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He was ready to return to a life of crime. Dave's Killer Bread offered an alternative.

"It's the people who have been given that second chance who work all that much harder to make something of it."

He was ready to return to a life of crime. Dave's Killer Bread offered an alternative.
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Dave's Killer Bread

Andre Eddings’ life was beginning to look dire.

After being caught and charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, Eddings was in jail with a felony record. “I remember thinking to myself, 'I’m a failure now,'” he says. “I will never amount to anything. I’m just throwing my life away.”

As a kid, Eddings had shown a lot of promise. Growing up with parents who struggled to get by, he was dedicated to creating a life for himself. “I wanted to make something of myself. I wanted to become successful. I wanted a good job making a livable wage,” he says.


Photo courtesy of Andre Eddings.

He kept a 3.8 GPA through high school, then continued to perform well academically as he went on to college and played football. So what happened? Watch:

It was only after a football injury that things went awry.

“The doctor basically gave me an ultimatum,” he says. “Keep playing and potentially injure myself for the rest of my life, or give it up and save my body.”

Eddings chose to give up his athletic career and ended up dropping out of college and moving home to work.

With no degree and stuck in a dead-end job, Eddings looked to others to find a path toward what he considered success. It didn’t take long for him to start dealing drugs — and to get caught.

When he got out of jail, Eddings wanted nothing more than a path back onto the straight and narrow.

Photo courtesy of Andre Eddings.

But with a felony on his record, that seemed impossible.

“I went to multiple interviews where I’d interview pretty well and they’d offer me the position,” he says. But once employers discovered his record, the job offers would disappear.

With few employment options and his restitution and court fees piling up, Eddings felt backed into a corner. “I was going to go back to selling drugs,” he says. What he really wanted was a solid job making an honest day’s work, but with his past preventing him from moving forward, he felt he had no choice.

That’s when he got a call that changed everything.

"I wouldn’t give up quite yet," said an encouraging friend who knew a better way.

Dave’s Killer Bread, an organic bakery in Milwaukie, Oregon, doesn't disqualify candidates based on their criminal backgrounds.

Eddings happily took a position low on the totem pole, eager to forge a path forward for himself. “I was nervous. I was a little scared. I didn’t really know what to expect. I’d never worked in production before, let alone a bakery,” he says.

He needn’t have worried: It clicked right away.

Photo courtesy of Dave's Killer Bread.

Two and a half years later, he's risen through the ranks and is a production assistant supervisor with aspirations to continue working his way up the company.

"My life has made a complete 180-degree turnaround," he says.

"Now I have two beautiful children, I’m engaged, I’m renting a house with the hopes of buying a house here in the future." He's also a mentor to other employees with similar backgrounds at Dave's Killer Bread.

Photo courtesy of Andre Eddings.

"I help other people coming into the company who have similar backgrounds to me, you know, talking to them, letting them know it can be done if you want it," he says. "With this company here, you can make something of yourself."

Dave's believes so strongly in the power of second chances because Dave himself co-founded the business after finishing a prison stint.

"The only reason employers don’t want to take on people with a background or who are convicted felons is solely out of fear," Eddings says.

For him, it's worth the risk. "You never know what you can get out of a person who is ready to make the change, wants to do better for themselves, wants to become somebody."

Photo courtesy of Dave's Killer Bread.

The hiring policy at Dave's isn't just informed by kindness — it's also good business strategy.

"In a tight job market, where motivated and engaged employees are hard to find, we have found that individuals who are given a second chance are highly appreciative of the opportunity given to them and are eager to learn and grow professionally," says Gretchen Peterson, the director of human resources at DKB.

Photo courtesy of Dave's Killer Bread.

"The second-chance partners we employ come to work grateful and happy to have a job every day — what employer doesn’t want to see that in their workforce?" she says.

If more companies hired like Dave's Killer Bread does, one desperate history after the next wouldn't have to repeat itself.

Peterson says she thinks H.R. professionals sometimes fool themselves into thinking they are getting a "better quality" candidate through the background check process.

"In my experience, there are just as many people with no background who end up being terminated for theft or fraud. In fact, it's the people who have been given that second chance who work all that much harder to make something of it."

Photo courtesy of Andre Eddings.

True

Some 75 years ago, in bombed-out Frankfurt, Germany, a little girl named Marlene Mahta received a sign of hope in the midst of squalor, homelessness and starvation. A CARE Package containing soap, milk powder, flour, blankets and other necessities provided a lifeline through the contributions of average American families. There were even luxuries like chocolate bars.

