Powered by Bravenet Bravenet Blog

Subscribe to Journal

2/09/2016

1:17 PM

Test Your Knowledge-Kiwanis Quiz

  • Mood:

It's Quiz Time!

So you think you know everything about Kiwanis. Test yourself here and see how many you get right. Leave your answers in the comment and check back for the answers in a few weeks time. 

1. Sue Petrisin is the first woman president of Kiwanis International (2015-16). Do you know in what year were women allowed full membership in Kiwanis' clubs?
 
A. 1967
B. 1978
C. 1987
 
2. What is the name of the hometown Kiwanis club that president Sue Petrisin has been a part of since 27 years? 
 
A. East Lansing club, Michigan
B. Pike Township club, Indianapolis 
C. Club of Troy, Michigan 
 
3. Craig Melvin was the first African American president of Key Club International in 1996 and Walter Sellers from Ohio, was the first Kiwanis International's African American President. Do you know what year was that?
 
A. 1999
B. 1998
C. 1997
 
4. Canada was the first international country that chartered a Kiwanis club in Hamilton, Ontario in 1916. Then followed Mexico in 1962. Do you know which city chartered the first club in Mexico.
 
A. La Jolla 
B. Tijuana 
C. Chula Vista
 
5. In 1987, first club was formed in Palatka, Florida that had adult members with disabilities. What is this club called?
 
A. Special Olympics
B. Circle Kiwanis International
C. Aktion Club
 
6. UNICEF and KI partnered to eliminate Maternal Neonatal Tetanus together from 2010-2015. Which other project have they worked on together before?
 
A. Eliminate Polio
B. Eliminate Malaria
C. Eliminate TB
 
7. In June, 1968, first KI European club was chartered in Zurich. Who was the first president of KI- E?
 
A. John Button 
B. Jean Ladrierer 
C. Browne
 
8. In what year was the Kiwanis International website launched?
 
A. 2000
B. 1998
C. 1994
 
9. Which is NOT a member of Kiwanis Family?
 
A. Key Bugs
B. Builders Club
C. Kiwanis Kids
 
10. The six permanent objects of KI were approved in Denver in 1924. What other milestone was achieved that day that stays unchanged? 
 
A. Women were allowed full memberships in the club
B. The motto "We Build" was adopted 
C. The name "Kiwanis International" was adopted 
 
Leave your answers in the comment and we will publish the answers soon. Thanks for taking out the time to check your knowledge about Kiwanis. 
0 Comment(s) / Post Comment

12/27/2015

3:17 PM

Another Year Slips By !

  • Mood:

Another year is slipping by, another new year is about to begin. I remember very well when I made that first call in 2009 to enquire about Cyber Kiwanis, and Dr. Marie answered the call. That was the first year of the club too, which I wasn't aware of at that time. Distributing dictionaries to third graders of the Armona school district, doing service projects at Kiwanis Family House in Sacramento and working at the Walking Trail at the Burris Park in Hanford were a few of the earliest service projects performed by Cyber Kiwanis, not forgetting the yearly participation of members in the Miracle Mile of Quarters for the Valley's Children Hospital. 

Over the years, there has been a steady rise in fundraising and volunteering efforts by the club. Our concession at the annual Tulare Ag Expo and the Christmas Day and Veterans Day Parade are a few of the many fundraising opportunities we get each year. This holiday season only, the club was able to raise over $1,100 for the scholarships of graduates who will pass out next year. Thanks to our dedicated  board and the hardworking members and key clubbers, we have been able to come so far. 
 
With the addition of this blog to our website, our outreach to the public has increased tremendously. Now people all over the world know Cyber Kiwanis and want to learn more about Kiwanis. We've had people from foreign countries hear about Kiwanis through us. And that is a big achievement in itself. The more people learn, the more they want to know. 
 
I know I have been lagging behind on this blog, but my personal life has become busier than ever. And that is what a meaningful life is all about. Trying to balance the many venues of life where one can enjoy his family life, get some work done, make friends and not forget the neighbors in the process. 
 
