Saturday night my husband and I attended the 10th Anniversary Gala of A Wider Circle. We walked away so moved by what we heard. The following is a description of Mark Bergel, the founder of this organization. There are those people who talk the talk. And then there are those who walk the walk. Mark is the true embodiment of the latter.
Dr. Mark Bergel’s life holds little resemblance today to what it was only ten years ago. In 2001, Mark spent his days teaching and leading workshops on individual and societal health at local universities and corporations. Today, leading an organization that the Catalogue for Philanthropy calls “one of the finest charities Greater Washington has to offer,” Mark’s activities can range from meeting with political and business leaders to hoisting couches onto the pick-up trucks of local families in need. Though his organization has already served more than 80,000 children and adults – including the provision of urgently needed beds, dressers, cribs, and more to families across the region – Mark does not go to sleep each night on a bed of his own. Rather, he ends his often 17-hour workdays by collapsing onto his couch or floor, pledging to not sleep in a bed until every child and adult in the country has a bed on which to sleep.
by Layne Amerikaner, Member, A Wider Circle Advisory Board
So often we hear of far flung philanthropic efforts reaching from Africa to Afghanistan and all places in between. What strikes me is that we don’t have to leave this country or even our own zip code to find real need, real poverty. I think that’s why A Wider Circle so resonates with me. Charity begins at home. In our own back yard we have incredible heart-breaking need. Thank goodness someone had the vision and the incredible doggedness to take an idea, a great idea, and turn it into a life altering reality.
So, to recap: a family of four—husband, wife, five year-old daughter and tree-month old son—had only one bed. The mother, father, and the daughter sleep together in the bed and the son slept in his car seat. Tonight, the parents will have the bed to themselves, the daughter will be sleeping in her own bed, and the son will be sleeping in a crib. Sounds like a good day at the office to me!
A Wider Circle staff member
That description of a day in the office can give us all some much needed perspective. Let’s face it. Which of us doesn’t have a list of complaints on any given day??? We hope that our donations will help get children (and their parents) off the floor and into beds. We hope anyone who reads this will join us in helping this worthwhile cause. The idea of having a bed is so basic. How easy it is to get caught up in our respective “needs” when there are so many who are doing without this most basic possession – a bed.