What is it that feeds your soul? It may be spiritual or religious if that’s important to you, but it can also be about doing something you love, something you’re passionate about, or reaching out to help others. You know that feeling, that one you get deep down inside when you’ve just done something that makes you feel complete, purposeful, intentional, and good.
At Outpost, the heart of our co-op’s mission is simple; we feed people. But there are also times we do, or say something to others - a co-worker, a friend, a neighbor, a family member - that feeds something deeper in us than just our hunger. Our actions and words come with a feeling of fullness, not in our bellies, but in our heart. Our soul.
Our world has been turned inside out since the Pandemic in early March. Then shortly thereafter the death of George Floyd brought systemic racism into the light and ignited the Black Lives Matter movement for people of every color. Since then, as I look around, I see the work of people feeding their soul – working to create a better world and better community through conversations, even when they’re difficult, and real action that begets change and healing.
Down the block from where I live, a group gathers at 5:30 pm every day, rain or shine, to spend nine minutes on their knees peacefully reflecting and connecting with their own soul about the Black lives in our community. This local #KneelForNine group started when one of our employees and her neighbors wanted to find a peaceful way to protest and stand in unity with all of the other protests for change. So, every single day at 5:30 pm, (going strong for 45 days now) these neighbors feed their souls while bringing awareness to the changes that are needed and long overdue in our community.
Back in early April when the CDC recommended face coverings to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus, Outpost was having trouble sourcing any kind of mask for our employees- our front-line workers. We put out a call to the community for homemade masks since we had heard about volunteers sewing masks for others. We received more than 500 masks, enough to provide many of our store and office employees with two masks each. Some of those masks came from a group called The Masked Sewists for SE Wisconsin who, in total, delivered 58,932 masks to the communities that needed them. People who love to sew – sowing some kindness for others and feeding their souls as they stitch.
I’ve also witnessed some amazing soul-feeding among our employees and for our employees.
When one of our employees had her bike stolen, a bike that was her primary transportation to work, and her co-workers heard about what happened, they took up a collection to replace her wheels. Since bike shops were sold out, they had trouble finding a new one, but they managed to find a her a good used bike, through persistence.
When the “Safer at Home” order closed many of the non-essential businesses (including coffee shops) little did we know that Outpost’s continued business with one of our primary coffee vendors, Anodyne Coffee, would mean they could keep their business afloat. To thank Outpost, Anodyne’s owner packaged up fresh, twelve-ounce bags of “Essential Worker Blend” and gave one to each of our 350 Outpost employees. One employee described this as “the best day ever” at work.
It’s no accident that cooperatives are built on seven internationally recognized principles, with the 7th Principle - Concern for Community, weaving all the rest together. Your co-op has always led with the foods and products we sell, but underneath that, supporting everything we do and who we are as business, are the people who work and shop in our stores, as well as the neighbors that surround us. Right now, in “these times,” the people that make up our world, our community, has never mattered more.
In this issue:
MILWAUKEE EMPTY BOWLS making a difference
GLOBAL GRILL with flavors from around the world
BETTER WAY FARMS and the art of the blueberry
CHICKEN SOUP goes on vacation
and more ...