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General

Our First Successful Meal

We had our first community meal and free store on Sunday and it went really well. We appreciate everything that y’all did to help make this a reality, from donating to cooking to volunteering to clean up. Everyone who came out was so kind and patient with us as we figured out a few things we need to do differently next time…like bring a bigger burner! Small burners and long wait times aside we served about 30 people and gave out loads of clothes and dry goods. We even got a $20 dollar donation from a kind person that we added to the laundry tab for the unhoused folks.

One of our biggest and most apparent needs is of course people willing to volunteer with us. Two to three hours on Sunday, directing folks on proper flow through the station, taking orders and bagging up items for individuals, set-up/break-down, etc. We did get some folks signing up to help at the event and will be reaching out to those who did to see what their needs are as well as how they would like to contribute. Another major need is folks to go around and pick up produce and of course people to cook that food.

We will be adding two new drop points for donations to our list this week as well as updating our needs list as we go to better reflect the immediate needs we hear from people in our conversations at these events. We are working on some surveys for determining needs in the community as well as resources, so look out for that.

Based on what we saw and heard there is a LOT more work to do than simply feeding and clothing people. After all the slogan is Solidarity NOT Charity. Some of the conditions and restriction people are being subjected to, even within the city sanctioned camp, are horrendous and unjust. It will take a much larger group and widespread community support to get the folks experiencing a lack of housing and/or extreme poverty the justice and housing they deserve. Our group believes that direct action is the most effective way to show the city our dedication to taking care of and housing our community members and not allowing the city and local businesses to dehumanizing them any longer. This is long term work and we have just begun.

We are excited to get back out there each Sunday and plan on getting better and bigger each time, if you would like to join us please reach out or just show up! Much Love.

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Upcoming events/ Report back

Upcoming Events:

This weekend we will be tabling food at Bunkhouse Acres – a local farm ran by a person who said they were willing to help the cause but only after they got all their garlic planted for next year. To that we said, “Then let us help you plant that garlic!”. So we will have some tasty vegan food available, some literature to share, and 500 pounds of garlic to plant. We are really excited to help this local farm out as they are doing some amazing work around food access with a significant number of their upcoming CSA shares being donated to disadvantaged populations. Come by and help us split some garlic cloves and lay them in the soil so we can all enjoy some delicious garlic come next year. We will be out Saturday and Sunday from 9AM to 3PM. The address is not being made public this time so you will have to get in touch with us or reach out to Chehalis River Mutual Aid Network to get the location details. This will be a great opportunity to talk further about our various projects with other people from the region who may interested in lending some form of assistance.

Report Back from 10/25:

We’ve got a banner!

Two banners actually! Thank you to all those who created these, they are beautiful. With these banners we can now let folks know that we aren’t some other charity simply out to feed hungry people, but we are mutual participants in an effort to END HUNGER FOR EVERYONE. Thus the saying –

“SOLIDARITY NOT CHARITY”

We have just about run out of things to do at the garden for the season. Winter cover crops have been planted, compost added, beds cleared, etc. This means that we are in need of a physical meeting space going forward. Luck for us, one volunteer has offered the use of their land. We will be coordinating a few more work parties upcoming to build an outdoor meeting space, outdoor kitchen, some food pantries, and fridge shelters.

We have begun reaching out to local businesses to see who would like to donate produce. We will be going forward with a decentralized model until we get a socially safe physical space set up to work from. This means we will be taking care of volunteer fridges, this can be your own, or you can sign up for one through our community fridge program (coming soon) and we will install one and maintain it for you. We will also be spreading out the cooking/cleaning in a similar way by cooking dishes in our own homes and bringing together things potluck style. As far as distribution, we are looking into mobile van options as well as the traditional weekly table event, we will probably go mobile until we can talk with the community and determine the best time/place for a table.