And that's what this season is all about. Being there, taking out the time to show loved ones you care. There are many out there who do not get to feel this feeling, this energy, this love that is in the air. May be because they haven't eaten well in days, or slept under a warm blanket or been hugged by someone. 
 
This particular year, I am very thankful for the many friends I made. They are not just smiling faces, but also have hearts that feel and hands that reach out. These are people who make a difference, who keep others in their hearts and mind. Lives matter to them. 
 
Remember not only to give but be there too. Make your presence felt. Whether it's in your thoughts and prayers, in your kind words or a small gesture. Whoever you are trying to reach, be it someone in your own town, someone on another continent, someone you just don't know, make sure to tell them you are thinking of them. In the moment of despair, sometimes that's all that matters. 
 
Wishing you all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 
0 Comment(s) / Post Comment

11/15/2015

6:15 PM

Is your life, a Story to Tell?

  • Mood:

We have all heard the old adage, “Life is short, go live it.”

The problem is, for a lot of people, it takes an entire life before they start living or not living it. It’s so easy to get stuck doing the everyday mundane tasks, instead of doing what really makes our heart sing.

We spend our lives working our jobs waiting around to live. And when that time arrives, we often end up on the porch lamenting about all those things we didn’t do.

The moment, when life offers us the opportunity to experience something new, we usually allow our conditioned thoughts of fear, failure and doubt to get in the way and we continue doing what we know. This is known as the safe route, which at times is a beneficial route, but not if you want to live an enriched life.

I believe that life is all about memories and simply overcoming fear and doubt, in order to experience and create new memories, can make our life a story to tell.

When you think like this, fear tends to take a back seat and life becomes the driver. The philosophy, "Live your life so it's a story to tell" has given me many experiences, and as a result, lots of insightful wisdom I can share with others. This has been a huge builder of courage for me. It helps me step up to the plate and just do whatever it is I am fearful to do, or complacent about.

I’ve also found that it is most empowering, as it helps me to get over challenging times in life. When things go wrong, I often think, “Well, I guess, I’ve now got a story to tell.”

It is so empowering that it allows me to get over things and drop the baggage that I would otherwise carry around with me for years. It helps me to move on, learn from my mistakes and take something positive from the negative.

Enriching my life with a life long commitment to learning and rewarding myself by expanding my contentment is my story to tell.

The next time you are faced with a decision or an opportunity to do something a little different, out of the box, or outside your comfort zone, take control of your fears and doubts by saying, “At least it will be a story to tell!”

Email your story at taimee_82@yahoo.com. 

Cast your vote here...

0 Comment(s) / Post Comment

11/08/2015

5:49 PM

We, the Kiwanians

  • Mood:

Kiwanians have always been known for their service and dedication to improving the lives of others. We make a difference. We bring about change, and we are the people who change other people’s lives.

The famous anthropologist, Margaret Mead, said, “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For indeed, that’s all who ever have.”

I believe that each one of us is a powerful instrument of change. I see people are hungry to change their lives, but many people simply don't know where to begin. Life is too overwhelming, and they are told throughout their life that they are failures, and aren't  good enough to achieve success and realize their dreams.

And, most people don’t have anyone to believe in them, who can encourage them to take those few hesitant steps forward in the right direction, and start changing their life.

And we, Kiwanians, don’t accept that model of how the world works. We believe in making a difference, and bringing about change, one person at a time.

I am a strong believer in teaching by example, and the power of mentoring. Every one of us needs a strong person in our corner, someone who is our champion, our cheerleader, someone who believes in us, and where we are going.

When I was growing up, throughout my life, I had the benefit of strong, compassionate people. People who believed in me, and believed that I could achieve great things, and realize my dreams. My mentors weren’t Superman, and they didn’t have magical powers. But, they believed in me, and took the time to encourage me, to support me, and to give a nudge now and then, during the times when the going got tough, and the road ahead was rocky.

