What would you do if you were at a conference and at the last event of the day, Pepsi Co. handed out a new product, packages of hummus and pretzels, to every person attending, and as the conference hall emptied out most of the people left the packages of food on the table unopened?
Brenda asked the staff at the Drake Hotel what would happen to these hundreds of packages of good and valuable food and they told her it would all be thrown out. It broke Brenda’s heart to think of that waste when there were so many homeless people who needed help.
She asked for two large garbage bags and picked up as many of the food packets as she could stuff into them to take to the homeless people who were out on the streets in cold, windy autumn day in the city of Chicago.
All dressed up in her designer suit with fancy boots and handbag—and two huge garbage bags of food, Brenda took the time to chat with each one of the people on the street she was giving food to. She wanted to find out their stories: How did they get there? What was the hardest part of living on the streets? How long had they been on the street? She took the time to connect and care and hear the truth.
She walked into Bloomingdale’s with her large garbage bags and a clerk asked her what she had in them. Brenda told her the story and that after she left the store she was going to continue handing out the packets of leftover food to the homeless she passed walking down the street. The clerk was amazed because every day she herself walked past the gauntlet of people out there begging. The head of the department came out to talk to Brenda because he felt inspired by her example to help in some way. He gave her his business card and told her to contact him.
Leaving Bloomingdale’s, Brenda notices an exclusive coat shop, MaxMara, and she couldn’t resist going in to try on a coat she saw in the window. When she walked in with her bulging garbage bags, employees offered to take the bags while she was in the shop and they all got to chatting about what was in the bags.
The staff was so impressed with the ideas she had for helping the homeless, and that she took the initiative and the time out of her busy schedule to drag around these heavy garbage bags and chat with homeless people. Again the manager came out to talk with her and gave her a business card, telling her that they want to be part of the plan.
In the past Brenda had taken money from her own bank account to buy hundreds of warm coats for those staying in the homeless shelters of Milwaukee.
When Brenda walked out of MaxMara she saw a woman in a wheelchair on Michigan Avenue begging for help. Brenda asked her how she ended up where she way and the woman shared the story of losing her children because of making poor choices in her youth and going down some very bad roads. Brenda knew by the state of her teeth and her story that this woman had probably endured many years on the street and many years of self-neglect. She gladly gave her a number of food packages.
As Brenda was emptying the last packages from her bags, she noticed that two men in very expensive suits had been watching her. They asked her what she was doing. Brenda relayed that all of the food was going to be thrown away by the hotel and that she had wanted to find a way to help the homeless people she had noticed when she walked into the hotel earlier that day. The men were astonished and told her that what she was doing was so wonderful, “We are from NBC and we’d like to talk to you about doing a story about this.”
Then Brenda told them more of her story and her mission.
Brenda was on a driven path to find ways to help the homeless. She has a powerful and highly-paid expertise that has afforded her the opportunity to travel in foreign countries, and her heart has been burst open with seeing all of the homeless people as she travels. She, her husband, and their son can afford to stay at hotels like the Drake in Chicago and the Four Seasons all over the world, and, of course outside on the sidewalks, she often encounters the homeless begging. Six years ago she decided to take action and do something about it…somehow.
An earlier time when she was in Chicago, Benda had noticed women and children begging on the streets. She took the time to stop and ask why there were so many women and children at this particular place. A woman responded that the funding was gone for the shelter (safe house) she and her children were living at and now they were on the street. Brenda felt compelled to find a way to help.
She has since started I Am a Force 4 Good, which buys supplies and provides training to women in shelters, teaching them how to make exclusive, French milled soaps with exotic essential/natural oils and beautiful colors and packaging. Brenda also travels to Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Guatemala, and other Central American countries, where she visits out of the way villages to buy gorgeous hand-beaded jewelry to re-sell, providing the women of those villages a source of income.
I Am a Force 4 Good sells these products on line, at home parties, and in beautiful shops, including a lovely store in the Cedarburg, Wisconsin, winery building. These revenue helps homeless and other women struggling to support themselves and their children.
Check out the website and find out how you can also be a force for good!