Ripple Effects

Written by: Laurie Ferretti

Community outreach has been very important to our family since before my husband and I were married, and now that we have three grown children it is no different. We started a hot sauce company called Hot Sauce 4 Good and decided that we would donate any money we earned to three charities including the St. Francis Breadline (homeless in NYC) and World Vision Micro (international- third world relief))

My family and friends sold our sauces and each time we earned over $50, we went on line and read the stories of farmers and people who needed things that we never thought about because we are fortunate. We learned that people in third world nations needed chickens, cows, goats, money for small businesses etc. When we found a story of an entrepreneur that we identified with we would help fund a micro loan.

World Vision Micro “liked” us on Facebook and started to follow our pattern of giving. They sent a camera crew in October and filmed us at Norz Hills Farm picking peppers. They came with us and helped us make our hot sauce at St. Joseph’s Church where we used the commercial kitchen. At the end of the day they interviewed us on camera and invited us to join them on a trip to Ethiopia to meet some of the people that we funded loans for. We had NEVER imagined that we would go to Africa in our lifetimes! Our immediate response was ”Yes, but why us?” They explained that World Vision believes in a hands on approach to giving and they liked the ripples that our small company was making in the areas that we gave our money.

Our trip was set for Feb. 14-23rd to travel to Ethiopia and so we prepared for a trip of a lifetime.  We spent time learning about the culture of Ethiopia, we had to get a bunch of shots - including Yellow Fever and Typhoid. We wanted to get as many people involved as we could so we had a Rainbow Loom bracelet making morning at Auten Road Intermediate School and before we left the kids had made 384 bracelets.

While we were in Ethiopia we visited four families in three ADPs (Area Development Projects) run by World Vision - Tiya, Wonchi, and Angolola. Our base of operations was Addis Ababa, the capital city. The land looked like a patchwork quilt of brown and green and the people were so welcoming and proud of their country and of the successes that they have made. The children each had two sets of clothing - one was a school uniform and one was work clothes that were old and ripped. They used rolled up socks for a soccer ball and studied by firelight when the sun went down. Each family lived in a one room house that they shared with their animals which were separated by a thin tree branch from the living space. There were no bathrooms because they had to walk up to three miles to the closest fresh water pump (which we had donated money to help sink!) We realized that they had businesses and dreams that were the same as ours! As small business owners, we need the same support that these people needed. The only difference was in how much money we have!

We played with the children, passed out the bracelets (which were a HUGE gift to both children and adults) and learned how to communicate through the help of two translators. The Ethiopian people were strong and the families know that the way out of poverty is through education and hard work. They give no excuses for not doing their homework, they have nothing to distract them and they live amazing lives! We returned with the hope to keep in touch through e-mails with our translators.

We were told at the end of the trip, that all the video footage was going to be used to introduce our company at Leadercast 2014 in Atlanta,GA in May. Small acts of kindness have far reaching impact-important for us to realize no matter what age we are.

We will need volunteers from our community because we are expected to make 10,000 bottles of hot sauce in April and we will need help in putting labels on them!! If interested in volunteering or in learning more, go to www.hotsauce4good.com or send me an e-mail at laurie@hotsauce4good.com.