It is astonishing to me that there is such great power in a few kind words, and some time spent over a cup of coffee, offering the hand of friendship and a little push in the right direction.

I had the benefit of good parents, and growing up in times when there were strong families and vibrant, caring neighborhoods and communities. I grew up with a sense of optimism and hope, in a time when our nation’s leadership challenged us to travel to the Moon, and to “think not what our country can do for you, but what you can do for the country.”

Leaders challenged us to dream, and to declare war on poverty, racism, and ignorance. Our tasks are not easy. It truly takes a village to raise a child.

When we are out in the community, meeting kids and other folks on their own terms, we are out there volunteering and doing service work. People see that, they see our example, and they know that we care. We are people of action, people who are changing the world, one person at a time.

We listen, we encourage, we help them light their candles, so that they can find their way in life. And, they find their way because they know we are there, that we care about them, and that we are willing to spend the time with them that they need.

We are the builders of this community and we are the builders of the men and women of the next generation. I commend all Kiwanians for that, and I congratulate them on doing the hardest job there is to do. We care about someone, and motivate them to feel that they are worthwhile human beings.

In that, we change the world.

Thank you for all that you do.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT:

We would like to thank everyone who came to the CVK Foundation's Fall Social Dinner on 6 November, and making it a very fun and successful night. Special thanks to Past LTG Larry Roberts for installing CVC Kiwanis officers for 2015-16. Also in attendance were Visalia Pride Lions, Kiwanis club of Dinuba, Kiwanis club of Sequoia Visalia and Blind Babies Foundation. Thank you.

0 Comment(s) / Post Comment

10/16/2015

1:17 PM

Give Your Time.

  • Mood:
By Katie Kellum
After reading an article about how potentially detrimental it can be to have a significant gap in one’s employment history when applying for jobs, I feel inspired to share my story with those who find themselves in this position. 
I am a graduate of CSUF and a Fresno native, who was, until August, unemployed for nearly two years. I sought high and low for employment, in cupboards and under carpets, I’ve bombarded the internet with my resume and made tens upon hundreds of “follow up” phone calls.  I cannot express how difficult it was to get up and face another jobless, hopeless day.  It was all I could do to conjure the energy to hit up Craigslist for the fiftieth time in three days – but I did it anyways. I began to lose all hope in finding meaningful work amidst my growing desperation.  I decided that if I wasn’t going to be making money anyways, I might as well do something other than chase shadows all day.  I finally got an interview for a position as a volunteer coordinator at a local non-profit – Reading and Beyond. I have had such a wonderful experience here so far, that I feel both compelled and ashamed to admit that I wished I had really just gotten out and volunteered sooner.
I think it’s worth noting that there are many non-profits in Fresno that need volunteers desperately, in fact, could not exist without them. Volunteering is a great way to ease the pain and stress of being unemployed.  The most satisfying work I have done in this arena has been unpaid, oftentimes I have found myself enjoying it more than any job I have ever had – exceeding even my own expectations.
So, to all of the unemployed Fresnan’s reading this: please donate some of your free time to a local non-profit. You will find that it’s really difficult to feel sorry for yourself when you are helping someone whose plight is worse than your own, and you might find that you really enjoy it. Most importantly, it is a great way to gain experience in a new or familiar field that will build your resume and help fill employments gaps. 
Non-profits utilize volunteers in many areas beyond direct service; for example, grant writing, clerical, human resources, bookkeeping, research, marketing, public relations and much more. Non-profits come in many different flavors. I guarantee there is one that can use your skills and help you gain new ones. It might even be your chance to do something you actually like, for perhaps the first time. 
Volunteering has truly been this for me, and I believe that many can benefit from my testimony.  Thankfully, what begins as a volunteer opportunity can sometimes become an employment offer – and one which you will find tremendously rewarding.
There are numerous resources to aid you in this endeavor – “Hands On Central California” (www.handsoncentralcal.org) is a good place to start. In addition, and with full intention of plugging my own organization, places like “Reading and Beyond” (www.readingandbeyond.org) have numerous sites throughout the city, and has a great need for volunteers.  You can take a day to distribute food, (www.communityfoodbank.net) or become a mentor for a child who needs it more than you can possibly imagine (www.bbbs.org).
If you find yourself with idle time, make the most of it! Volunteering is really more than picking up trash on the side of Highway 99. It is a very rewarding way to improve your employment outlook.
2 Comment(s) / Post Comment

