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Bread for the Journey

In the last several years appeals have gone out for donations to help victims of Katrina, the earthquake in Pakistan and the Tsunami in Indonesia, plus the many national and international charities that regularly solicit monies for their projects. Usually, these requests are made by arms length agencies, and the process may seem not only impersonal, but the question of what percentage of the donation actually reaches those who need it is often in question.

Bread for the Journey, a local nonprofit, grassroots organization wants to change that by nurturing neighborhood philanthropy.

Affiliated with Bread for he Journey International, which was founded by Reverend Wayne Muller in 1988, the intent of the local Ashland chapter is to fund and encourage local people to start or sustain valuable projects without the complications of grant proposals and lengthy waiting periods.

"The idea is that it be kept simple and not complex," said Leslie Lanes, who sits on the Ashland board of directors along with Karen Schneider, David Goodwin, and Janet Allison Horn. "We have small fund raisers, like a dinner party or a spring tea reception or a workshop, with all proceeds benefiting Bread for the Journey. We donate seed money to inspired individuals or groups who see what's needed in our community and want to fulfill those needs. This way of giving and receiving is based in relationship without needing to have all the red tape that usually accompanies grant giving." Grant amounts run from $100 to $1500.

Bread for the Journey Board has awarded grants to a number of local projects. Inner Child Cafe, for example, is a restaurant with Internet access, a gift store, and an indoor play space and community classroom. It offers a safe place where children can play while parents check e-mails, study, or meet with friends. It provides a warm, inviting, indoor space for children and adults to come together, supporting the creation of healthy families. "Our grant from Bread for the Journey has been a wonderful thing," said April Starlight, owner of the Cafe. "Our small grant has enabled us to offer our space to several families in need. It has been wonderful to watch the chain reaction of generosity from Bread for the Journey to us, and on to our community."

Marian Spadone, a local artist and grant recipient, heads up Compassionate Care After Someone Has Died. Her mission is to "change the way our modern culture handles death." This means reclaiming actual hands-on care of loved ones who have died, as well as rethinking burial our cremation choices. She has assembled a gallery exhibit of hand-painted and decorated shrouds and burial containers, inviting people to examine a casket, shroud or cremation urn without being in an "immediate need" situation.

The Rogue Valley Peace Choir, founded in 2003, received a Bread for the Journey grant which allowed the choir, composed of some 100 members from throughout the Rogue Valley, to present songs that echo the hopes and dreams of a peaceful world. Their music transcend borders and religious and cultural differences. Last August, the choir was invited to sing in Japan at an annual ceremony which marks an anniversary of the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima. The group was guided and inspired by one of its members, Hideko Tamura Snider, who survived the bombing.

Another local group that has benefited from Bread for the Journey's assistance is Rose Circle, an organization comprised of Ashland women &

mothers, daughters, grandmothers and friends &

who are mentoring girls ages 11 to 15. Their wish is that young women find a place where they can explore and understand themselves, each other, and the world. The Circle received a grant early on, according to Taylor Kohn, one of the coordinators, which provided for expenses for the training of women mentors. "The absence of red tape and complex requirements allowed Rose Circle to gain a foundation upon which to grow," said Kohn.

"There is an inherent value in the generosity that we embrace that highlights the idea that giving and receiving of money is only a part of the wealth that is available for exchange," Lanes said. "We also serve as a resource for people to connect with others who are doing things in the community that may complement what they are seeking to do."

For further information about Bread for the Journey, call 482-6429 or visit their international Website at .