Welcome to Divine Spark's website!

We provide support & guidance for people in-need without regard to gender, race, creed, age, or calling to activate the divine spark within each of them. We offer a Weekly Meal Program, allocation of donated Motor Vehicles & Bicycles, Pet Food & Veterinarian Care, Legal & Job Referral Help, and Meal/Food Vouchers are just a part of the assistance we provide. Here's the latest happenings...

Sunday Morning Meal & Voucher Program

Once a week Divine Spark and volunteers offer a prepared meal from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on Sunday mornings at the front steps of the Divine Spark office at 308 Main Street in Nevada City. Food Vouchers, which has been donated from local merchants & eateries for meals, are offered to the hungry as well. Gently-used clothing, and dog food for Pets, is also available.

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23 Food Sharing Projects That Are Disrupting Hunger

by Cat Johnson
29 July 2014
www.shareable.net/blog/23-food-sharing-projects-that-are-disrupting-hunger

Food is one of our most basic needs. And yet, for over 800 million people, food insecurity remains a daily issue. While top-down programs that address hunger certainly exist, more efficient, immediate solutions are sometimes found on the community level, where neighbors directly help neighbors.

We’ve rounded up 23 food projects that are transforming communities by feeding the hungry, educating people about healthy eating and food justice issues, and providing opportunities for people to grow their own food.

Reverse Food Truck1. Reverse Food Truck (finnegans.org/reverse-food-truck/)

Bringing an altruistic twist to the food truck trend, Finnegan’s Reverse Food Truck in Minnesota collects food and donations to give to the hungry. The team is currently working to collect $50,000 in non-perishable food by November. Read more.

2. Food is Free (foodisfreeproject.org)

Demonstrating the value of both growing food and building community, the Food is Free project in Austin, teaches people how to grow food in their front yards using raised garden beds made from salvaged materials and drought-tolerant, low-maintenance vegetable plants. The resulting harvests are free for anyone in the community. Read more.

Plant a Fruit3. Plant a Fruit plantafruit.org

Working to make Kenya a food secure, environmentally friendly country, Plant a Fruit, well, as the name suggests, plants fruit trees. In addition to providing food using smart, ecologically-sound techniques, the organization trains “agripreneurs,” serves as a network, and increases the amount of organic food consumed in Kenya.

4. Milk Not Jails (milknotjails.wordpress.com)

This cooperative, comprising formerly incarcerated people, dairy farmers, criminal justice advocates and more works to end upstate New York’s investment in mass incarceration. By selling the Milk Not Jails brand of dairy products, sourced from farmers who support the transition of the area’s prison industrial complex into a revitalized agricultural economy, the organization creates income for struggling dairy farmers, cooperative work for formerly incarcerated people, and food for New Yorkers.

5. Green Hands Project (greenhandsproject.com)

The Green Hands Project in Sacramento, California provides food solutions and gardening training to disadvantaged people by turning unused lots into organic gardens.

The Kitchen Library6. The Kitchen Library (thekitchenlibrary.ca)

The first of its kind in Canada, the Kitchen Library in Toronto is a library for kitchen appliances including mixers, juicers, dehydrators, pasta makers, ice cream makers and more. Photo: Colin McConnell/Toronto Star

7. Rust Belt Riders Composting (rustbeltriderscomposting.com)

Based in Cleveland, this bicycle-powered, worker owned cooperative picks up food scraps from your home, business or event and pedals them off to be composted. The project supports 300-plus community gardens, a tool lending library and 15 local farmers’ markets.

8. Ujamaa Freedom Market (ujamaafreedommarket.wordpress.com)

A worker-owned cooperative mobile market, the Ujamaa Freedom Market sells local produce and healthy prepared foods to under-served communities in Asheville, North Carolina. The vision for the project is to feed and nourish the whole community and to promote social, economic, environmental, and food justice.