9/28/2015

1:58 PM

Do Good, Feel Good.

  • Mood:
Doing good for others makes people feel good. It helps them connect around a shared purpose and not only combats social isolation but can actually add years to their life. Positive feelings are linked to lower levels of stress, fostering deep happiness by satisfying the primal human desire; to help others, solve problems and work together. 
 
Adults, who volunteer regularly, experience less depression and higher levels of life satisfaction. Those experiencing symptoms of disease and illness get distracted and their pain threshold increases. 40 percent are less likely to develop high blood pressure. 
 
According to a study, volunteers who experienced health benefits clocked 200 hours of service per year, which is under 4 hours per week. The most beneficial of the service work was the one done outside the home, that requires physical activity such as sorting donations at a thrift shop, handing out water at a local charity walk or caring for the grounds at a church or school.
 
Adolescents, who volunteered one hour a week, improved their cardiovascular and mental health, dialing down cholesterol and BMI and increasing the levels of empathy and compassion. The act of providing for another, of extending kindness, boosts their strength and resilience. 
 
Giving children ownership of their volunteering efforts boosts their morale, motivation and confidence. Engaging with them to work together at a food bank, an animal shelter, a youth camp or a soup kitchen will not only provide a satisfying purpose of life to all the volunteers but also create future enthusiasts.
 
Perhaps most important is finding a volunteer activity that aligns with your own gifts and talents. Those with a strong nurturing instinct can help soother babies in a crises nursery, outdoor enthusiasts can pitch in at a park clean up, bibliophiles can work in an adult literacy program. 
 
Serving as volunteers is healthy for people at any age, for any gender and any race.  Knowing yourself and discovering what brings you most satisfaction and what you are capable of is the key to success. If it's a good match, everybody wins! 
 
Harness the health benefits of volunteer work. Help others, help yourself!
0 Comment(s) / Post Comment

9/18/2015

6:21 PM

A Work of HeART

  • Mood:
A couple of years ago, due to some developmental concerns I had for my daughter, I was introduced to the the Child Development Center of United Cerebral Palsy in Hanford. In fact, since I wasn't driving back then, I had cancelled my first appointment. Maybe I was a little hesitant too. Judy Newton, the program director and Debbie Gibson were very kind to make a much needed visit to my house and were able to arrange weekly in-home visits for my daughter. Araceli Avina was my daughter's first teacher. Later, when I was able to drive, I use to take my daughter to the early intervention program at the center. It was a blessing in disguise. The whole staff was like a family to me and my daughter. 

UCP of Central California houses the Kings County Family Resource Center (FRC) which runs six Parent and Me programs at Avenal, Armona, Lemoore, Hanford, Kettleman City and Corcoran. The Early Intervention Program at Hanford caters children 0-3 years of age, whereas the School Readiness Program is for children 0-5 years of age. Staff includes full time speech pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, behavioral support staff and in-home visits. Once a child enters school, they transition from FRC to Family Empowerment Center (FEC) where advocates are trained in Special Education laws and can provide support and advocacy to parents as they begin new relationships with their local school district and other service agencies. 

 
As UCP-Day approaches this year, I decided to make a visit to the UCP's Adult Center for Arts and Technology in Fresno, and see for myself what goes on in there. I was surprised. Almost 130 students attend the different activities being offered at the center everyday, the oldest being 84 years old Gwen.

