Inside the
Summer Issue:

Home Page

For Bruce Springsteen,
"Do Something" Means
Many Things.

The Beat of a
Different Drummer:
An Interview
with Jim Chapin

Students Use
Pocket Change
to Make a
Big Difference

Cancer Patient
Cites Harry's
Message as Key
to Survival

The Power
of Design(ers)

Harry Chapin
Freedom of Choice

Goat Tales

The Cat's
in the Cradle...

Letter to
the Editor


Long Island
Songwriters Plan
"Sequel" Benefit
Tribute Concert

Howard Fields and
Al Stewart in
Concert to
Benefit KIDS Can
Make a Difference

Readers Share Thoughts
in Second Annual
Circle! Survey

Circle Calendar


Stuck On Myself

by Bill Hornung

I remain skeptical that humans are the intelligent specie.

Take the example of me purposely squirting glue in my ear. Not just any glue, but green glue with glitter.

Of course, gluing one's ear drum shut is an innocent accident as any parent of young children knows. But bonded ears are not common among balding guys who have a mortgage, pay taxes and watch infomercials about revolutionary car-washing brushes with ever-increasing interest.

Let's clarify here... I would never buy a revolutionary car-washing brush because it might risk actually washing my car. However, I do find the idea fascinating -- particularly the part that says "it's so simple even your kids can do it." They never tested the brush with my two offspring — or they could never make the claim.

Back to the glue bottle. It seemed inoperable as old glue had apparently dried and plugged up the squirt top. The only way, obviously, to test the situation was to place the bottle to my ear, lightly squeeze it, and listen for air coming through.

Wow... a discovery. The top wasn't plugged! But my ear was now blocked with a green glitter glob.

[WARNING: Do not try this at home. Leave glue-bottle testing to a trained professional — which still doesn't explain why I attempted this.]

Fortunately, the kids were in another room doing something other than working on THEIR school project for which the glitter glue was required when the incident occurred. I sneaked into the bathroom and began digging the glue out with Q-Tips™ and tissue.

New discovery. Glue, paper and cotton stick together really well. Pretty soon I had a new school project coming out of my ear. This reminds me... did you know the state reptile of Kansas is the box turtle?

I quickly shifted to a wash cloth and continued my digging. Ten minutes later I could hear again, even though the outside of my ear remained quite sparkly (Elton John would be proud of my new fashion statement).

The experience has left little hope my volunteer services will be encouraged by Kids in Need program, an innovative program based out of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. After all, I might accidentally hurt someone with a sharp piece of construction paper. Or an errant crayon. Worse yet, a misfired cardboard tube that previously acted as the spindle for a toilet paper roll.

So, how does passing out crayons, pencils, erasers and, yes, glue help feed people? At first it seems like an odd idea for a food bank.

Education is the key to self-sufficiency. With the right skills and experience, one can build a productive life through employment or starting a business. Providing free school supplies to cash-strapped schools and kids keeps them on the road to learning — just as nutritious breakfasts and lunches keep youngsters energized throughout the school day.

Kids In Need also shows how a little creativity can turn a problem into a solution. The program started by accident when companies that are members of the School and Home Office Products Association were in Atlanta to show off their latest in file folders, thumbtacks and what not at an annual trade show.

Rather than tossing millions of pencils, glue bottles, paper and other supplies away at the end of the show, Kids In Need worked with SHOPA to gather goods for distribution to Atlanta area schools. A big truckload of trash turned into valuable resources for schools.

Now teachers can "shop" once a year at the Kids In Need store and pick up hundreds of dollars worth of free supplies for their classrooms — at no charge.

Kids In Need is one of many programs featured in a recently published report called Building the Bridge. The report illustrates how food banks are focusing more attention on solving the root causes of hunger — a step well beyond their traditional role as a food supplier to those in need.

Building the Bridge was produced in conjunction with the Community Food Security Coalition and World Hunger Year — two organizations dedicated to advancing innovative ways to create self reliance — and America's Second Harvest, the nation's network of food banks.

The report is truly inspiring (and free to download)... although it lacks safety information about the hazards of ear gluing.

Watch for the Next Issue of Circle! on September 7