Making a difference in my community has been something I strive to accomplish every day. Random acts of kindnesscreate a positive flow of energy to the people around me. A quote that has helped inspire me throughout my ongoing journey says, “You must BE the change you wish to see in the world” – Ghandi. I believe that realizing there is a need is the first step in addressing a problem. I try to become the light of positivity, providing others with the encouragement that they might need. One person can make a huge difference in the lives of others by doing some of the simplest things.
What about ways you can touch the lives of others during your daily routines? I have provided a small list of things that we all can start with today!
- Smile. It will astound you in the amount of those who will smile back.
- Let someone ahead of you in the checkout line, even if they have more than 10 items.
- Compliment a stranger.
- Look at the person speaking to you instead of the cell phone. The text will wait, but that connection of one-to-one could be missed.
- Open the door for someone
I have enjoyed sharing a few thoughts with you today. Ideas we all know, but due to the hectic lives we live, sometimes forget. Remember, it all starts with a smile!
We just completed our first full day of sessions, and it was great! There have already been some great takeaways for the Volunteer Department, and I’ve been able to network with vendors and other Food Bank staff members from across the nation.
I’m speaking tomorrow on engaging the next generation of volunteers, so be looking for another update soon. I’m also working on a video with great footage from Chicago to pass along. Thanks for following our progress at the 2012 Mobilizing the Public Learning Conference hosted by Feeding America.
We have distributed 118,298 Emergency Family Boxes of food and household items to low-income families in just two short months! We are working hard to distribute the remaining 102,557 boxes of food before the end of September and could still use your help! We will maintain extended volunteer hours Monday thru Saturday from 9 to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. with no appointment necessary for individuals. We can also accommodate groups of five or more on some evenings, and groups of 15 or more on Sundays.
Hope to see you all soon.
2:51 PM on Wednesday, June 9th, 2010No Comments
Great story on Urban Harvest in the Oklahoman today! Check out the video featured on NewsOK:
We need you tomorrow! We have 217 pallets of product to go out to needy families next week. Open volunteering from 9-12 and 1-4. We are located at 3355 S Purdue near the airport. You can just show up!
If you aren’t available tomorrow, we hope you’ll come out volunteer sometime this summer. We need your help now more than ever! The Regional Food Bank will distribute an additional 3.8 million pounds of food and 697,867 pounds of household products in upcoming summer months. We have extended volunteering hours to accommodate!
Contact me 600-3154 if you have any questions. We hope to see you soon!
12:10 PM on Wednesday, April 21st, 2010No Comments
It’s National Volunteer Week! Today, we’d like to recognize Steve Hoffman, our most faithful volunteer! We rely on him each Saturday to show volunteers how we package our donated bread, and he consistently motivates people to get it done! He is an exemplary volunteer and because of him, and volunteers like him, we are able to help provide food to more than 77,000 Oklahomans in need each week!
11:37 AM on Tuesday, April 20th, 2010No Comments
Please join us in recognizing John Camp as our Volunteer of the Quarter! John started volunteering here over a year ago. His granddaughter helped him find the Food Bank by calling around to organizations. He comes in around 3-4 days a week for 2 hours. Often, he will bring in donuts for the staff.
He bought the Volunteer Center a paper cutter and a paper shredder with his own money because he saw a need. On most days, John can be found in the volunteer break room placing labels on bags for repacking products. He was born in the state of Washington and traveled the world with his parents until 16 years of age. They were missionaries mainly in India. He returned to the state of Oregon and graduated High School. Later he went to college and then served in the military. He is 87 years young and has been married over 60 years (don’t tell him we told you, but his birthday is on April 29th when he’ll turn 88)! He has volunteered more than 285.5 hours!! Thank you John!!
In recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, people of all ages and backgrounds will come together to help improve communities and address some of our nation’s most critical needs: poverty, hunger, homelessness and education. Here at the Regional Food Bank, we are expecting a group of more than 150 volunteers to sort and pack boxes of food, which will be a tremendous help for our partner agencies and food pantries across the state.
Because the Food Bank has had such a great response from volunteers, the AmeriCorps team that I work with at the Food Bank will be spending the holiday volunteering at another organization in need: Parent’s Assistance Center (PAC) in downtown Oklahoma City. PAC is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and family violence, and offers intervention programs, parenting classes and family therapy. Our six AmeriCorps members will be painting, cleaning and organizing, allowing the PAC to continue to provide these valuable services.