Santa Barbara Food Independence Co-Operative9. Santa Barbara Food Independence Co-Operative (foodindycoop.com)

The Food Independence Co-Operative (Food Indy Co-Op) is a worker-owned cooperative that provides educational work and food sharing opportunities in local gardens, orchards and farms. Members are paid in Santa Barbara Missions, the local complementary currency, which can be used to buy produce as well as meals at local restaurants and cafeterias.

10. grOCAD (grocad.tumblr.com)

grOCAD is a group of Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) students, faculty and staff working to “increase healthy food accessibility, encourage discourse about how plants improve quality of life, and heighten awareness to urban agricultural practices.” They do this by cultivating areas in and around OCAD’s campus. Projects include an aquaponic window farm, a learning zone hydroponic farm, a vertical farm and various workshops.

Burrito Riders11. Burrito Riders (burritoriders.org)

The Burrito Riders have provided over 10,000 breakfast burritos to the homeless in Huntington, West Virginia. But the burrito is just a way to meet people--the real goal is to “connect with the people...and to show them, through a building of relationships, that they are valued and respected.”

12. Food 4 Social Change (www.food4socialchange.com)

With a vision to “create jobs by assisting food entrepreneurs to fulfill their dreams of a bold and vibrant business community,” Food 4 Social Change is a Bay Area kitchen incubator, described as a business incubator with a kitchen attached. Services offered include culinary skills training, life skills classes, entrepreneur workshops and more. There’s a particular focus on helping the homeless, ex-cons and at-risk youth.

Shore Soup13. Shore Soup (shoresoupproject.org)

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Shore Soup was created as a grassroots way to get food to those who needed it. A network of over 400 volunteers was created to serve meals to homebound seniors, families without access to healthy food, individuals living in public housing and those who were displaced by the storm. The project continues to thrive and has, since its inception, delivered over 50,000 free healthy meals throughout the Rockaway community.

14. People’s Kitchen Detroit (www.peopleskitchendetroit.org)

The People’s Kitchen has a mission to provide access to affordable, healthy, local and bulk foods, to share skills and knowledge about preparing healthy meals, to demonstrate the health benefits of healthy eating, and to support local growers. By doing so, they increase food security, encourage community involvement, and deepen people’s connection to the earth. Projects include skillshares and cookshares, a member-owned cooperative food buying club, and a healing garden. Read more.

Urban Fruit Trail15. Los Angeles Urban Fruit Trail (fallenfruit.org/news/fallen-fruit-and-hola-grow-las-first-urban-fruit-trail)

In an effort to transform the neighborhoods surrounding downtown Los Angeles, organizers are creating the Urban Fruit Trail, a walkable network-in-progress of fruit trees. The trees, along with accompanying art created by local youth, will be geotagged and available in a free app. Read more.

16. Boulder Food Rescue (www.boulderfoodrescue.org)

With a vision to create a more just and less wasteful food system, Boulder Food Rescue recovers perfectly good food that would otherwise go to the landfill and distributes it to local agencies that feed the homeless and low-income communities. The cherry on top is that 80 percent of the project's pickup and delivery is done by bicycle. Read more.

Cropmobster17. Cropmobster (sfbay.cropmobster.com)

Food waste is not just a problem with grocers and food stores; it can be an issue on farms as well. Nick Papadopolous, general manager of Bloomfield Farms in Sonoma County, Ca. decided to do something about that. He founded Cropmobster, a platform designed to connect farmers with extra food to organizations that can use it. A double-win, Cropmobster addresses hunger and food waste and strengthens the connection between farmers and the local community. Read more.

18. Open Food Foundation (openfoodfoundation.org)

The Open Food Foundation, based in Australia, aims to "develop and protect a commons of open source knowledge, code, applications and platforms for fair and sustainable food systems." What this means is that they're working to build and strengthen networks and organizations dedicated to food justice and sustainability issues using the open source ethos. Read more.

