Friday, November 27, 2009

rice & beans and the riley project

As I shared in my last post, we have realized that we have so much (too much) and that we can no longer sit comfortable while others are suffering. We have also become pretty disgusted with what Christmas has come to mean in America. It is all about consumerism and spending money and giving to people (us included) that already have more than we need. We do not want to raise our children with a sense of entitlement. We want, as a family, to focus on Christ's birth at Christmas and find ways to honor Him with this season.

The Riley Project is close to being finished (although Riley says that she will never be finished raising money for wells). Riley has about 800 more dollars to raise to reach her goal. We are ready for Riley to reach her goal because we are ready for over 250 people to finally have clean water. They are dying while they wait (I know that sounds dramatic, but, well, it's the truth).

So, during Advent (November 29-December 24) our family will be eating rice and beans every night for dinner. We will be donating the money that we save on groceries to The Riley Project. We can't take credit for this idea. I first saw a blog where a family ate rice and beans for a month and gave the money that they saved to a friend's adoption. Then, our friends Kinzi and Jay approached us with the idea that they would fast and give the money that they saved to The Riley Project and asked us if we wanted to participate. As we discussed it and threw around ideas, we landed on eating rice and beans for Advent. I honestly can't think of a better way to both prepare to celebrate Jesus' birth and raise more money for the well then to sacrificially give of ourselves in this way.

In many ways we are very excited about rice and beans and what it will teach our family. But we are also very selfish and really, really don't want to eat rice and beans for 25 days straight. It's not going to be fun. I hate beans. But every night, as we eat our rice and beans, we will think of those we don't have anything to eat, we will think of those who are going to get clean water, and we will think of Jesus who sacrificed much more than us.

I mean, really, who am I to complain about eating rice and beans when there are millions of people who would be beyond thankful to know that they were getting rice and beans every night?

Who am I to think that I deserve more than rice and beans?

We are asking anyone who wants to, to please join us in giving something up in order to give to The Riley Project. You don't have to eat rice and beans for 25 days. You can eat rice and beans for a week or one night. You can give up Starbucks or Coke and give the money that you save to the well. You could come up with your own idea. I am also giving up my nightly ice cream which is a really, really big deal for me. We already had a family give up eating out for a month and donate their saved money to the well. We have so much that we can give up.

(I also just wanted to say that you can participate for any reason- it doesn't have to be in preparation for Jesus' birth. This is just one of our reasons. You obviously don't have to be a Christian to give sacrificially. In fact, most Christians are really bad at sacrificial giving.)

So, after 25 days of rice and beans, on Christmas Day, our family will write a check to charity:water for the amount of money that we saved. It would be so beautiful if the final $800 needed to build this well was raised by Christmas Day because of sacrificial giving on the part of people all around the country.


Ali said...

What an incredible idea. You are a beautiful little gal, riley. :)

jennhali said...

Love this guys and we are so in. I'm excited to talk about this with the family and see what this looks like. We'll let you know. Thanks for prompting these kinds of discussions for our family. We love you.

Breanne said...

i had rice and beans for lunch today, in honor of you guys. hoping to jump in on this with you when i get back from the wedding next week!!!!

Anonymous said...

love it! i even witnessed the buying of the beans :) can't wait to read this with isabel and lola too!

Anonymous said...

amazing idea. inspiring me to get my family involved as well! yes, we saw blake researching the prices of rice and beans at the market. truly a sacrifice :)

ryan guard said...

Hi, my name is Ryan Guard, and I'm the Student Ministries Pastor at Mission Community Church in Gilbert, Arizona. I came across this story while reading up on charity: water, and I was very inspired! We're about to kick off our second campaign in my High School Ministry, and our church is doing a huge donation this weekend as well ( I was just writing to let you know that I'm going to mention The Riley Project during my message this weekend. We'll have a few hundred high school students with us this weekend, and I'm sure this story will inspire them!

Hope that's ok :)

Sarah said...

Hi Ryan! I know that this is a late response, but we never mind anyone sharing about The Riley Project. We're all in this together! Did I see that you guys raised over $25,000?? Wow and awesome!

Mary said...

Sarah, I'd like to share info on the Riley Project, too, at Kids Helping Kids ( ). Wondering where Riley is with her goal now. Did she raise enough to build a well? Did the rice and beans savings push her across the "finish line"? Do you know where the well will be built? Is the project continuing on to a second well? Any details appreciated (sorry for all the Qs!). Thanks & happy Easter!

Sarah said...

Hi Mary. That would be great! Riley would be honored to be a part of your website.

Riley did meet her goal right before Christmas. You can check it out at her blog- It ended up that friends gave enough to finish the first well before we finished the rice and beans so we used the rice and beans money to start our second well. We did the second well together with all of the families that ate rice and beans and we just finished raising the money for that well. Our fundraising site for that well is We don't know where either well will be yet. If you have any other questions you can email me at bsgoodfellow {at} gmail {dot} com.

Mary said...

thank you, Sarah! here is the post about Riley:

awesome kid you've got!!

Sarah said...

Thank you Mary- what a wonderful article! I printed it for Riley so that she would always have it.