You, too, can volunteer for the 2010 Day of Service and make a real difference in your community. The Regional Food Bank is encouraging Oklahomans to make their Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday “a day on, not a day off” by volunteering on Monday, January 18th at the Food Bank. There is still room in our Volunteer Center on Monday for volunteers to bag and box food, help with mailings and food drives, or assist in any way they can. To schedule a time to volunteer, call the Regional Food Bank of at 405.600.3154 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- By Suma Ananthaswamy, AmeriCorps Member/Childhood Hunger Advocate
4:53 PM on Monday, December 21st, 20091 Comment
Garden greetings from Urban Harvest!
Urban Harvest originally was developed to help start and sustain community gardens in the Oklahoma City area. Community gardens are gardens that are established by churches, schools, civic organizations or just neighbors who work together to grow food and plants on empty lots. Currently we are working with 28 active community gardens and have several that are in various stages of organization for the spring of 2010. The program helps with organization and developing solid plans for gardens, provides on-the-ground assistance during the building process, looks for funding and bulk gardening materials and provides free seedlings and seed when available (last year several thousand plants were started in our greenhouses and given to gardens). We also host quarterly meetings for networking and education.
While the philosophy “build it and they will come” makes a great movie, it does not always happen so easily in reality! The key is organizing and having a strong nucleus of dedicated gardeners. Those interested in establishing a community garden can contact Bruce at email@example.com for more information. And anyone can make an impact by donating gardening materials or by making a financial gift to support community gardens.
Urban Harvest has been very busy the past few months expanding its composting activities in our demonstration and production gardens located at the Regional Food Bank’s Community Garden. We use several techniques to compost waste materials such as spoiled straw, dead leaves, grass and spoiled produce. At times, the Food Bank receives produce that is spoiled or near spoilage on arrival. Instead of throwing this raw material away—and paying someone to haul it off—we add it to our compost piles or feed it to our worms, which also produce a high quality plant food with their castings.
We use the compost to build our garden soils while diverting waste from the Oklahoma City landfill. This helps us reduce the Food Bank’s waste removal bill. When a donation of $1 provides seven meals to Oklahoma’s hungry, this is not an insignificant act. Over the past five weeks, our composting efforts have had a financial impact of $3,000 on our organization.
Check out this video of our compost pile:
We have formed a new volunteer group called the Red Dirt Soil Builders, and you are invited to join! This group meets most Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to noon to learn about composting and help with the labor of making compost. Volunteers may qualify for free compost next summer. Those interested can contact Bruce at 405-604-7108 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Bruce Edward, Urban Harvest Director
In the last few weeks I have visited some of the 450 churches and charities throughout central and western Oklahoma that receive food from the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. These agencies operate emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, senior centers, group homes and more. I have visited agencies to the north, south, east and west in the 53 counties and 45,000 square miles of Oklahoma that the Regional Food Bank serves. Each place I visit I am amazed by the awesome work being done by our partner agencies to get food to hungry Oklahomans. And I am excited to meet volunteers that have stepped up to help in the fight against hunger.
Volunteers are helping to prepare and serve meals, box and distribute food, unload trucks, sign in people being served, paint and make repairs, collect food in food drives and much more. But more volunteers are needed. If you as an individual or your church group, school group, or club can donate even just a few hours you can make a difference for an agency in your area and the people in our state that are struggling with hunger. To contact an agency in your area, enter your zip code on the Find Help page to see the agencies the Food Bank serves near you.
You can help to make a difference for people in your own area that need food help. I was honored to visit with some of those people during my recent travels. People like:
- A single mother with 3 very small children whose husband had left them. She had run completely out of money and was so desperate for help that she burst into tears when the pantry told her she would get a grocery cart full of food and referrals to other services.
- A senior who was seeking help with meals after she was recovering from a serious illness that took most of her money to buy the medicines she needed.
- A young family with 2 children that now has only one part-time minimum wage job. The husband’s employer recently closed the business where he had worked for the last 5 years. They continue to look for better work and are grateful for the food help they receive until they can get back on their feet.
People near you are struggling with hunger issues just like these. You can help us continue “Fighting Hunger…Feeding Hope” by giving even a little of your time and talents to a charitable feeding program near you.
- Sally White, Programs Director