Green Carts19. New York Green Carts (www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/living/greencarts.shtml)

Mobile carts that sell affordable fruits and vegetables in areas of New York City considered food deserts, Green Carts were introduced in 2008 to help fight high childhood obesity rates. The carts bring culturally-appropriate fresh foods to people who otherwise have limited access to them. Read more. Photo: Illumination Fund

20. Gardening for Good (ggardeningforgood.com)

Based in Greenville, South Carolina, Gardening for Good is a network of community gardens whose members work together to further the community garden movement, create better neighborhoods and improve community health through gardening. By doing so, the network builds stronger communities, encourages civic engagement and provides access to healthy, affordable, culturally appropriate foods.

Food Recovery Network21. Food Recovery Network (www.foodrecoverynetwork.org)

A quickly-expanding, multi-university project, the Food Recovery Network redirects campus food headed for the landfill and distributes it to local organization working to address hunger. Originally formed at the University of Maryland, College Park, the network now includes nearly 100 colleges in 26 states. Read more.

22. Agrihoods (www.shareable.net/blog/12-agrihoods-taking-farm-to-table-living-mainstream)

Neighborhoods intentionally created around community farms, agrihoods build community, promote healthy and sustainable food production, encourage the sharing of resources and more.

Yard Sharing Network23. Yard Sharing Network (letsgochicago.org/projects/yard-sharing-network)

A project of Let’s Go Chicago, an organization that brings gardening and community-based programs together, the Yard Sharing Network connects people with under-used land with community members looking for a place to grow food. Growers and homeowners divide the produce with local food distribution organizations.

American Hunger, by the Numbers

By Tracie McMillan
17 July 2014
Civil Eats

As I report in next month’s National Geographic feature, “The New Face of Hunger,” millions of American families are struggling with a new kind of hunger. Some of the increase can be traced to a change in definition; in the 1960s, America equated hunger with physical starvation. By the 2000s, though, researchers started asking whether people were skipping meals because they couldn’t afford to eat, coining the term “food insecurity” to replace hunger. And with wages stagnating and public support of commodity crops far exceeding that for produce, the number of food insecure Americans now far outstrips the number of those who were ever counted as “hungry.” But don’t take my word for it: The numbers speak for themselves.

HOW BAD IS THE NEW AMERICAN HUNGER?

• Millions of people hungry in the U.S. in 1968   10

• Millions of people food insecure in the U.S. in 2012   49

• Ratio of hungry Americans to fed in 1968   1:20

• Ratio of food insecure Americans to fed in 2012    1:6

WHICH AMERICANS ARE HUNGRY?

• Share of American children who receive food assistance by age 20   1:2 

• Percent of food insecure households who were white in 2012   53

• Percent of food insecure households who were black in 2012   21

• Percent increase in suburban food stamp use from 2007 to 2012   200

WHY ARE THEY HUNGRY?

• Percent decrease in inflation-adjusted federal minimum wage since 1968    34 

• Percent of food-insecure households with at least one full- or part-time worker    75

• Share of food-insecure households that did not receive public food assistance in 2012    2:5

WHAT’S GOVERNMENT DOING ABOUT HUNGER?

• Percent of USDA budget spent on food and nutrition programs    72

• Maximum per-meal food stamp benefit, in dollars, for a single person   2.38

• Per-meal increase, in dollars per addition person, for food stamp benefits    1.79

WHY IS PROCESSED FOOD SO COMMON?