During our meeting we discussed moving forward on the free pantry project and the community fridges. We have multiple volunteers ready and able to pick up any free or cheap fridges in the area for redistribution to those wanting them and able to donate access to an outlet. We are also looking at developing a model for a free pantry (possibly multiple sizes) to be constructed and installed where needed. These may both develop into their own projects at some point. ANYONE can assist here by scouring the internet for free or cheap listings of fridges, or cabinet-type furniture that could work as a pantry, if you find any please let us know! Also let us know if you want to host either a fridge or pantry! We will help you keep them stocked, maintained, cleaned, and well-used. All you need is a space with easy public access and, in the case of the fridges, an outlet to donate.

We also talked about the idea of starting a Food Not Lawns style garden crew to install, maintain, plant, and harvest gardens throughout to region wherever someone has land to farm but no ability to do so. The harvest would benefit both the people hosting the garden as well as Food Not Bombs efforts to bring food sovereignty to the region. For this we will need access to some tools (tool library anyone?) and most importantly – SOIL. If anyone would like to donate, share, or let us borrow any garden/building related tools OR has leads on local businesses that might help us with some soil…let us know. We would love to use this winter season to get a bunch of gardens ready for planting come spring.

 

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Report Back from EVENT 10/18/2020

We would like to thank everyone who came out to help in the garden this weekend.

It was so encouraging to see everyone in the garden today. We did help Cultivating Roots get a bed cleared and another planted. Unfortunately the weather conspired to confound our banner making efforts and although the kids sure had a good time messing around with paints, our banner remains on the TO DO list. Luckily we have a volunteer who will be stenciling out some graphics in advance of next week when we will finish our masterpiece. This will remain one of the unique challenges to our local organizing moving forward…WEATHER. While we are all generally accustomed to doing things in the wet and drizzle, it will certainly make tabling, cooking, and clearly painting much more difficult. This will need to be thought about and planned for. We will have to have a waterproof Food Not Bombs! We can and should reach out to other groups in the area to see what they do in regards to wet winter organizing as they have been doing this work years in places like Seattle and Olympia.

This brings us to the next major need that keeps arising…SPACE. Storage space, meeting space, cooking space, fridge space, etc we need it all. If anyone is interested in helping us secure access to any of these (esp a commercial kitchen space in town) that would be greatly appreciated.

Our needs list remains roughly the same, although some progress is being made regarding outreach to local businesses who may have excess to donate to our efforts. This will translate into an IMMEDIATE need for more cooks. Picking up/storing produce is super helpful, and tabling the food is where the real action is at, but the core of the workload will always be in cooking/cleaning of the food/kitchen. This is currently our greatest need in terms of volunteer roles.

We have listed a few key places to ask about making regular donations, we have started to think about where and when would be best to table/distribute the food we are cooking. We talked about the people currently in contact with unhoused people who can be an excellent resource in making connections for us in those communities of highest need. This is very exciting as it means we are making REAL progress towards building a sustainable action-oriented group of people interested in getting hungry people food without the blessings of the state or assistance of charities.

We have started to settle in on these programs as tools to help us organize, both of which are fairly straightforward, user-friendly ways to communicate with encryption without having to have much technical knowledge about how it all works (as much as we recommend you learn about encryption on your own):

  • Signal – this is a encrypted text messaging app that can replace, or work in addition to, your phones regular messaging app. It is super useful for real time communications in the field as you would use texts. It is very easy to set up and use and requires no knowledge of or management of keys since that all takes place behind the scenes. You simply send a text as you normally would, if the recipient also has signal then it will be end-to-end encrypted. We have been using this to talk to others in the group as well as one on one conversations. Signal also allows for one-on-one secure video chatting.
  • Element Chat – An encrypted service somewhat similar to Discord that allows for a better group chat format than Signal for large groups. You CAN set up and manage your own personal keys here but you can also let it handle this for you if you desire. The nice thing about Element is the use of Communities and Rooms (equivalent to servers and channels in Discord). A room is a digital space in which we can talk about a specific project (such as Food Not Bombs) and a community is a certain grouping of rooms. Chehalis River Mutual Aid Network has set up such a community on Element and is working with the various projects to all join the Element Community by the same name. This will allow for us to have a sense of “separate but together”, with each Room belonging to an individual project and all the projects grouped in one place as CRMAN for easy coordination. Element also incorporates Jitsi – an encrypted video conferencing protocol with many of the same features as Zoom but without all the spying and data mining. Jitsi is great because it allows for telephony connections to such video conferences, making our meetings much more accessible for those without access to internet technologies. As long as someone can call in, they can participate! This still leaves out many people who do not even have a phone, so some in person meetings are perhaps in order.

