Beginning January 1 of this year, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles has started a new initiative to “farm the diocese” called Seeds of Hope. I encourage you to read more about the program and vision here. Both the initiative and its founder, Tim Alderson, are impressive, to say the least.
Earlier this week, Slim (Camp Stevens Garden Programs Intern) and I went to the diocese’s Clergy Conference to talk about societal food issues, Camp Stevens food philosophy, our SEEDS program (which isn’t just for teens), and the theology of food. For the last on that list, I was joined for a workshop with The Rev. Julie Morris from The Abundant Table and Devorah Brous from Netiya. They are both amazing women from amazing organizations worth checking out!
Of the many wonderful conversations and ideas I had and heard, one stands out to me – an idea to help educate about food drives. I’d never considered this, but apparently food drives are often designed more for the giver than the recipients. We feel better when we give food, even though it is so often gross, expired, or impossible to prepare without other ingredients (insert picture here of homeless man under a bridge with a box of chocolate cake mix).
So … the next time your organization, youth group, or knitting club wants to do a food drive, try this first: invite everyone to dinner and ask them to bring something to contribute to a food drive. Then, once the food drive food is piled in the basket, announce that whatever is in the basket is dinner. Follow through. Prepare and present the beans, mac & cheese, and cake mix – if you’re lucky. Also open that expired can of artichoke hearts, the creamed corn, and that jar of pumpkin. Dig in.
The most important part of this food drive experiment, of course, is processing it. What did you eat, what did you learn, and what will you do differently to help feed folks who are hungry. Some ideas:
- call the food pantry first to ask what they need
- deliver fresh vegetables and fruit
- plant a garden – even a small one will make an impact – and invite the community to tend, till, and take from the garden.
I’d love to hear your experiences about food drive education as well as the theology of food. If at all, how does your faith, spirituality or religion influence your food choices?
Whim: “sudden idea.” This weekly post promises a number of things: personal thoughts and reflections, showing off Camp Stevens’ programs and staff, announcements for upcoming opportunities, and answering questions or responding to comments “from the audience.” If you have a topic or question you’d like addressed, just e-mail Beth!