World War II may have ended, but its devastation lingered. Between 35 and 60 million people died. Whole cities had been destroyed, the countryside was charred and burned, and at least 60 million European civilians had been made homeless. Hunger remained an issue for many families for years to come. In the face of this devastation, 22 American organizations decided to come together and do something about it: creating CARE Packages for survivors.

"What affected me… was hearing that these were gifts from average American people," remembers Mahta, who, in those desperate days, found herself picking through garbage cans to find leftover field rations and MREs to eat. Inspired by the unexpected kindness, Mahta eventually learned English and emigrated to the U.S.

"I wanted to be like those wonderful, generous people," she says.

The postwar Marshall Plan era was a time of "great moral clarity," says Michelle Nunn, CEO of CARE, the global anti-poverty organization that emerged from those simple beginnings. "The CARE Package itself – in its simplicity and directness – continues to guide CARE's operational faith in the enduring power of local leadership – of simply giving people the opportunity to support their families and then their communities."

Each CARE Package contained rations that had once been reserved for soldiers, but were now being redirected to civilians who had suffered as a result of the conflict. The packages cost $10 to send, and they were guaranteed to arrive at their destination within four months.

Thousands of Americans, including President Harry S. Truman, got involved, and on May 11, 1946, the first 15,000 packages were sent to Le Havre in France, a port badly battered during the war.

Thousands of additional CARE Packages soon followed. At first packages were sent to specific recipients, but over time donations came in for anyone in need. When war rations ran out American companies began donating food. Later, carpentry tools, blankets, clothes, books, school supplies, and medicine were included.

Before long, the CARE Packages were going to other communities in need around the world, including Asia and Latin America. Ultimately, CARE delivered packages to 100 million families around the world.

The original CARE Packages were phased out in the late 1960s, though they were revived when specific needs arose, such as when former Soviet Union republics needed relief, or after the Bosnian War. Meanwhile, CARE transformed. Now, instead of physical boxes, it invests in programs for sustainable change, such as setting up nutrition centers, Village Savings and Loan Associations, educational programs, agroforestry initiatives, and much more.

But, with a pandemic ravaging populations around the world, CARE is bringing back its original CARE packages to support the critical basic needs of our global neighbors. And for the first time, they're also delivering CARE packages here at home in the United States to communities in need.

Community leaders like Janice Dixon are on the front lines of that effort. Dixon, president and CEO of Community Outreach in Action in Jonesboro, Ga., now sends up to 80 CARE packages each week to those in need due to COVID-19. Food pantries have been available, she notes, but they've been difficult to access for those without cars, and public transportation is spotty in suburban Atlanta.

"My phone has been ringing off the hook," says Dixon. For example, one of those calls was from a senior diabetic, she remembers, who faced an impossible choice, but was able to purchase medicine because food was being provided by CARE.

Today, CARE is sending new packages with financial support and messages of hope to frontline medical workers, caregivers, essential workers, and individuals in need in more than 60 countries, including the U.S. Anyone can now go to carepackage.org to send targeted help around the world. Packages focus on helping vaccines reach people more quickly, tackling food insecurity, educational disparities, global poverty, and domestic violence, as well as providing hygiene kits to those in need.

From the very beginning, CARE received the support of presidents, with Hollywood luminaries like Rita Hayworth and Ingrid Bergman also adding their voices. At An Evening With CARE, happening this Tuesday, May 11, notable names will turn out again as the organization celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the CARE Package and the exciting, meaningful work that lies ahead. The event will be hosted by Whoopi Goldberg and attended by former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter, as well as Angela Merkel, Iman, Jewel, Michelle Williams, Katherine McPhee-Foster, Betty Who and others. Please RSVP now for this can't-miss opportunity.

Image by 5540867 from Pixabay

Figuring out what to do for a mom on Mother's Day can be a tricky thing. There's the standard flowers or candy, of course, and taking her out to a nice brunch is a fairly universal winner. But what do moms really want?

Speaking from experience—my kids range from age 12 to 20—a lot depends on the stage of motherhood. What I wanted when my kids were little is different than what I want now, and I'm sure when my kids are grown and gone I'll want something different again.

We asked our readers to share what they want for Mother's Day, and while the answers were varied, there were some common themes that emerged.

Moms of young kids want a break.

When your kids are little, motherhood is relentless. Precious and adorable, yes. Wonderful and rewarding, absolutely. But it's a LOT. And it's a lot all the fricking time.

Most moms I know would love the gift of alone time, either away at a hotel or Airbnb or in their own home with no one else around. Time alone is a priceless commodity at this stage, especially if it comes with someone else taking care of cleaning, making sure the kids are fed and safe and occupied, doing the laundry, etc.

This is especially true after more than a year of pandemic living, where we moms have spent more time than usual at home with our offspring. While in some ways that's been great, again, it's a lot.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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