Tag Archives: hunger

Community Gardens – Growing Hope

Columbus Community Garden © Larry Hamill

Columbus Community Garden © Larry Hamill

An industrial area off W. 5th Ave. seems an unlikely place for a community garden, yet tucked away there lies the East 8th Ave. Faith Mission homeless shelter. Within view of the Rumpke Recycle Center, colorful plastic wading pools dot a small plot of land behind the shelter. Vegetables spring from the soil filled pools – an unexpected use of objects designed for childhood summer fun.

Operated by Lutheran Social Services, the shelter’s garden is overseen by Dr. Job Ebenezer, along with help from church volunteers. The vegetables are planted in pools containing store bought soil, explains Dr. Ebenezer, because of possible ground contamination from nearby industry.

Working to help feed the homeless is just one of Dr. Ebenezer’s gardening projects. He also maintains a community garden at his local church on Morse Road.  Through the Helping Hands Clinic, the church offers free vegetables to parishioners in need and then sells any remaining produce to raise money for Ebenezer’s organization, Technology for the Poor.

Based on the philosophy of George Washington Carver, an African American scientist who taught sustainable agriculture to poor farmers, Ebenezer continues to address the needs of the under served through Technology for the Poor.

Pedal Power

One of his inventions converts a standard bicycle into a device that can shell corn and peanuts, thresh rice, cut wood and pump water.  Visit YouTube to see Pedal Power at work.

For more info on Dr. Ebenezer’s work, visit Technology for the Poor.

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COME+TOGETHER Over Hunger

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Macy’s has joined forces with Feeding America to make supporting Hunger Action Month (September) almost as easy as whipping up one of your grandmother’s old Betty Crocker recipes.

Macy’s COME+TOGETHER campaign rallies the public to host private theme dinner parties and asks dinner guests to pledge a donation to Feeding America, in lieu of bringing a host gift. Macy’s will match donations dollar for dollar until their goal of 10 million meals is reached. Every dollar received enables Feeding America to provide seven meals for those facing hunger.

Macy's CT2

Click on the graphic above and follow the three easy steps to launch your own fund raising party.  Once on Macy’s web page, you’ll be able to…

Create a Profile with your own picture or avatar or use one of Macy’s icons.

Create an Invitation complete with Party Name, Theme and Map.

Create your Guest List by adding individual e-mail addresses or importing your contacts from Facebook or e-mail provider.  (Macy’s site sends the invites via e-mail for you.)

You’ll also be asked to enter your fund raising goal and suggested guest donation, so your party goers will know what is expected of them.

All party planning details can be managed from your COME+TOGETHER Dashboard including…

E-mail Notifications: Save the Date, Day Before Reminder & Thank You

Post Party Payment via credit card on a Feeding America secured web    page

Menu planning tips and recipes are also provided by theme:

Cajun by Emeril Lagasse

Mexican by Rick Bayless

Pizza by Wolfgang Puck

And of course, Martha Stewart, among others.

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Feeding America is the nation’s leading hunger-relief charity. It is affiliated with more than 200 food banks, including Columbus’ own Mid-Ohio Foodbank, and supplies food to more than 25 million Americans each year, including 9 million children and 3 million seniors.

Feeding America’s web site also has a link just for kids entitled, Be A Hunger Helper. It includes a video of the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs film characters and a guideline on How-To Write Your Congressperson to encourage support for fighting hunger in America.

This is Buckeye Country – COME TOGETHER

And turn your next Football Party into a fundraiser!


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Mid-Ohio Foodbank Welcomes Home Gardeners

 Jalapenos © Pamela J. Willits

Jalapenos at Mid-Ohio Foodbank © Pamela J. Willits

Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s This Is Hunger brochure sums it up best – Hunger is not a one-organization issue, it’s a community issue.

As part of the local gardening community, I recently bundled up the surplus from my home garden and delivered it to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s warehouse on West Mound street.

There I had the opportunity to spend some time with Christina Christian, MOFB’s digital marketing manager. The Mid-Ohio Foodbank jumped on the social media marketing train long before must of us realized it had already left the station.

With a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter, Christina spends a portion of her day promoting fund raisers and food drives through social media. On-line networking sites have expanded their audience, helping to broadcast their message beyond the reach of their mailing list.

Since the economic downturn, the Mid-Ohio Foodbank has seen a 30% increase in need. Serving as a distribution point, the MOFB supplies food to more than 500 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and senior housing sites in central and eastern Ohio.

The statistics are staggering. Forty-four percent of those in need have had to choose between food and heat or electricity, twenty-nine percent have had to choose between food and shelter, thirty-eight percent of all requests involve children and fourteen percent are for senior citizens.

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The good news is that their weighty commitment has them handling over 30 million pounds of food each year. And for every dollar they receive from donors, they distribute $8 worth of groceries. Thanks to the value of their non-profit status buying power, they’ve elevated stretching the dollar to an art form.

Come this October, the Mid-Ohio Foodbank will be stretching those dollars even further as they move into a new LEED certified (environmental friendly) warehouse in Grove City. The move will also triple their storage space.

My Garden Tomatoes © Pamela J. Willits

My Garden Tomatoes © Pamela J. Willits

So, while it’s too late to re-think this year’s backyard garden, it’s never too early to start planning for how you could expand your existing garden to create a surplus to share next summer. And between now and then, the Mid-Ohio Foodbank will still welcome any donation of fresh produce.

For up-to-date info and events, Join their Fan Page on Facebook, Follow them on Twitter @Mid_OHFoodbank or Call 614.274.7770.

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Non-Profits and Social Media – A Cycle for Change

If you’re in the non-profit sector and still aren’t sure how or if your organization can benefit from social media, consider the following story.

In addition to this blog, I also oversee and write content for Larry Hamill Photography’s blog. Last weekend, he photographed ZombieWalk Columbus 2009, as part of his ongoing documentation of Columbus events. Turns out the walk benefited the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, so naturally I linked to the organization in Larry’s blog post about ZombieWalk.

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Once on their website, I followed the link to their Twitter feed. There I learned that if you shop at Kroger, you can use your Plus Card to benefit the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

Scrolling down their list of tweets, I also discovered FOODFIGHT 6.30, a partnership between the Central Ohio Restaurant Association and Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s Operation Feed. It’s a hunger initiative scheduled to take place on Tuesday, June 30. Participating member restaurants will donate 5% of their sales receipts from that day to Operation Feed, a community-wide food and funds drive.

The event is part virtual food drive, so if you can’t visit a participating restaurant on June 30, you can still help by making an online donation. All donations will help provide food for the hungry in central and eastern Ohio.

Lastly, there was a tweet about ZombieWalk. The numbers weren’t in yet, but word on the street, or at least in the ethers, was that it was a great success. I learned quite a bit – all from a blog posting about zombies. Zombies who had their heads on straight when they created a MySpace page titled ZombieWalk, to promote their fund raising event.

When I log off my blog site in the few minutes, I’ll log into my Twitter account to post a tweet of my own about this blog post, completing the cycle social media tools afford us to help spread our messages for social change.

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