Archive for August, 2009

reactions to the grind

Posted in economy & politics, people with tags , , , on August 27, 2009 by foodbankguy

I was struck by an article in today’s Arizona Republic about homeowners in limbo and the questionable worthiness of the federal loan remodification program.  Rather than weigh in on the pros or cons of the program, or even the article itself, start reading the comments at the bottom.  While these comments don’t represent a pinnacle of quality debate, and in fact are oftentimes nothing more than virtual mob rule, for this particular article I found them to be an interesting commentary on reactions to the grind.

The current housing market is interesting because it is largely a by-product of unemployment, which also happens to directly affect the demand on food banks.  People lose their home, have their credit ruined, lose their job… chances are they aren’t enjoying fine dining either.  Many people caught in the housing bubble are younger too, meaning they’ve got kids depending on them to eat, and as we all know, poor child nutrition affects school performance, attitude, etc.  But I digress…

What’s interesting to me about these reader comments is the fragmentation of thought and a lack of compassion.  Sure, you’ve got opinions on party lines, people distrusting the government, recognition that some subjects in the article are victims of their own poor decision making, realization that the economy has put most of us in a bind–all to be expected.  I understand that it’s easy enough to get on your high horse posting anonymously on the internet, but there’s something very bitter and defensive about many of these comments.  I simply don’t see people pulling together, encouraging one another, or even just talking about lessons learned.  We’ve become very paranoid of our neighbors, proactively resentful that we might have to help another, and a lack of understanding that we as a society either get through these tough times together or we don’t.  We’ve got to get past the blame.

No doubt this tough economy is a grind, it’s not fun, it’s downright hard labor for many.  But when the gut reaction of so many is contempt, it does make me question not only how long it’s going to take us to get out of this mess but whether we will at all.  Individuals cannot do it alone.  Neighborhoods cannot do it alone.  We’ve got to bite the bullet and pull each other up collectively as a society, as a country.  Who knows, this might be America’s last stand.  I wonder if some type of restorative justice would be appropriate, where those who have negatively impacted our society and the economy via greed or what-have-you–be it individuals, corporations, those who have been bailed out, etc.–can be honest, can be judged, and can ultimately be forgiven so that we can collectively move on.  Seems to me it would help everyone get things off their chest and maybe just maybe, get them to open up and extend a helping hand, and ultimately change cultural behaviors for the better.

playing pepper

Posted in aafb, food, food banks, fun with tags , , , , , on August 20, 2009 by foodbankguy

As it’s a food and a fun little baseball game during these last few hot summer days and nights, I thought playing a little pepper with a few things going on might be appropriate… 

an appropriate pepper mashup

an appropriate pepper mashup

My buddy Chet Provorse runs at ton of kids-related educational events and engagements on behalf of St. Mary’s Food Bank.  He also has a nifty blog–niftier than mine I might add–and one of his recent posts really touches the heart.  Seems that Cody Mitchell, an ambitious 7-year old kid from Glendale, has taken it upon himself to host a huge book sale to benefit the food bank after seeing a similar idea on TV.  And they say TV rots the kids’ brains…

Our friends at Western Refining have graciously decided for a second year in a row to donate 12,000 gallons of diesel fuel to help keep our Arizona Statewide Gleaning Project semi-trucks on the road.  That amount will keep them going for at least six months, and represents a huge donation that helps keep our trucking costs down, as well as those of the food banks who rely on us to help transport food around the state.   AAFB president Ginny Hildebrand was on hand to accept their generous gift:

I hope they have huge debit card readers at their pumps!

I hope they have huge debit card readers at their pumps!

Another good friend of mine with a far superior blog brought this article on fighting hunger to my attention.  Turns out a city in Brazil with a population of 2.5 million people has mostly solved their food insecurity issues by embracing community involvement in government decision making, all the while reducing health costs and mostly eliminating crippling social stigmas that come with people not having enough to eat.  A must read.

There was another great article early this week on how prison inmates are helping out food banks by growing and harvesting vegetables–something that we take advantage of for the aforementioned Arizona Statewide Gleaning Project.  This really is a win/win for communities, hungry people, and inmates who are making an honest effort toward rehabilitation.  As you probably already know, the U.S. incarcerates so many people–more so than any other first-world country, and shamefully in my opinion–that it’s nice to see the ocassional story about something positive coming from that.  And another plug for Ms. Hildebrand, who has a nice quote in the article.

Finally, Hunger Action Month is next month, so start making your plans!  Ladies in particular, Macy’s is calling–soon you’ll be able to purchase tickets that entitle you to sweet discounts while also benefitting your local food bank!

look ma, I’m on tv!

Posted in aafb, food drives, fun with tags , , , on August 13, 2009 by foodbankguy

Bashas’ and 3 TV were both very gracious in granting yours truly some quality face time to talk about the Bashas’ Back-to-School Food and School Supply Drive.  Unfortunately 3 TV’s website won’t let me embed, but follow the links for the fun.  Some people have said I look like a priest, so you know you gotta click!

On Good Morning Arizona

On NatsNews – a cool long-form web-only chat 

Fan mail, appearance demands, baby-kissing invitations, and autograph requests should be sent to…

summertime blues

Posted in aafb, budget, food, food banks, fun, random with tags , , , , , , on August 10, 2009 by foodbankguy

Man, has it been hot lately or what?  Hot enough that this is just nuts! KIDS:  DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!  The heat always seems to get me dragging a bit even though I’m a native, and indeed I have been way too lax in blogging lately.  Certainly there have been worthy things to share, but it’s just finding the time to get to them all… enough wallowing though, and on to interesting things!  Yes?  Yes!

Do you like to eat breakfast for dinner?  I sure do, and I plan to take part in the Hickman’s Eggs PJs & Eggs event this Friday, August 14 at various restaurants around Phoenix… Kiss the Cook in Glendale is where I’ll be, as it’s close to my pad.  Get free eggs, donate pajamas to foster kids, and help benefit Arizona’s Children Association… what more could you want?  Plus you are encouraged to actually wear your pajamas, which on one hand might be a good idea since you’ll get some Halloween-esque practice in, while on the other hand the pajamas I’m wearing in this heat would get me arrested… just don’t get arrested, that’s all I ask.

can your read all this fine print? if not, visit www.thehotsheetblog.com for details and participating locations

can you read all this fine print? no sweat, visit http://www.thehotsheetblog.com for details and participating locations

Fun… or not so fun… factoid: AAFB member food banks distributed an amazing 42.2% more food throughout Arizona in the 2008-09 fiscal year vs. 2007-08.  It’s truly remarkable to see the food banks step up to meet rising demand, but it’s also a sobering indication of just how hard the economy has hit many individuals and families.  We’ve also started hearing more stories like this, which is not good news at all.  Help out if you can.

Did I mention it’s hot outside?  Donate bottled water to your local food bank or homeless shelter because it’s definitely needed, and as an added bonus you’ll feel warm and fuzzy inside, if not actually cooler…

What else… hmmm… oh yeah, the state’s budget situation remains unresolved with little hope of an agreement that actually benefits the majority of Arizonans, food stamp participation is up to record levels–this despite many eligible households not taking advantage,  and it’s still hot.  In the words of my man Conan, be cool my babies!