These digital tools are almost a necessity in this time of COVID-19 since many people are not able to meet in person no matter the scheduling concerns. This leaves social media which will really only be useful for posting announcements of upcoming events or drumming up more interest in our work through sharing our posts. Food Not Bombs will not be doing any organizing in those spaces as they are not safe and, despite the fact that we are only feeding hungry people, we recognize the dangers inherent in ANY mutual aid work in this…unique…moment in time.

Please reach out to join either our Signal chat, or our new Element Community. These are not public by their nature and require an invitation.

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EVENT 10/17/2020 – Banner and next steps

Food Not Bombs – Chehalis River needs a banner!

We will be holding another work party at Cultivating Roots. We will also be using this oppotuniy to make a banner for the group. That means if you are artisticly inclined this is your chance to get involved. Once we have a banner we can knock the rest of the steps listed below off the list. Although some of the things on the list have been done, or at least started, we still need to scale up in order to feed more people.

We have updated our About page here to reflect some ways to volunteer once this group has its feet.

Considering we are starting a Food Not Bombs group, we thought we would share the “7 Steps to Starting a Food Not Bombs Group” here for those interested in helping to familiarize themselves with the next steps for this group. From the Food Not Bombs website:

SEVEN STEPS TO STARTING A FOOD NOT BOMBS CHAPTER

At the outset, starting a Food Not Bombs might seem like more than you can handle. Work on the basics, taking one step at a time. There is no need to feel pressured into accomplishing everything all at once. It might take a couple of weeks to get things rolling, or it may take months. One person cannot be a Food Not Bombs group, but one person can initiate a group.

Once you have made the decision to start a local Food Not Bombs group, pick a meeting date, time, and place and gather together everyone interested to talk about what you would like to do. You might start with a group of friends, or members of an existing group, or it could be people who respond to posters and emails announcing your intentions.

The following is a step-by-step process to get your food operation up and running. Because of your unique situation, you may need to add, ignore or reorder steps. Follow the path you feel will work best for your group.

STEP 1

Start by getting a phone number, email or postal address. By using a voice mailbox you can have an outgoing message with information about the next meeting time and place, and receive messages so that you never miss a call. You can also post a MySpace, Facebook, Twitter or other website for your group. Many chapters also create listserves on sites like Riseup, Google or Yahoo. Some groups use a commercial mailbox or post office box for their physical address. After initially setting up your chapter’s contact information, please share the contact details with us using this form so your details can be added to our site.

STEP 2

Make flyers announcing the existence of your new local Food Not Bombs chapter with your contact information and time, date and location of your planning meetings. By handing out these flyers at events, posting them around town, emailing the announcement of your next meeting to friends, classmates and other local organizations, you will get additional volunteers and donations of food and supplies. It is helpful to have regularly scheduled weekly or monthly meetings and always know the date of the next one to share at the end of each meeting. Encourage people who may rely on the food to participate in the meetings. Post the time, date and location of your meetings on your websites. We provide sample flyers that you can down load on www.foodnotbombs.net. The agenda for your first meetings can include a.) food collection b.) location for cooking c.) locations to deliver your food. d.) consider a location to share your meals in the future e.) outreach to people who may want to volunteer and join the meal.

STEP 3

Arrange for the use of a vehicle. Among the members of your group, there might be enough vehicles of the right size for your needs, but if not, you might be able to borrow a van or truck from a sympathetic church group or similar organization. If none of the above succeeds, you can always hold fund-raising events specifically for the purchase of a van or truck. Some groups use bicycles and bike carts to pickup the food and take the meals and literature out to share. Other groups use shopping carts and travel on public transportation.