• Percent of USDA budget spent on agricultural subsidies   16 

• Billions of dollars in federal funding spent to subsidize commodity crops in 2012    10.8 

• Billions of dollars in federal funding spent to subsidize fruits and vegetables in 2011   1.6

• Ratio of federal funding for commodity crops to fruits and vegetables   7:1

• Approximate ratio of recommended consumption of grains to that for fruits and vegetables   1:2

• Percentage increase in price of fruits and vegetables since 1980s 24

• Percentage decrease in price of sweetened beverages since 1980s  27

• Percentage drop in time spent cooking by working and non-working low-income women 35

• Percent of monthly food budget spent to cook at home by poorest American households: 70

• Percent of monthly food budget spent to cook at home by richest American households: 50

Tracie McMillan is the author of The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table, a Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, and a Koeppel Journalism Fellow at Wesleyan University. You can follow her on Twitter at @TMMcMillan

Bus becomes mobile shower for San Francisco’s homeless

The money to refurbish the bus came from private donations, including Google, whose employee buses in San Francisco have attracted protesters who view them as a symbol of economic inequality and gentrification.
 
by Haven Daley
The Associated Press
Originally published Sunday, July 20, 2014 at 5:49 PM
from The Seattle Times

SAN FRANCISCO — A nonprofit group is taking a novel approach to helping the homeless in San Francisco with a new bus that allows them to take a shower.

The former public-transit bus has been outfitted with two full private bathrooms and offers hot showers, clean toilets, shampoo, soap and towels free of charge.

The founder of the nonprofit Lava Mae mobile shower bus said she wanted to return dignity to those living on the streets.

“If you’re homeless, you’re living on the streets and you’re filthy, you’re trying to improve your circumstances, but you can’t interview for a job, you can’t apply for housing and you get disconnected from your sense of humanity,” Doniece Sandoval said. “So a shower just in of itself is amazing for people.”

Lava Mae says the bus can go to homeless people scattered throughout the city. And having a facility on wheels eliminates the potential for rent hikes and evictions in a city with high real-estate prices.

A homeless survey in 2013 counted more than 6,400 homeless people in the city.

San Francisco officials are testing a similar mobile toilet program in the struggling Tenderloin district, where complaints about human waste are common. The toilets will be available at three locations from 2 p.m. through 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, then removed and taken off site to be cleaned, the city’s public-works department said.

The $75,000 cost to refurbish the Lava Mae bus was provided by private donations, including from technology giant Google, whose employee buses in San Francisco have attracted protesters who view them as a symbol of economic inequality and gentrification. The city allows Lava Mae to use fire hydrants for water.

Ralph Brown, 55, a military veteran who has been homeless for about a year, took a shower on Lava Mae’s bus on its first day of service last month. It was his first shower in several days.

“When people move away from you on the bus, it’s time to take a shower,” he said.

Some homeless shelters in the city have showers, but they can have long waits. The Lava Mae bus also provides relaxing music.

“Being inside there is kind of a trip because it’s pretty high-tech and kind of ingenious,” Brown said. “Basically, I just feel a lot better.”

Sandoval said that’s the reaction she sees from many people who use the bus.

“Their faces are just beaming,” she said. “They’re so incredibly grateful. It’s a great feeling to just be able to offer people something so simple and yet so vital,” she said.

The Gold Country Gleaners are Collecting and Donating Produce

by Hilary Hodge, Gold Country Gleaners
Published on 14 July 2014
www.yubanet.com

The Gold Country Gleaners, an all-volunteer organization that pairs resources of excess food with people in need, had to hit the ground running this year. With the warmer-than-usual spring, many farmers and gardeners have seen a bumper crop early in the season. The Gold Country Gleaners are already picking up food from farms and delivering it to local food pantries and non-profit organizations that help those in need in Nevada County.

The Gold Country Gleaners in Nevada County is dedicated to feeding the hungry with local food resources. "The Gleaners", as they are often called, coordinate people who are willing to pick food with people who have fruits and vegetables to donate. Farmers, ranchers, and even individuals with a single tree or just a few extra zucchini plants are welcome to participate. The Gleaners will pick extra produce and donate the food to local organizations that support the hungry. Those organizations include The Food Bank, Women of Worth, The Salvation Army, Interfaith Food Ministry, the San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center, and more.