"Historically, our students are a segment of the population grossly underserved by engaging and stimulating programs. We are changing that reality." 
 

Kim Regenerus, director of development and marketing, told me that the center promotes inclusion, access, independence and opportunities for community engagement and life‐enhancement. They create opportunities for the students to interact with the community in positive settings to nurture independence and personal growth.

Classes offered at the Fresno Center include: 

1. Life Skills. 

Designed to focus on skill development that will enhance the independence of the students; classes include communication, community integration, cooking, recreational skills, gardening, hygiene and self-advocacy.

2. Technology. 

Classes utilize a wide range of adaptive software and hardware such as the "mind mouse", touch screens, voice software and "JAWS", a program that provides both speech and braille output. Technology classes include computer instruction, graphic art, computer communication, games and e-mail just to name a few. 

3. Visual Arts. 

Classes include watercolor, sketching, acrylics, tie and dyes, ceramics, clay, mixed media and candle making. Visual arts provides an opportunity to the students to create and sell art for a commission. You can purchase their creations at www.ucpworkofheart.com. Pelco by Schneider Electric ordered 2,500 tiles last year and 2,000 handmade cards this year.

4. Performing Arts.

Geared towards providing students with an expressive outlet for their feelings and emotions; classes include but are not limited to instruction on set design, puppetry, stage make-up, and of course, song and dance. Performing arts supports motor development.

5. Home adaptive program

The Home Adaptive Program is designed to provide educational, developmental and therapeutic support for adults who are unable to participate in center-based programs.  

"If they are unable to come to us, we go to them," says Kim. 

Additionally, the program is able to supplement center-based programs by offering one-on-one therapy for those individuals who qualify. Staff may travel to as far as Madera or Visalia, if need be.

6. Arts and Agriculture in community

In their community‐based settings, students meet and learn from various professionals who represent a broad range of expertise. Students spend 50% of their week in the community‐based setting and 50% in the center‐based setting. The community settings include: 

a) Sorenson Art Studio:

This is where students create art alongside other notable Fresno artists. For each student, art is more than a form of expression, it is about refining motor skills, increasing cognitive functions, creating a place of peace and quiet, and gaining confidence. Students have the opportunity to sell their art which, for many, is the only opportunity to receive a paycheck.

b) Theater: 

Students work with members from the local theatrical community on performing art at the Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater. This is also the space in which they perform once a year. They share space with Children’s Musical Theaterworks in Sierra Vista Mall. 

c) Community Garden: 

As part of the agriculture portion of the program, they have leased a third of an acre for a community garden. The American Horticulture Therapy Association reports that “people with physical or mental disabilities benefit from gardening methods that allow for continued participation.” Students play an integral role in the development of the garden and now participate in various projects related to agriculture and gardening. They work alongside community members which include a master gardener and a local hardware store. Gardening tasks are adapted according to each student’s skills. The result is each student contributing in his or her own way while gaining a strong sense of accomplishment and confidence.

We have seen the positive change in physical abilities and mental stimulation of students through UCP's programs. They are increasing their mobility, becoming a part of the larger community, becoming teachers and advocates and increasing their social sphere. More importantly, the student’s lives are being enriched. 

90 cents of each dollar raised goes in directly supporting UCP's six Parent and Me programs and two adult centers in Fresno and Coalinga. Kindly donate here www.ucpday.com/cyberkiwanis

 
0 Comment(s) / Post Comment

9/08/2015

9:27 PM

Tackling Childhood Obesity at Home

  • Mood:

September was declared "National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month" by the White House in 2010. Obesity amongst children has become an epidemic, with more than 23 million obese or overweight children in America. That's approximately one in three children. These children can face a lifetime of health issues if measures are not taken to get them healthy. Some of the associated risks include chances of heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, higher risks for cancers, mental health issues and being bullied. 

