Bob Gardiner at 83 Works to End Hunger and Poverty
Surrounded by more than twenty boxes of books collected from members of the UCC Church on the Hill in Lenox, Massachusetts, Bob Gardiner reflects on what makes his life worthwhile.
“Doing big picture things.”
…he says as he sorts the books.
He is preparing these books for a sale to raise funds for Heiffer International, an organization working to end hunger and poverty around the world. Bob’s project will provide two sheep, four goats, one heifer, and two llamas for a community on the other side of the world. These animals and training from Heiffer International will bring stable income for food, clothing, medicine, and school tuition.
During his career as an English teacher at Cheshire Academy in Cheshire, Connecticut, Bob considered that his real job was to help his students find and develop that goodness. He continues that work today mentoring a local high school student.
When pressed for what he means by goodness, Bob talks about two things: his formative years growing up at Gould Farm, and Ruth his now deceased wife of 51 years.
Gould Farm is a residential theraputic community for adults with mental illness located in Monterey, Massachusetts. There as the child of the farm cook, he learned skills ranging from making maple syrup to harvesting hope. And he began building his life around healthy relationships.
Bob says his wife Ruth was the most important model for goodness. She consistently lived with compassion for other people. She expressed this compassion in ways like volunteering at the Yale New Haven Hospital, in New Haven Connecticut.
Now in his early 80s, Bob says you need to find whatever gives you the deepest satisfaction. He says…
For me, it’s in building relationships around the fact that each person has his or her own goodness.