"We are used to working seasonally and donating whatever is in season," says Hilary Hodge, one of the core volunteers and pick leaders for the Gold Country Gleaners. "But this year is going to be interesting. We are already seeing donations of squash, something that usually comes later in the summer. I'm worried that this remarkably hot and dry year will be hard on food resources in Nevada County, especially toward the end of summer and into fall." Hodge has been a Gleaners volunteer and core member since she moved to Nevada County three years ago.

The Gleaners have donated nearly a ton of fruits and vegetables already this year but the need for donations is always present and growing. Most of the recipient organizations that the Gleaners donate to have been working to expand their scope. Women of Worth, which receives boxes of vegetables every week in the summer from the Gleaners, courtesy of Mountain Bounty Farm, is now serving more women and children than ever. The Interfaith Food Ministry, another donation drop-off for the Gleaners, moved to a new location this year, has more clients now than last year. The Gold Country Gleaners have relied on local farmers and gardeners, whose generosity has exceeded expectations in past years.

"We are very grateful to Hilary and the Gleaners for taking our extra produce and making sure it goes to people who need it," says Mountain Bounty Farm's John Tecklin. "As the largest vegetable farm in Nevada County, we generate a lot of extra produce. The Gleaners have arrived at our farm every week for the past 3-4 years, taking on the huge task of distributing all that food."

The Gleaners have a strong volunteer base and can serve almost every corner of Nevada County. To arrange a pick or to get more information, please call the Gold Country Gleaners at (530) 264-8680 or email goldcountrygleaners@gmail.com.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

Cost Of Military Jet Could House Every Homeless Person In U.S. With $600,000 Home

By Robbie Couch
11 July 2014, 8:40 am EDT
The Huffington Post

A cleaner (R) sweeps the floor next to a replica of Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jet at the exhibition centre ahead of the Singapore's Airshow on February 9, 2014. Asia's top aerospace and defence show opens on February 11 in Singapore with major global arms makers seeking to cash in on rising military spending as territorial disputes escalate in the region. AFP PHOTO / ROSLAN RAHMAN via Getty Images

It's no news that a large portion of our federal tax dollars goes towards defense spending. But your jaw might drop at the cost of the newest jet manufactured by the U.S. military, and just how much good could have been achieved domestically with the same price tag.

The $400 billion program to create a fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets, which, as The Hill points out, is seven years behind schedule and chronically plagued with misfortunes and incompetencies, could have housed every homeless person in the U.S. with a $600,000 home.

The staggering fact, configured by Think Progress, is just one of several figures the news source put into perspective for taxpayers. For example, the amount spent per year to build the F-35 jets could easily fulfill a $16.7 billion request by the United Nations Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs to save countless lives from preventable causes around the world — and then have enough left over to fund UNICEF's budget request, too. The full cost of the jets program could also fund the National School Lunch Program, which feeds about 31 million students annually, for the next 24 years.

The mind-boggling cost for a fleet of F-35 jets exemplifies what Steven Conn would consider a military budget that doesn't have much of a positive impact on everyday Americans.

"Spending our taxes on the military doesn't yield much to make our lives or our communities better," Conn, a professor and Director of the Public History Program at Ohio State University, wrote on a HuffPost blog in April. "Big weapons systems and overseas military installations, to say nothing of feckless military adventures in Vietnam or Iraq, have done very little to fix our roads, improve our kids' education, or push the boundaries of medical research."

According to data provided by the Office of Management and Budget, the federal government spent roughly 19 times more on defense and international security assistance than it did on education in 2013. A graph created by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation illustrates that the U.S. spends more on defense than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, the U.K., Germany, Japan and India combined.