This is not just a personal problem. It's a national crises. And it is costly. Each obese child costs the healthcare system about $19,000 a year, a staggering $14 billion dollars a year in preventable health care costs.

So what can be done about it? Simply telling a child to eat more vegetables and fruits and be more active won't solve the problem. It takes a family and community focus on promoting healthy and active lifestyles to truly see changes.

Here are some ways to make a difference in your family:

1. Know the healthy weight range for your child

Children have growth spurts so their height and weight ratio changes every couple of months. Each child's growth rate is different so knowing the healthy weight range is important. (Here you can find growth charts for your child 1 month to 20 years of age).

2. Know what you are feeding your child 

A child typically needs 1000-1800 Kcal per day depending on his activity level. A teenagers need may range from 1400 to 2200 Kcal per day. Limit sugar content, add fruit and vegetables to every meal (home made soups and smoothies are the best ways, use a teaspoon of honey instead of sugar) encourage plain water over sodas and juices. Be cautious of foods that have zero nutrients but are full of calories that end up being stored as fat in the body. These include sugary treats like cakes, donuts, pastries, cookies, candies, energy drinks, sodas, foods high in fructose corn syrup etc. 

3. Be an active family

Incorporate an active physical lifestyle, making it a fun and healthy challenge for every member of the family. Activities like Zumba, gymnastics, cycling, swimming, field games like soccer to as simple as walking or jogging together can be a fun way of burning calories.

4. Limit TV / electronic media time

Children and adults sitting in front of some sort of screen for a long period of time can be very hazardous to health in various forms. These devices not only emit radiations that can effect our vision and our hearing abilities but more people seem to be complaining of wrist, finger joint, neck and back pains because of the extended use of these devices and the bad posture we acquire. Not forgetting the long hours we spend just sitting and eating.

5. What to do if you have an overweight child?

If you have determined using the charts here that your child is overweight or crossing the 95th percentile of his height and weight ratio, there are no drastic steps that you need to take. All you need to do is lower the calorie consumption of the child and increase his physical activity so that he burns more. Decreasing 500 Kcal a day will lead to a loss of 1 lb a week. Read labels, replace empty calories with high fibre, chose foods with lower caloric count, shop smart, avoid foods high in fructose corn syrup and take the child out to parks more often so they can run about. Don't panic, be patient, go slow but know there is a problem that needs to be tackled.

Studies and reports indicate that programs to reduce child obesity are not being taken seriously at homes because many children and their parents have a misconception about their weight. A study published in Maternal and Child Nutrition in 2013 reported that 62% of parents with an obese child believed that their child was a healthy weight. The CDC further reports about 30% of obese children and teens in the United States believe their weight was normal. Caregivers need to be better educated about what is truly a healthy weight in order to help their children.

The good news is that all of these health issues are preventable with a change in diet and lifestyle. As with so many things, good habits start in the home, and it's really important that parents take the lead on these programs to make them successful.

ANNOUNCEMENT:

Tickets for the Fall Fish Fry Social are available at $20 now. Last Day of purchasing tickets is 15 October. The Governor CNH, Alan Guire has been invited to install officers for 2015-16. For details about the event, visit website. Thank you.

0 Comment(s) / Post Comment

7/25/2015

10:28 AM

PTSD - face it, do not fear it.

  • Mood:
I had a very interesting discussion with a dear friend of mine on whether people are innately evil, or if it is life's bitter experiences that makes them do evil things. The result was interesting, we ALL have the tendency to become cruel human beings, but at the end of the day, we all have a CHOICE. 
 
Just because we were abused and neglected as a child doesn't mean we have to become an abuser as an adult, or just because we had a mean mother-in-law doesn't mean we have to be mean to our kids as well. However, it is the responsibility of the adults in the child's life, to nurture his vulnerable mind and show him the better choices. 
 
We must also understand that people, especially children and youth, who go through extreme traumatic life experiences, may develop a condition called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is treatable as well as preventable. We must not shy away from it, but face it, treat it and conquer it.
 
