovered about my new employer that made me love my new job. The Whole Planet Foundation is a non-profit organization that was established by Whole Foods Market that provides microcredit loans to (mostly) women in countries where their products are sourced.

You might recognize the organization’s logo since the all stores do a big fundraising drive for this non-profit in February. One of the most amazing things about the Whole Planet Foundation is that 100% of the money donated goes directly to microcredit loans. Whole Foods Market pays all of the administrative costs. In addition, all loans that are repaid (with minimal interest) go back to providing microcredit loans. So once you donate, your money will stay within the Whole Planet Foundation.

They also have a volunteer program that they encourage their Team Members to apply to (this is where I come in). Team Members submit an essay and if you’re selected you head to one of the countries where the Whole Planet Foundation’s work is in effect and you see firsthand how much of a difference even the smallest donation can make. Basically, Team Members get the experience of a lifetime and Whole Foods Market gains ambassadors who can speak personally of how much a microcredit loan as little as $25 can make.

As soon as I discovered the opportunity, I applied and was thrilled to find out I was accepted to go to India. I was equally devastated to see that the dates were the same as one of my best friend’s weddings and I wouldn’t be able to go.

For months I wasn’t sure if I would be able to switch projects until I got a call a couple of weeks ago telling me that I was headed to Kenya in 6 weeks and I had just as much time to fundraise for the cost of my flight ($3,500!).

How it works is Whole Foods Market covers the cost of our accommodations, activities, and food but we’re asked to pay for our flights – which finally leads me back to the beginning of this story: my vegan bake sale!

To fundraise in the past I’ve created a vegan menu that I’ve sent off to everyone I can think of. This menu has different vegan meal options that they can order and schedule a delivery date for. I didn’t have much time but I created a new menu and sent it around hoping for the best. Unfortunately it’s exclusive to Vancouverites at this point!

I’ve been running around like crazy since the moment I’ve sent it out. To be honest I’m not sure whether there are a lot of people eager to have vegan take out, that they really like my food, or that they are being very supportive (it’s probably a combination of all three).

I’ve only got one more week before I depart and I’m at almost $2,000! I’ve actually had to turn down orders because I just can’t keep up!

I have no doubt that I could have covered the entire cost of my flight if I had had more time, and you can imagine what we vegans could accomplish if we banded together to do something like to raise money for our local animal shelter or animal rights organization.

Which is why I will end this post how I started: never underestimated the power of a vegan bake sale.

Stay tuned for another blog when I return – I can’t wait to share my experience in Africa with Whole Foods Market!

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About the Author

Lindsay ODonnell Lindsay is a vegan in Vancouver who spends her time cooking, drinking soy lattes, and writing about our relationship with animals.

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