Divine Spark Wishes to Thank the Community for All of the Wonderful Support it has Received to Make this Past Year Shine

A Letter of Thanks from Our Executive Director

...AS I REFLECT on this past year and on the passing of Thomas Streicher, the founder of Divine Spark, I feel a sense of deep loss and grief. Not only did he leave us with the blessing of his creation, Divine Spark – a non-profit serving the disenfranchised, he also left us the blueprint of service with love, compassion, and non-judgment. This journey has served to deepen mine, and others connections to that very Divine Spark that can be found within ourselves and in each other. It has been a healing journey to continue his life's work and to stay connected to Thomas's presence which lives on in the work of coming together in community to help those in need. The Board of Divine Spark would like to give thanks to all the volunteers and community members that enabled Divine Spark to continue in helping those in need in our community. Since the tragic death of Thomas Streicher many people have come forward to keep his work alive. So many volunteers are helping to sustain this environment of sharing, thus forming community. Special thanks go out to Law Offices of Haley & Bilheimer, B&C Home Center, SPD Markets, Save Mart Supermarkets, BriarPatch Co-op. We thank Jim Bell, Stephanie and Quique Barletta for their on-going support along with the many people who have handed me an envelope of cash donations --wishing to remain anonymous. We are grateful for the participation of local restaurants involving themselves in our voucher program -- Subway, SPD Markets, Save Mart Supermarkets, Fudenjüce, California Organics, and The Fix.

~~

Sunday Morning Meal at Divine SparkA BIG THANKS to volunteers who came with food on Sundays, bringing clothing, and who continue to lend support for those in need. BRAVO to Gregory and Dave for consistently being there; helping with donations, and in all facets of setup and take down. THANK YOU to Shiloh for your contribution of organizing clothing and helping in so many ways and Lenora for her many contributions, Pete for helping to pick up donations from SPD and Save Mart, Lee Pope for jumping in and organizing the donated hot meals each week, Roger for his ongoing support and donations, and all the volunteers who show up with food, sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, and a helping hand. MANY THANKS to Paul Emery for producing our very successful fundraiser and Concert in October, all the musicians who donated their time and energy, and to Dale Smith for his photographs of Dylan that were raffled off and for his creative efforts in Dylan Concert posters, and invitations to the Christmas Dinner.

~~

THE DIVINE SPARK CHRISTMAS DINNER at the Stone House in Nevada City was indeed special with the help of so many; THANK YOU to Nikko who entrusted us with her beautiful building; Maria who organized the Kitchen, prepared the menu and cooked all of the donated food, and her family who donated their time to help create a very special event; those who cooked turkeys; Steve and Debra, Marge, Roger, Alice, Cathy, and to Bob for cooking his special prime rib; the many people who brought their special side dishes; Carol for the donated Christmas Trees, and use of decorations; Magickal Florist for the festive flower donation, and Grass Valley Florist; Prospector's Nursery for the lovely Poinsettias; Flour Garden Bakery for yummy pies and treats; California Organics for the donated food and organic Turkeys; Natural Selection for the donated produce; BriarPatch Co-op for the Turkeys cash coupon; and to SPD Markets for the generous donation of food. A SPECIAL THANKS to Jessee for staying late and mopping the kitchen and dining room floors, and Grogory who was there from beginning to end helping to leave the building sparkling clean. Shirley Kinghorn, Executive DirectorMUSICAL THANKS to Annie McCann, Jeffrey, Lawrence, Mario, Bob and all the musicians that gifted us with their music.

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OF GREATEST IMPORTANCE was the experience of warm feelings, love, and camaraderie being shared by and through the people. The Spirit of Christmas remains alive, and well at this annual community event ...A legacy and inspiration for all; with continuing gratitude going out to Divine Spark's founder, Tomas Streicher, whose presence was very much felt. And, finally, thank you to everyone who through their encouragement and support this past year gave me the courage to continue the vital and rewarding work of Divine Spark.

Shirley Kinghorn, Executive Director

'Stunning' Data Proves, Yet Again, Housing The Homeless Would Actually Save Taxpayers Big Time

by Robbie Couch
22 May 2014
Updated: 23 May 2014
The Huffington Post


Letting homeless people sleep on the streets has never made sense morally. Now, more evidence has surfaced showing it doesn't make much sense financially either.