The life experiences that can leave an ever lasting scar include rape, incest, abuse, neglect as a child, violence at home, terrorism and warfare, violent death of loved ones and continuous bullying. However, it is the nurturing by the family first, and then the society at large, that can either make a man or break a man. 
 
Research shows that most of the adult abusers, criminals, drug addicts and even murderers have disturbing pasts. Being abused themselves as a child or witnessing violence and crime at a very young age either makes them bitter and vengeful or that's the company they have always lived in so they do not "feel" they have a choice.
 
That is where our intervention comes in, to break the cycle, to remove the vulnerable from the disastrous situation.
 
We usually associate Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with combat veterans who go through mental stress, depression and adjustment issues because of the extreme situations they witness and experience as military personnels. However that is not always the case. Anyone of any age, who experiences severe trauma in any form, be it abuse, neglect, kidnapping, torture, sexual assault, murder attempt, natural disaster, war or even as little as bullying or a burglary attempt can be afflicted by PTSD. 
 
A PTSD patient has flashbacks, nightmares, re-lives those terrifying moments and may develop depression and paranoia if not treated early. Depression is the feeling of sadness, hopelessness and unworthiness and one starts losing interest in every day activities of life. Paranoia is when distrust, severe anxiety and fear causes them to think negatively about everything, to the point of irrationality and delusion. 
 

PTSD can disrupt one's whole life, the job, relationships, health and enjoyment of everyday activities. Having PTSD also increases the risk of other mental health problems as stated earlier. 

After surviving a traumatic event, many people have PTSD-like symptoms at first, such as being unable to stop thinking about what's happened, fear, anxiety, anger, depression or guilt. However, majority of people exposed to trauma do not develop long-term post-traumatic stress disorder.

Getting timely help and support can help you recover and also prevent turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms like alcohol and drug misuse. This means turning to family and friends who will listen and offer comfort, seeking out a mental health provider who offers psychotherapy and counseling and even turning to faith community that can be of tremendous help. 

We always have a choice to make our lives better, for ourselves and for others. Surrounding ourselves with positive people and helping those who suffer, can not only save one life but it can save the whole of humanity. So next time you see someone suffer, intervene. You may be the only option he has. 

ANNOUNCEMENT:

1st August, 2015:  

CVC Kiwanis members are volunteering as chaperones for Soroptimist Back to School Shopping Spree for Kings County students. If you wish to support the cause, visit here for details.

0 Comment(s) / Post Comment

7/09/2015

6:33 AM

Redistributing Edible Food

I find throwing away perfectly edible food quite bothersome. And I wish we could all stop doing that. It all started when I was buying a certain pretzel at a mall and then decided I wanted another kind, so the lady behind the counter, just picked up that unwanted, freshly made, still hot pretzel in front of my eyes, and tossed it into the trash. "What! Why did you do that?", I asked with my mouth open and she stated as a matter of fact, "Because you didn't want it." Yeah, I thought, but if I had known that would be the fate of the pretzel, I would have just bought it anyways. Duh me! 

Then, I was taking my two year old to these early head start classes where they served light snacks to kids all three years and younger. Sometimes they served rice with vegetables, sometimes fruits and sometimes mac n cheese. And there would be days when the young ones would not even touch the food. What happened next? The freshly prepared, delicately served, still mildly warm, edible food got thrown away, just as is. Why not just give it to the child's family so it can be consumed by someone, maybe by the child himself, at a later hour?
 
I was witnessing all this and ignoring it too. But somewhere in my heart, I wanted to shout out loud...DON'T THROW AWAY THAT PERFECTLY EDIBLE FOOD! 
 
 
Even in today's world, in the United States of America, people go hungry and we turn a blind eye towards the edible food that is thrown away everyday. When we go to a restaurant, we pack away our left over food and bring it home to consume it at a later hour. Why can't this be done with the left over food in the kitchens, dining halls, pantries and warehouses of big restaurants, hotels, work places, education and life enrichment centers and super markets?
 
