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Social Change: It's Like Riding a Bike

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If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that low-wage families are struggling to meet even their most basic needs and that children's present and future is suffering because of it.

This realization can be overwhelming and paralyzing. What can one person possibly do?

Everything, absolutely everything, hangs on how each of us answers that question. So before you answer, let me ask you one more question: Can you ride a bike?

This time last year, Pastor Eric Shadle rode across the United States to raise awareness about how many children don't have enough diapers to stay clean, dry and healthy. The National Diaper Bank Network was proud to work with Pastor Eric to get more than half a million diapers donated as a result of his ride. His trek concluded in National Diaper Need Awareness Week (which kicks off September 8 this year), and he visited Capitol Hill to let policymakers know about the silent crisis of diaper need.

His own diaper bank, Tri-Cities Diaper Bank, continues to profit from the ride. "What it did is get a snowball rolling of public awareness," says Pastor Eric. "It's just easier now."

I want to make clear that Pastor Eric is not an elite athlete. He'd just started biking because a knee injury made him stop running. He'd had recent heart surgery. "It was a bit of a challenge to be ready for the ride, but it was a good challenge for me."

As he rode across America, Pastor Eric visited diaper banks along the way. That created fund- and awareness-raising opportunities for them. It also gave Pastor Eric ideas that he instituted back home, such as mentorship for clients. "It changed our whole focus to development to help people get of out poverty," he says.

One man, a bike, half a million diapers and a whole new approach to helping families in need.

Pastor Eric did an amazing thing. I fully recognize that not everyone can bike across the country. But a lot us can do a 5K. Or organize one.

So I ask: Can you ride a bike? Or walk? Or throw a party?

Can you spend two hours a week helping an organization making a difference in your community? Can you put aside the amount you spend on coffee every week and donate it families in need?

When the question is: What can one person do? The answer should always be: Something.