"The numbers are stunning," Andrae Bailey, the CEO of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, told the Orlando Sentinel. "Our community will spend nearly half a billion dollars [on the chronically homeless], and at the end of the decade, these people will still be homeless."

Bailey is referring to numbers recently found by Creative Housing Solutions, which tracked public expenditures on local homeless people in the Central Florida region. Because of costs like frequent emergency room visits, hospital admissions and repeated arrests for homeless-related crimes, the analysis estimated each homeless person costs taxpayers $31,065 each year. To put that into perspective, providing the chronically homeless with permanent housing and case managers to supervise them would be about $10,000 per person each year.

As astounding as those numbers may seem, the data isn't as groundbreaking as you might think.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte released a study in March that found housing chronically homeless adults produced a 78 percent reduction in emergency room costs -- a price tag that would have eventually been passed on to the taxpayer -- the Charlotte Observer reported. The numbers also showed the previously homeless tenants in the study spent 84 percent fewer days in jail, largely due to a decrease in crimes like loitering and begging.

Caroline Chambre, director of HousingWorks for Urban Ministry, which runs permanent housing programs for the homeless, said the study was proof that perceptions of the homeless are not always accurate.

"You can’t argue with the statistics," Chambre had told the Charlotte Observer. "This approach was controversial at one time because of the stereotype of who the homeless are, and we had to change that stereotype."

Volunteers & Donations Needed

Help Divine Spark assist People in need by making a donation of the following:

Motorhome Donations, Too!

The gift of a running vehicle can touch the life of a homeless/houseless person in many positive ways, such as providing basic security and shelter. Your donation of a car, van, or motorhome can also create a greater potential for job opportunities, and the possibility for relocation and/or reunion with friends and family members.

Trish & Skip in front of their donated Home,
December 2011. (click on the image to see a larger view)

A van donation will change someone's Life.
Smaller vehicles ok. Bicycles, too!

A Visual Depiction Of Exactly How Much Food You Waste (VIDEO)

by Sarah Barness
22 April 2014
Updated: 23 April 2014 11:59 am EDT
The Huffington Post

It's easy to love most everything about food -- its nutritional value and the tasty experiences it give us, and the way it bring us all together. But we must take this opportunity to apologize to our food.

Why?

For wasting it, squandering it in super markets, offering too much of it and throwing away leftovers and rejecting it for small imperfections.

Every year, Americans throw away nearly half their food, costing the country about $165 billion annually. According to an Natural Resources Defense Council report, an American family of four will end up throwing away an equivalent of up to $2,275 annually in food.

"Part of the problem is that on average, I spend a smaller fraction of my household budget on you [food] than in any other country or any other time in history," says a food lover in the video above. "…my spending is spread out over days or weeks so I don't notice the cost of wasting you. But my lack of noticing adds up."

Starting now, we must all take personal responsibility to be more mindful of our consumption and waste. If we all did this, perhaps food can eventually accept our collective apology.

Gratitude Bowls Feed Body & Soul

by Diana Pasquini
San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center
April 2014 Newsletter

Stormy May

Made from excess food and simple ingredients, Gratitude Bowls are meals that are prepared at local restaurants and made available for free to people in need. Participating restaurants are reimbursed by fundraising efforts so that they can continue to buy, prepare, and serve nourishing food in our community. Gratitude Bowls founder Stormy May (pictured right) explained that the inspiration for this project evolved from her love of horses. “I work with horses. I spent many years training horses for sport and pleasure and eventually realized that the horses were being harmed by riding and training. I spent a few years promoting the idea of a sanctuary for horses so that they could live more natural lives, not controlled by humans, except for what's absolutely necessary for their safety and health. I tried to promote this way of being with horses. Then I realized that human consciousness would need to change. In a more peaceful world we would not be forcing horses to do what we want. The breakthrough came when I realized that I needed to help humans. If people feel cared for, they care for others and realize the kinship between all living things.”

