Helen Keller Spotted Buying Orange-Fleshed Sweetpotatoes

The famous social activist talks about the importance of vitamin A
Helen Keller, age 79, 1959

Shopping at my local supermarket this morning, imagine my surprise when I spotted Helen Keller! I debated whether I should bother her  – because most celebrities like to be left alone  – but decided I had to go up and introduce myself.  Not only is my organization, Helen Keller International (HKI), named after her, but she is also a personal hero of mine.

I caught up with her in the vegetable aisle and asked her why she was shopping so early on a Sunday morning. She was beyond gracious, encouraging me to call her Helen instead of Ms. Keller. “I am making a sweetpotato pie for dessert tonight,” she explained, “I’ve invited some friends over for dinner to introduce them to the great work that HKI is doing, and wanted to show them how delicious vitamin A can be.”

I could not believe the coincidence: the very day she was having friends over to learn more about the organization she co-founded 97 years ago, she randomly bumps into one of HKI’s staff members. What are the chances?

When Helen helped start the organization in 1915, our main focus was helping rehabilitate soldiers blinded in the war. Today, we prevent blindness and reduce malnutrition. One of the most effective solutions that saves both sight and lives is making sure that people, especially children, have sufficient vitamin A. And orange-fleshed sweetpotatoes, like most orange vegetables, have high levels of beta-carotene which the body converts into vitamin A.

Helen Keller shopping for orange-fleshed sweetpotatoes

I had so many questions to ask her about her remarkable achievements, and the huge contributions she has made, but didn’t want to keep her from her errands. I thanked her for spreading the word about Vitamin A, and told her she should stop by HKI’s headquarters and meet the rest of the staff.

In all honesty, I don’t expect she will come by because – April Fools! This story isn’t true. Even though I didn’t actually meet Helen Keller today, her spirit is alive and well in the work we do every day.

If you look around, I think you might also “see” her doing good deeds in any place where efforts are being made to help the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. That was truly her life’s work and her legacy.

This April Fools’ Day, why not prank your friends and family for a good cause and honor Helen:

  1. Go to HKI’s Facebook page and share our “Helen Keller Spotted” post.  We encourage you to add your own sighting of Helen Keller in a place where you can imagine she would be doing good (planting a tree, teaching kids to wash their face to prevent trachoma, providing eyeglasses to students in need, or….)
  2. Tweet where you have seen Helen Keller doing good using #HelenKellerSpotted and #AprilFools.  Be sure to include our handle @HelenKellerIntl so we can re-tweet your responses.

You can also make a donation to Helen Keller International’s sight-and life-saving programs. As Helen Keller actually did say: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

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Categories: Helen Keller, United States


  1. Jennifer Klopp says...

    How exciting!

  2. Marquita says...

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