From The Editor: Do Good

Amid the familiar sights, smells and sounds of the season, this time of year is often described as giving people “the spirit.” This means something different for everyone, even from year to year. For me, I’m overcome with a soulful spark as the last leaves fall from the trees and the first frost hardens the ground, because the pleasure of giving is one I look forward to all year long. From the smallest gesture to the biggest surprise, seeing the pure joy on someone’s face when they unwrap a thoughtful gift cannot be matched.

These warm feelings are no doubt amplified when one dedicates their time and work all year long to improving the lives of others. That’s why for our final issue of the year we’re using these pages to feature not only the creatives of the middle of America, but the artists, makers, entrepreneurs and organizations that also make a conscious effort to do good.

Restaurateurs Katie and Ted Collier have built a wildly successful business in Katie’s Pizza & Pasta Osteria in Rock Hill, Missouri. To support the community that has embraced them, they’ve created Giveback Tuesdays a monthly program that has raised more than $90,000 for local charities. Katie shares her Italian-inspired stuffing recipe to warm our hearts and appetites this season. Artists Vita Eruhimovitz, Basil Kincaid and Bloom all comment on cultural happenings, stereotypes and the power of self-expression while producing visually and sonically striking work in their most recent projects. None of the three simply make art for art’s sake; instead, they always have greater motives in mind. In Nashville, we’re introduced to Becca Stevens of Thistle Farms, a woman who has dedicated her career and much of her life to aid the victims of sex-trafficking. Her powerful story and dedication to the mantra “Love heals” is truly an inspiration.

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In our cornerstone stories, we profile two companies and the creative leaders working within them who are making an impact on their surrounding communities. Shawn Askinosie of Springfield, Missouri, has built a small-batch chocolate factory sourcing 100 percent of the beans directly from cocoa farmers. Moreover, he’s the only chocolate maker working directly with farmers on four continents and has recently been noted by Forbes as having “One of the 25 Best Small Companies in America.” Travel 750 miles north and you’ll find Daniel Caudill in Detroit, Michigan. Caudill is the creative director behind Shinola, a company truly built with the American dream in mind that creates luxury products—including its now-famous watches—and works to return jobs to one of the United States’ most prolific manufacturing cities of years past.

Perhaps it’s the nostalgic feeling of time gone by, or perhaps it’s the cold Midwest weather that brings us all a bit closer and leaves us inspired. Whatever the reason, I hope the stories of these vibrant individuals add to your spirit as you turn the page on 2016. When you unwrap a fresh journal to start anew, perhaps the first line of your story can be, “I plan to make someone’s life better this year.”

Warm wishes,
Rachel
Tweet me @RachelEBrandt.
Connect on Instagram @RachelEBrandt.

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