Blanco County News
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Social Entrepreneurs
Wednesday, September 4, 2013 • Posted September 5, 2013 3:24 PM

Have you heard of TOMS shoes? Back in 2006 Blake Mycoskie was traveling in Argentina and witnessed the hardships of children growing up without shoes. His solution to the problem was simple yet revolutionary: create a for-profit business that was sustainable and not reliant on donations. Blake founded TOMS shoes. For every pair of shoes sold by his business, he donates a pair of shoes somewhere in the world to someone in need. His company has donated more than two million pairs of shoes since its founding in 2006.

Mr. Mycoskie, founder and chief shoe giver, later saw the need for eyewear throughout the world and his giving has expanded from shoes to eyewear. His mission is simple: with every product you purchase, TOMS will help a person in need--one for one. Blake’s best selling book, “Start Something That Matters,” advocates turning your passion and dreams into reality.

Three to five million children under the age of five die every year from the devastating effects of malnutrition. That means every six seconds a child dies from malnutrition. That’s 14,000 a day! Sam and Linda Caster, co-founders of Mannatech, a research and development company, saw this first hand while visiting orphanages in Romania. In one particular orphanage every winter five or six children would die, their young malnourished bodies unable to bear the brunt of the cold season.

Mannatech pioneered plant-based nutritional products. The company was concerned that synthetic vitamins are chemically produced from petroleum and coal tar derivatives, not food. It is estimated that over 95% of all vitamins sold are synthetically made. Minerals are generally recovered by mining ores or from chemical processes. Tests have shown that minerals contained in many of the most popular brands of multivitamins may not dissolve in the stomach or small intestine and may pass through the body without being absorbed.

The company founded by Sam and Linda Caster pioneered ways of making vitamin and mineral supplements by absorbing the nutrients into plants and using the plants to manufacture vitamin and mineral supplements that the human body can process. When these plant-based nutrients were provided to the children in the Romanian orphanage, not one child died during the following winter. Sam and Linda developed a vision to fight global malnutrition by nourishing the world’s children with plant-based real food supplements while empowering and rewarding the lives of those who champion their cause.

Through its “Mission 5 Million” movement, the company strives to impact the global epidemic of childhood malnutrition by linking five million consumers of its supplements with five million children in need.

Social entrepreneurship is simply a demonstration of mercy and is not limited to a few companies, individuals or even nations. Mercy is defined as compassion and includes feelings and acts of sympathy, kindness, forgiveness, and love. Our capacity for mercy is often brought forth when we become aware of the unusual and distressing circumstances of others. Jesus could not look into men’s faces without being pained by their confusion, their perplexity, and their misery. Whenever he saw people fainting and scattered abroad like sheep having no shepherd, his heart was moved with compassion on them.

Jesus showed mercy by not condemning others. He showed mercy by choosing to love rather than condemn. Jesus showed mercy by giving others many opportunities to repent and to be forgiven. He showed mercy by avoiding bitterness. And He showed mercy by helping others in need. There is enough heartache and sorrow in this life without our adding to it through our own stubbornness, bitterness, and resentment. We must let go of our grievances—that is the Lord’s way.

How do we make life a little easier for someone else? Do we even try? The world would certainly be a better place if it were filled with the passion and compassion of people like Sam and Linda Caster and Blake Mycoskie.

(Comments? mustardseeds101@yahoo.com)

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