Matteos Public with Gratitude Bowls

Believing that the elimination of the fear of hunger by “providing a bowl of good food when needed” would help achieve her vision of a kinder world, Stormy “searched my mind to find a niche that hadn't been explored.” She realized that restaurants were “the perfect places to do this because they already have the ovens, the chefs, and the food.” As a result of her efforts, two Nevada County eateries now provide Gratitude Bowls to those who are in need of a meal. Participating restaurants are the Ridge Café in North San Juan, and Matteo's Public in Nevada City with other restaurants planning to start serving Gratitude Bowls in the coming months.

Those who wish to help support Gratitude Bowls will find prominently displayed donation boxes in each of the participating restaurants. Diners are encouraged to contribute any amount to help cover the additional costs of feeding the hungry. Stormy May is firm in her resolve. “We live in an abundant world and are channeling this into feeding people. We value kindness over money.”

If you are hungry and can not afford to eat, you can receive a free Gratitude Bowls meal at the following locations and times:

Gratitude Bowls
  1. The Ridge Cafe - 29318 Hwy 49, North San Juan
    • Monday - Friday, 7:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Saturday - Sunday, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm.
  2. Matteo's Public - 300 Commercial Street, Nevada City
    • Monday - Thursday, 4:00 pm - 9:30 pm
    • Friday - Saturday, 11:30 am - 5:00 pm, 10:00 pm - 11:00 pm
    • Sunday 11:30 am - 9:30 pm (not available on parade days & summer nights).
  3. Java John's - 306 Broad Street, Nevada City
    • Daily 10:30 am - 4:30 pm.
  4. Crazy Horse Saloon & Grill - 230 Commercial Street, Nevada City
    • Monday - Thursday, 11:30 am - 11:00 pm
    • Friday 11:30 am - 12:00 midnite
    • Saturday 9:30 am - 12:00 midnite
    • Sunday 9:30 am - 11:00 pm.

Help us feed our family by donating to Gratitude Bowls at any of the above eateries. Find us on the web at www.gratitudebowls.org

Volunteerism, Charity...
Going Too Far for the Wrong Reasons
by Cheryl Zellers

Toxic Charity, written by Robert D. Lupton, is a book that offers an alternative to “handouts”, a new perspective, albeit a difficult look into the mainstream techniques that most charities run their services for the ever growing population of indigent and poverty stricken folks. Many of us reading this Toxic Charity by Robert D. Lupton newsletter pride ourselves in being able to serve, are full of compassion, and do scrapple with the pros and cons of one way charity. Churches, active individuals, non-profits, food banks, and all forms of charities can so easily fall into the blueprint of our nation – to give and not ask for any reciprocation, however simple. This can be damaging to those receiving the handouts when it becomes a chronic system—key word being chronic.

The issue of one-way giving does not include emergency and short term charity, it focuses upon long term and continual handouts and doing for others what they can ultimately be shown how to do for themselves – and isn’t this true freedom? I believe that the aforementioned book deserves a good look—as it offers us a new paradigm in just HOW can we take that giant step from sincere and heartfelt giving that may not be helping in a way that we imagined it might – to effectively empowering those in our care -- in a way that supports them to do for themselves.

I often sing the song, in my head, or sometimes out loud when it may help others see just how capable they are “I can do anything that you can do—better, I can do anything -- better than you.” We are all given the capabilities of striving for equality in all things, whether it be in taking back our civil rights, raising the bar of what we can do to create change for the better, or in taking that first step in truly caring for oneself and others. Sometimes our lives take a turn down a road or lead us on a journey that may render us incapable of living the life that we had before, or one that we had merely dreamed of living. We must remember that circumstances and timing have so much to do with all things effecting change.

While it is true that we are responsible for each other, we must be careful to do our kind and charitable acts in a way that is supportive to the growth of each individual that we serve. It would be a shame to serve for reasons that aggrandize our own egos, put us in positions that gives us a sense of false power, or that instills a sense of hierarchy between us.

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