By Katie Stagliano
“Remember there’s no thing as a small act of kindness. Every action creates a ripple with no logical end.” -- Sam Adams
Since I was seven, I have been swimming on my neighborhood swim team. I started when we moved to South Carolina, I didn’t really know anyone -- my mom had heard that getting on the swim team would be a good way for me to make friends. Despite the fact that I couldn’t even swim across the pool, she signed me up.
I remember I cried the first day of practice. I cried and begged my mom to take me home, but she didn’t. She actually refused. Pretty soon, I could swim across the pool without hanging onto the wall for dear life. I learned all the strokes, and I even made it to the city championship meet that year. Now, my swim team is like family. I love my teammates and love spending the time with them. Swimming is my favorite thing to do over the summer.
Recently, as I was walking out of the pool after a long two-hour practice, one of the other swim families stopped me. They said that they had removed their swing set from their backyard and that their 10-year-old daughter, Peyton, wanted to replace it with a garden. But not just any garden, she wanted to grow a Katie’s Krops garden -- a garden that would give back.
Since Peyton was new to this, she was wondering what to plant and if I had any gardening tips. Little did I know she had been following my efforts on Facebook, the news, and in the papers. I had inspired Peyton -- I’ve been swimming with her for years -- to clean out her backyard and get her hands dirty to help people in need.
Peyton got me to thinking about a story I was introduced to by director and cinematographer Jesse Roesler (pictured) while filming Give Me Your Hungry. It’s called “Fable of the Starfish,” and it’s about a little girl who is picking up starfish on the beach and throwing them back into the water. A man approaches her and tells her she can’t possibly save all the starfish. The girl then throws one back into the sea and says, “But I saved that one.” The next day the man comes back with his friends to throw starfish back into the sea. And who knows, that man may have inspired other people -- you never know how far the ripple will go and how many people will be inspired by your efforts.
The same ripple effect applies to Katie’s Krops. In the four years I have been growing vegetable gardens and donating the produce to people in need, I couldn’t possibly give a number to all the volunteers who’ve helped with the gardens and prepared the food or even begin to count the people who have been given fresh, healthy produce.
You may never know the people you’ve helped to feed or the people you’ve inspired, but if you just do something, you’ll be helping to make a difference in some way. It is truly a ripple effect.
And to think that it all started with a 40-pound cabbage!
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