Chilean Earthquake Relief Vegan Bake Sale (guest post by Stephanie Belding)
Category : Uncategorized
It is amazing what a difference a week can make. As I write this post, I am overlooking the North Shore mountains, watching float planes skirt the sky and can still see the Olympic rings floating idly on their barge in the harbour below.
This time last Saturday morning, February 27th, the world awoke, yet again, to horrific news of a phenomenal 8.8 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Chile. A massive tsunami followed as well as numerous aftershocks, which as of last night, were still occurring in and around Valparaiso, Chile, at a magnitude of 6.5. The destruction has been devastating, wiping out roads, bridges, almost the complete infrastructure, including water supplies and electricity. The city of Concepción, Chile’s second-largest metropolitan area, which is roughly 70 miles from the quake’s center, has been among the hardest hit. The capital of Santiago also experienced massive destruction. Chile’s aid and emergency relief efforts are well underway and foreign aid has started to trickle in but there are thousands reported still missing and the death toll has yet to be properly accounted for. Water purification systems, emergency field hospitals, temporary bridges are all of high priority. Over the coming weeks, months, years, the world will watch as Chile slowly starts to rebuild and recover.
As was the case in the horrific January 13th earthquake in Haiti, the world is coming together to raise funds, offer support and help rebuild the ravaged communities. Although the earthquake that rocked Chile last week was far stronger than the 7.0-magnitude one that destroyed Haiti six weeks ago, the damage and death toll in Chile are likely to be far less extensive, in part because of strict building codes put in place after devastating earthquakes.
That being said, I wondered if people were still willing to offer up aid and assistance after giving so generously to Haiti’s relief efforts. I hoped there wouldn’t be a charity malaise that had set in. Perhaps that sounds cynical, but for those of us so far away from the point of impact, it can be easy to disengage.
Last month, Radha Yoga Eatery so very generously donated their space for a vegan Bake Sale to raise funds for the Haitian Earthquake Relief. Gabrielle Pope wrote a wonderful post here about the gestation of vegan bake sales, and the power of small scale community activism, how a group of like minded individuals can pool resources, talents and time to create a much larger effort. Over $3000 was raised from last month’s vegan bake sale, which was matched by the Canadian government. I know as an individual, there is no way I can contribute anywhere near that kind of aid but boy oh boy, I can sure bake up a storm; I can spend a nominal amount in donating baked goods in order to help manifest a return which is a thousand times greater than my singular input.
Please come down, bring your own take away containers and lots of cash to stock up on phenomenal vegan baked goods supplied by wonderful local bakers, including Veganmania and many other fabulous contributers. We will also have fabulous raffle prizes to offer up from Sequel Naturals and a $50 gift certificate to Karmavore.
If you would like to contribute baked goods or offer up raffle donations, you can find more information on Facebook, here.
Being vegan for me is about compassion, about eradicating the pain and suffering of all sentient beings through conscientious and mindful living. It is about practicing ahimsa, the avoidance of violence. When the earth seems to be tilting on it’s axis, when everything is pell mell and the world itself seems to be shaking us off and creating incredible turmoil, destruction and overwhelming despair, instinctively I want to reach out and somehow affect change for the greater good. I alone have limited resources and skills; I bake, I act, I train people, I sort of write and create work where need be. But if I gather other like minded folk around me and we pool our resources and intentions then together we can make great change.
I love the Margaret Mead quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” So please, help us raise funds for the people of Chile; for their families and friends who are far away and unable to reconnect, for the survivors and their loved ones who are facing months, perhaps years of struggle and rebuilding. For all the sentient beings who need our help.
Funds raised will go to Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders, who have been on the ground in Chile over the past week supplying medical help and relief to those hardest hit by the earthquake.
Stephanie Belding is an actor, personal trainer, and passionate lover of tasty vegan treats. You can often find her baking up a storm and pouring over vegan cookbooks with a zealot’s delight. She is currently in Vancouver but come May, will make Toronto her home once again.