What a successful day on a beautiful Saturday morning in downtown Detroit!! The Hand Up 4 East Africa team gave away 150 re-usable bags in only 3 hours time. It's never easy setting up in a public space and trying to get the attention of passers by...hollering about giving away something for free. Soliciting attention with the promise of a free gift is often cause for question, but given the short time the bags were in our possession, it seemed to work. Our first location was just off the main entrance of Shed 2. However, to be closer to foot traffic, we moved our location to the parking lot across the street. This way people would have to go out of their way to avoid us.
The word "free" seems to carry a certain harmonic to it, as people will turn on a dime to see what is being given out. Saturday was no exception, but we certainly had our skeptics. However, for those who's eyes caught our beautiful banner (Thanks, Jessica!!!) or ears tuned to the sweet sound of complimentary goodies, they stopped, most sometimes dead in their tracks. They were sincerely interested in what was going on, who we are, and what we were doing at the market. Almost as if the "free" bag didn't matter anymore.
This was a truly humbling experience for the Hand Up 4 East Africa team. Of course we gave our spiel, our 10 second version of our story recounting why we decided to walk, and why we were visiting the market. This interaction, albeit brief, aimed to spread the word to those who share the same level of social awareness. We had people that were genuinely intrigued that such a project existed, and they wanted to know more. People were sharing stories of their own, getting us motivated. You could see the amazement in some peoples eyes and many wanted to help. Whether a small donation, signing up for our email list, or even making a promise to spread the word around Eastern Market, each made a meaningful contribution to our efforts.
The Hand Up 4 East Africa team wants to thank everybody who took a moment out of their busy day to listen to our story. We reached out and you received us. Our message was heard, and that's all we could ask for. We even gave our last bag to Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh, helping him pile in his freshly bought produce in the middle of traffic on Winder Street. We finished the day truly fulfilled, leaving a good impression that was evident in the many smiling faces, wishing us good luck on our walk.
HAND UP 4 EAST AFRICA!!!