Oxfam America is pleased to have Beth Meshke join the Oxfam Legacy Circle! Beth Meshke began supporting Oxfam America twenty-seven years ago, after returning from a year of college spent abroad in Colombia. She has supported Oxfam America as a monthly pledge partner, by contributing some money to a pooled income fund, and by naming Oxfam as a beneficiary in her will. When she is older, Beth plans to contribute to a life income option.
Back in the 1980s, Beth was part of a unique Oxfam America volunteer group in Seattle that sold fair trade items and T-shirts from Oxfam America's gift catalog (now defunct), and provided information about Oxfam at street fairs. Beth even organized and spoke at Hunger Banquets.
Beth has a goal to contribute as much as she consumes during her lifetime. Living in the country that consumes the most resources, she finds it very difficult to not contribute to the depletion of the ecosystem. Beth says, "I doubt I'll reach my goal of contributing as much as I consume, but thank goodness I can support Oxfam America which definitely produces more good than the resources it consumes."
According to Beth, the main reasons she supports Oxfam America is that, "Oxfam:
- Does not accept U.S. government funding so is not pressured by government priorities that might harm poor people in favor of the United States;
- Believes that poor people are kept poor by oppressive systems rather than by ignorance or inferiority;
- Funds local community-based groups rather than to send American "experts" overseas, which is much more effective and respectful of the people being served than sending Americans;
- Gives priority to funding agencies that organize the poorest of the poor, such as women and indigenous people who may be discriminated against by their own governments and cultures;
- Does not mix up Americanism and religion and purport themselves as superior to those they serve;
- Has an electronic 'community' and web site that provide excellent information and methods for Americans to advocate for people hurt by U.S. government and corporations' policies;
- Has a philosophy of building back better because helping the most marginalized people improve their living conditions is an effective way to prevent continued deaths in future disasters."
Beth reflects on her experience, "I probably will never do anything as brave as those women demanding better working conditions, whose green headbands identified them as 'troublemakers' to the plantation owners. I am grateful that through my donations to Oxfam America I can help such organizations exist and in a small way encourage such worthy people."
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