STEP 4

With flyers in hand, begin looking for sources of food. The first places to approach are the local food co-ops, produce warehouses, farmers markets, organic food stores and bakeries. These types of stores tend to be supportive and are a good place to practice your approach. Tell them you plan to share the food with the hungry, delivering food to shelters and soup kitchens as well as providing a regular meal once the chapter is established, and if they are interested and willing, arrange for a regular time to pick up the food each week or as often as is practical. Where it is appropriate, leave literature which explains the mission of Food Not Bombs.

STEP 5

Start by delivering your collected food to housing projects, shelters and local meal programs. It is important to get to know the food pantries and soup kitchens in your area. Learn where they are located, whom they serve, and how many they serve. This information will help you plan your delivery route and distribute the appropriate types and amounts of food to each program. This will also give you an idea of when and where your chapter should start to share your regularly prepared meals. It is usually desirable to arrange a regular delivery schedule with each location. Building relationships with the other food programs is valuable.

STEP 6

Once this network becomes established, start to skim some food out of the flow without disrupting the program. With this food, prepare meals to serve on the streets with literature about Food Not Bombs as well as current issues and related events. It can be very helpful to share meals at rallies and demonstrations first; there your group can recruit more volunteers, collect donations, as well as lift the spirits of those participating in the action. Giving out meals at a protest can build community and supports the cause in a very direct way.

STEP 7

Once enough people are involved, consider sharing meals in a visible way one day a week to the hungry on the streets. Cooking and serving food there builds community within the group and is hard work, but this is also great fun. Choose a time, day and location where you will reach the most people. Always be on time. Pick highly visible locations where a diverse population is likely to walk past your food and literature.

One aspect of our mission is to help make the “invisible poverty” more visible. Your meal is not a Food Not Bombs meal if you don’t provide literature and display a banner. Otherwise the public will think you are a church and have the impression your group believes that our political and economic system is fine and that all we need to do is care for those who are not able to make it.

We are not a charity, we are seeking to build a movemnet to end the exploitation of the economic and political system. If you are not interested in changing society so no one needs to eat at a soup kitchen then you might want to volunteer with a church or government food program. We are seeking to end hunger and poverty not just feed it. When so much money is spent on the military we know it is possible to create a world where no one is required to stand in line to eat at a charity. The meal and literature can be a powerful way to reach out to the community with the message of “food not bombs.”

RESOURCES TO HELP YOU START YOUR FOOD NOT BOMBS GROUP

SAMPLE AGENDA FOR THE FIRST MEETINGS
When you hold your first few meetings you can use this sample agenda. You can move the times to fit your schedule and add items you think might be important. You may be starting your group because of a crisis and that item could be placed on your agenda.

THE PRINCIPLES OF FOOD NOT BOMBS
Volunteers participating in the 1992 and 1995 gatherings came to consensus that we would have three principles that would make us FOOD NOT BOMBS. 1.The food is vegan and free to all. 2. We have no leaders and use the process of consensus to make desisions. 3. That Food Not Bombs is dedicated to nonviolent direct action towards creating a world free from domination, coercion and violence.

LIST YOUR GROUP ON WWW.FOODNOTBOMBS.NET
Please fill out this form to list the details of your local Food Not Bombs group.

FOOD SAFETY FOR FOOD NOT BOMBS
Our food is always vegan or vegetarian and is one reason our food is safe and that no one has been made ill eating with Food Not Bombs. If meat or dairy is included in the food you recover you can donate it to a food program that does provide meat and dairy. Many people that want to contribute to Food Not Bombs are not informed about our principle of only sharing plant based foods.

SOLIDARITY NOT CHARITY – REMEMBER – LITERATURE AND A BANNER AT EVERY MEAL –
We encourage all Food Not Bombs groups to have a stack of these flyers on their literature table at every meal. This is very important to do if your chapter is in the United States where the governmnet has taken measures to reduce our meals to just another charity.

