The Monkey Do Project – A Mission to Help
October 18, 2012 1:38 pm CT
By Guest Blogger Jacqueline Wilson, Founder and Executive Director of The Monkey Do Project
Sometimes a passion comes from so deep within, it’s hard to find words for it. If you have a deep passion for something—I refer to mine as a “calling”—you know that you put your heart, soul and sometimes your money into that passion. Other things may fall by the wayside while you try to do what you think is best. This is how I feel about the Monkey Do Project, a non-profit outreach program supporting people in Appalachia.
Appalachia stretches over 13 different states along the Appalachian Mountains, from Southern New York to Northern Mississippi. The government defines some of these areas as the most “economically distressed” in the entire nation; many have a poverty rate 150% over the national average. Some Appalachian people have no shoes, winter coats or running water. Some have to choose who gets to eat in their family each day, and many kids don’t eat on the weekends when they are out of school. These aren’t people playing the system; they are in real distress. These are the people who the Monkey Do Project focuses on and tries to help.
Last week, we made a missions trip to Ohio to meet with government executives and organizations to learn how the Monkey Do Project can better assist and help families who are struggling. Living in Indianapolis, I was set to drive to Ohio; however, I was worried how my used car with 156,000 miles was going to make it. I needed a larger vehicle to take bins of donated items so we could distribute them to people in need. When Connie Burke from GM found out what we were doing and heard my concern about my used car making it, GM stepped up and loaned us an amazing Chevrolet Suburban for the trip. I openly wept in the middle of a café when I found out!
The fact that GM actually cared about our little non-profit was mind-blowing to me. We were going to make our missions trip, and we were going to be able to take the things people needed and give it to them! People commented on our Suburban throughout the trip, giving me the chance to tell people how GM loaned it to us for our missions trip with no strings attached. People were in awe and, without fail, said the same thing: “I’ve never heard of a big company doing that before!”
I thought about that statement quite a bit during the trip, how GM is doing great things like loaning the Monkey Do Project a car for our mission and recognizing local do-gooders with the Our Town, Our Heroes program. Then it occurred to me—people haven’t heard about this because GM just wants to help people. They’ve invested in communities and supporting people they believe are doing great things. They’re doing it because they believe people deserve to be helped, even if it doesn’t get them anything in return.