During the run-up to the November 2010 primary election in Michigan, John and Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank were challenged by a candidate to partner with him (and ideally all other candidates running in that primary race) in modeling a new way for political campaigns to be run in America: What if instead of their being wastelands of “gotcha!” sound-bites and attack ads, they were competitions between candidates to see which of them could do the most genuine good for the community?

As “The End” began approaching for John’s life, he found himself thinking about how much time, travel, flowers, expenses, etc. would get consumed by his many friends from across West Michigan and around the U.S. if his passing was honored with more or less “traditional” funeral practices? And how much of that would be diverted from efforts to get food aid to needy people? That a single ounce of food could be diverted that way made John wince. So instead of doing any of it in those ways, he asked that he be quietly cremated and his ashes scattered, and that people wishing to honor his passing do one or more of the following:

Sign up to become an organ donor, or donate a pint of blood.
Donate funds to either or both of two causes particularly dear to John.
Be spontaneous in pursuing some significant act of kindness or charity on your own.
Read one or more of the books John most admired.
Read one of the biographies of Major General George Henry Thomas.
Listen to some of the songs John most liked.
Watch one of the movies he felt taught him the most.

How might that change anything? Who knows! But if a bunch of people doing things that would make John smile replaces their possibly being distracted from getting food aid to needy people or doing other good things, it almost has to net out as an improvement - and as you know of John, that was just totally what he was into!

Thank you in advance for considering honoring John in one or more of these alternative ways!

If in addition to the above you feel moved to send John's family a card or letter, please address it to:

Family of John Arnold
c/o Nonprofit Innovations, Inc.
PO Box 2741
Grand Rapids, MI 49501
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John's CaringBridge