Friday, March 6, 2009

"Yes We CANS" Food Drive

I am worried about the economy, and whether people will be safe. I know things are so much better in our country than in other countries. Still, I wonder how people in this country will be able to pay their debts, make ends meet, stay in their homes.... There is stagnation in the air. The Dow is suffering (though it did end up today instead of down).

But what if each one of us did something? Took a step. Made a move. Any move. Anything.

In that spirit, I am taking the step of telling the story of a bunch of CAN-do Texans who decide to do a "Yes We CANS" food drive way back on January 19 - Martin Luther King Jr. Day. There had been a national Call to Service. I actually wrote up an item about it around that time.

Also around that time, I had gotten an email from a Texans-for-Obama group which had decided to use the week surrounding that National Day of Service to collect canned goods. (I was on their email list because I had volunteered in El Paso, Texas during the primaries in March, where I canvassed and volunteered on the Obama Voter Protection Team, with the latter meaing that I observed the voting at the polling location during the day and then a caucus location that night).

The email told me that the Texans-for-Obama had collected 766 pounds of canned food during that one week - a remarkable amount. In their words:
We put our Obama grassroots skills to work and block-walked our neighborhoods for canned food. We also walked in the MLK parade and collected donations at the MLK Festival at Huston-Tillotson University. In total, Austin City Council Members Mike Martinez and Lee Leffingwell sponsored over 1,000 grocery bags for us to fill up with food and deliver to the Capital Area Food Bank. In one week, we've already collected over 766 pounds of food!

So then they thought they'd try for even more:
Given this initial success of the "Yes We CANS Food Drive", we're going to keep the momentum going. Instead of stopping at 766 pounds, we'd like to challenge our fellow Texans to keep collecting food donations through the end of February. Our new goal is to reach one ton of food. Thanks for answer the call to service. 2,000 pounds. We can do this!
The final number has arrived.

The weight of all canned food collected is - drum roll - 3,000 pounds.

That is a lot of food.

All the food went to the Capital Area Food Bank (which will continue to need a hand, for anyone who wants to donate in the future). And while all I did was receive their emails (and keep track of their actions, and post this, and soon circulate this posting to my El Paso email list...) they thanked me anyway:
Thank you for acting upon President Obama's challenge to get involved in community service. In these these difficult times, food donations are even more important as we try to meet the growing hunger challenge. While Obama's bold economic stimulus plan will make a huge difference in turning things around, it's our responsibility to take action on the local level. So if you still have extra food in your cabinet, please continue to support this food drive and help our neighbors in need.
And what did these Texans plan to do next? Plant trees, through a local tree planting organization. (Their February/March weather is nicer than here in Spokane, I presume.)

When I read their news, I remember that things can happen. Energy can move. This country can get itself back up and standing, financially and otherwise.

So this is a challenge I put forth to all of us. Let's follow the lead of these grand-hearted Texans and take our own steps. A food bank in Spokane is Second Harvest Food Bank at 1234 East Front Avenue, 509-534-6678. A food bank in Coeur d'Alene is Community Action Partnership Food Bank at 4929 Industrial Avenue, 208-664-8757 (and here's an article on their current desperate need). Or do something else today that helps out someone else, whether it costs money or not. A small step by each one of us will create ripples of progress across the land.

1 comment:

Amy Everhart said...

Thank you Beth!

This is a beautiful write up and makes me feel so proud of what we were able to do here in Texas. I'm so glad you're still following our actions!

Texans for Obama is moving forward as a more of a service-oriented organization, and hope to do many more activities like this. However, as you may know, there are some particularly aggregious policies being proposed in the Texas legislature, so our political action will have to be in full force as well.

Thank you again for your kind words - I hope folks in Washington are inspired to give back as well.

From Ian, Amy and all of us in Texans for Obama