Define it

April 24, 2008

funny dog pictures

How many of you looked at this picture and thought get a job, get rid of the dog or go home to your folks? How many of you looked at it and thought these two need help, who can help them? If you are in the second group Cooperative Feeding can help and so can you by volunteering, doing food drives (which can include pet food) or just by spreading the word. If you are in the first group, maybe you need to come spend a little time with us in the food pantry or community kitchen and look at how you define home, need, unconditional.

Looking at this picture we can’t really know anything about this person or his furry companion, but I’m sure we all look at it, make assumptions, and react. None of us know what has brought them here, what other options they might have, or where “here” even is and that’s rather the point. You don’t know.

What I find most intriguing about this picture is that it raises the idea of defining homelessness and what homeless persons (the furry sort too) need or want. I think most Americans think of the homeless rather like this picture. The truth might surprise you.

Many of our homeless clients you would walk by on the street and never know they were living in their car, sleeping on friends’ couches, staying in one of the county’s shelters or living on the streets. Then there are those that have shelter, but worry each month if they will lose it, or perhaps they live with family or in a motel. Not technically homeless, but definitely not housing secure and they too often find themselves not paying utilities or buying food so that they can pay the rent.

They often have jobs, education, families. A health emergency, an accident, a bad decision, an addiction… things that could happen to any of us move them from living pay check to pay check to needing public assistance or being out on the streets. Sometimes what they need isn’t what you think. It could be that getting food stamps would have been enough to put food on the table and pay the rent. Maybe mental health counseling would help them move forward and maybe a beloved dog is what is giving them the stability and love they need to make it through one more day.

Maybe just a bag of dog food a month and a hot meal a day would help these two make it through life a little easier. Maybe just a kind word directing them to a place like Cooperative Feeding is all they need to help re-define home. They seem to have the unconditional part down pretty well.

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Wheee Doggies!

January 2, 2008

Well campers it’s been very busy here at The Cooperative Feeding Program. In November alone we served 11,750 meals and gave out over 3,300 food boxes. Needless to say we were a bit busy. Our web updates, (including our e-newsletter) have been a bit sporadic lately. So, in order to be sure we tell you all the great things going on, thank as many wonderful people as possible, and keep you up to date on hunger, homelessness and social justice issues I’ll be updating the blog, Facebook and MySpace quite often. Get ready!Each update will be fairly short, so if you don’t see yourself, group, or question addressed,wait a bit and see if it doesn’t show up soon. Of course, you can always drop me a note if you think we missed you or someone else. As always feel free to e-mail me (maureen@feedingbroward.org) any pics, videos, or info on your volunteer group activities for The Cooperative Feeding Program.

Oh and you social networking volunteers? I haven’t forgotten you. In fact I’m probably calling you right now…….

Best of all things good and sustainable in 2008!