Monday, December 28, 2009

Feeding the Hungry

"The Gratis Cafe"

This is more of a brain storming post intended to explore some possibilities for aiding the hungry and homeless in Fort Collins. I read an article in the Collegian some days ago about students who dumpster-dive for perfectly good discarded food, mostly bagged day-old bagels and dented tinned foods from grocery stores. I also saw recently a *documentary of a zen chef from Tassajara Mountain Center in San Francisco, in which the center delivers leftovers (and their leftovers are quite exquisite) in little white Asian take-out boxes to homeless folks around the city. Both have got me thinking about how I could be of greater service to my impoverished compatriots.

If there were one or two free public locations with tables and chairs, near downtown, and appropriate for all weathers, a dedicated group of at least 15 volunteers able to pick-up and transport food donations and prepare meals, and a willing supply of discarded food donations from local supermarkets, food shops, and bakeries, donations of produce from local CSA's and home gardens, and individual contributions, a free "cafe" could be conceivable.

If anyone is interested in discussing how this idea could be put into action, please call, e-mail or comment on this post.

Kristianne Gale

*"How to Cook Your Life" with Zen chef Edward Espe Brown


Ani said...

This is the purpose that the "food not bombs" organization serves in most communities. For some reason, in Fort Collins they do it differently, having a pantry (Susan's garage) which requires people to own a kitchen in order to make use of it. In Eugene, for example, the volunteers collect the food from the stores and restaurants, cook it together, and then serve it at a "feeding" in a park for homeless and impoverished folks a few times every week. Maybe getting in touch with your local "food not bombs" people would be a good start to make this happen. Here is the link to my local one here, so you can read what they do.

Kristianne said...

Thanks Ani. Food not Bombs is a good place to start. i have been to several FNB pot-lucks and it seemed the gatherings were comprised mainly of progressive-minded students and not many homeless, but perhaps it is different now(I should speak with Susan). I was thinking that it would be nice to have a gathering place for the truly homeless and impoverished where students and volunteers provide the food, possibly having community dances, quizes, etc. I look forward to reading about FNB in Eugene.

Wind said...

I just saw a man in Silver pulled over in his pick-up truck and he had a bunch of rubbermaids with lids in the back. A woman walked up to his truck and he opened the rubbermaid and took out some food such as rolls or tortillas and started to fill her bag. I thought of this post, I'm sure there are infinite possibilities for how this could look. If people know where to find you at the regular spot on the regular day or whatever, I bet you could get a reputation for good free food giveaway. I wish I were there to do this with you. Thank you for your intent, and for manifesting it.

Kristianne said...

You are brilliant, Wind. There is a woman at the Coop who had an article written about her dumpster-diving finds. it seems it is a "hobby" for her and her boyfriend. I think I'll talk to her about where the best dumpsters are and try to score the throw-aways from the shops before they get binned. I like the trunk full of goodies idea! And i want to start just cooking up pots of beans and rice, soups or stews to serve-up to the folks on the street who need it. Any ideas about what to serve the food in that would not create too much waste and that I could afford? Maybe reusable plastic dishes from goodwill or something along those lines?

Wind said...

my first thought was to use recycled yogurt, salsa, butter, deli containers. After all that's what is readily available and abundant in everyone's cupboards. You'd have no problem having enough of them with no cash spent.
Keep me posted.
Feed the hungry.