I visited one after school program which serves food to the underprivileged children while they are being taken care of. But the left over food, which could be given to the child, is thrown away. When the same child and his family and siblings get home, they sometimes do not even have food at home. What an irony! That thrown away food could have fed an entire family. 
 
So what can be done?
 
1. Understand The Problem:
 
Food waste is a huge problem worldwide. According to the NRDC*, the United States alone throws out a whopping $165 billion dollars worth of food every year, enough to feed two billion people. All the while, one in seven Americans go hungry.
 
Food currently represents the single largest category of solid waste that goes into our landfills. And whenever we waste food, we are also wasting the resources required to produce it. The water that goes into growing all this discarded bounty, if conserved, could meet the annual household water needs of 500 million people. And the energy required to grow it represents 70 times the amount of oil spilled in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. 
 

Forty percent of the food produced in the United States gets tossed in the trash just because it is not beautiful to look at. And much of it is perfectly edible. The waste begins in the fields, where farmers—fully aware that their shipments could be refused by buyers if their products fail to meet size or color expectations—begin the culling process. Food that clears the farm’s front gate then heads to a processing and distribution center, where it’s winnowed further. From there it journeys to individual supermarkets, whose marketing strategies rely on presenting an image of abundance and perfection. The result, more culling. Retailers are responsible for discarding about 10 percent of America’s food, much of it because it doesn’t look good enough to sell.          

And when it does sell, it still doesn’t mean it’s going to get eaten. People whose eyes are bigger than their stomachs—or whose actual dinner-making schedules are tighter than their imagined ones—waste plenty, too. According to Dana Gunders, an NRDC scientist who focuses on food and agriculture, every year American grocery shoppers chuck some twenty five percent of edible food after carting it home. 

2. Redistribute Leftover Food:
 
If we could just look around at our workplace, our educational centers, even our home refrigerators, we would find so much food that we could save and give to someone who is hungry. 
 
Two Birds and One Stone is a group of concerned NYU students, who volunteer to pick up left over dining hall food and deliver it to the local soup kitchen and homeless shelters. They do this every day not just to reduce solid waste and feed the poor with healthy nutritious meals but also to increase awareness.
 
Rescuing Leftover Cuisine* is another organization based in New York, that not only collects hundreds of pounds of edible leftover food from local restaurants and cafes but also collects data on every item they rescue. Data that helps restaurant owners better streamline the donation process and better manage their food waste. RLC is encouraging restaurants to use smartphone apps that would allow them to alert rescuers when they have food to donate. RLC says that it hopes to develop this model into one that can be implemented worldwide. 
 
So far, RLC has delivered over 10,000 pounds of food to the homeless, at a cost of 10 cents per pound, one of the best in the nascent food recovery industry. RLC's model seems to be spreading: recently, new chapters have sprung up in San Francisco, Albany, Miami and Los Angeles, and they've garnered attention from the non-profit industry. It's inspiring to see simple but smart waste-reduction ideas like this gaining ground, diverting good food to the people who need it most. 
 
3. Facilitate Community Involvement: 
 
Empowering students, retailers, chefs, restaurant managers and everybody associated with the food industry to take action against food injustice, environmental degradation and poverty plays a key role in reducing food waste. The food can be donated to any non-profit organization such as after school programs, retirement homes, shelters or churches. 
 
 
Food Recovery Network* is another organization that helps college and university students manage food redistribution. It also provides a certification* to those businesses that participate in food recovery program to fill people rather than landfills.
 
4. Preserve Food:
 
If you are not 100 percent sure of how to store or preserve food, head over to the USDA's online Agricultural Library* for good, basic, unbranded info. Food writer Eugenia Bone’s Kitchen Ecosystem blog* also provides meal-prep inspiration, where the organizing principle is finding and sharing recipes that use every last shred of ingredients on hand.

3 Comment(s) / Post Comment