DOWNLOAD THIS FLYER

This flyer is an effective way to let everyone in your community to know about your Food Not Bombs group. You can post two or three copies on top of one another and cut the tags so people can take your contact information. You may have a volunteer that is not able to help your group the day of your meal but thay could post these flyers all over town once a month. (Again cut the tags for best results)

DOWN LOAD THIS FLYER
AND ADD YOUR DETAILS TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHEN AND WHERE YOU ARE SHARING YOUR REGULAR MEAL

DOWN LOAD THIS FLYER
ON SEVEN STEPS TO STARTING A FOOD NOT BOMBS GROUP

THE GOOD SAMARITAN ACT – You can give this flyer published by Second Harvest to grocery and bakery staff to show they are protected from liability.

FLYERS TO SHARE AT YOUR MEALS AND EVENTS

THE FOOD NOT BOMBS HANDBOOK

YOU CAN GET STARTED TODAY! Call 1-800-884-1136 of email us at menu@foodnotbombs.net
and let us know you are starting a Food Not Bombs chapter in your community. We would be happy to add your chapter’s contact information and schedule on our website.

Bring your mask and work gloves and meet us at 357 Oak Street Aberdeen, WA 98520 this Saturday, Oct 10 from 12PM to 5PM. Much Love!

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General

Report Back From This Weekend’s Action

We would like to thank everyone who came out to help in the garden this weekend.

It meant a lot to see y’all there and it was encouraging to get together and make those connections. We set up our table, with literature, but without a banner, and worked for longer than we had expected to and the rainy weather didn’t matter a bit  (no surprise there). Discussions took place about what food not bombs is, how it operates, and what our local chapter could offer to the community. There are now multiple people interested in making decisions in this group. A Signal chat has been established for organization and coordination and we are looking at other secure communication platforms as well. We hope to be doing this action again next Saturday, and want to see more people out for the food.

We will need:

  • A BANNER!! Every Chapter needs a banner to let people know we are NOT another charity.

  • People willing to pick up and/or store produce from local shops/farms, either in their own fridges or in community fridges (coming soon)

  • People willing and able to cook vegan food either at their own home or at our communal kitchen (coming soon)

  • People willing to deliver and/or table cooked food and political literature AS Food Not Bombs

  • Those willing and able to help build above referenced communal kitchen

If you want to get involved in Food Not Bombs, you DO NOT need to join our secure comms, you can contribute by sharing your excess resources, sharing our posts, picking up food and dropping it to a community fridge, volunteering with the Community Fridge Brigade, showing up at an event to support us and eat, etc. These activities and others can be managed over social media. If you want to help organize behind the scenes, it will mean making decisions together as to when and where to pick up food, where to store it, cooking it, and coming together to table it in a visible place where the need is greatest. This will require some way to coordinate with us. Security concerns prohibit us from organizing on social media and therefore you will have to join our secure comms channels. Our hope is to make this as accessible as possible to allow for anyone with any tech skills can join. We are also looking at software that will allow those with phones only to call in to any group meetings we have. Semi-frequent in person meetings will also need to happen since we realize there are plenty of those without so much as a phone. We are working towards these goals and many more, and hope to have your help in this effort.

To get involved or contact us please follow us here, email us at crfoodnotbombs@riseup.net, or on our socials all of which can be found at our Linktree.

 

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Come Join Us This Weekend!

We are so happy to announce that we are planning our first local action. We have been working with the newly formed Chehalis River Mutual Aid Network and Cultivating Roots Community Garden to come together this Saturday, Oct 10 from Noon to One. We are planning a free community meal, garden work party, and founding meeting of this FNB all at once!

We recently harvested some unused produce from the garden on our pick up rounds, and will be returning to the space with a table, some vegan wraps, some banana bread, and drinks. We will also be holding a *socially responsible* work party in the garden, helping them to turn over and repair some beds. This event is to build some local interest in Cultivating Roots Garden, help them with some garden maintainence, as well as bring people together as a local chapter of Food Not Bombs.

We hope to see you there and discuss things such as how FNB can move forward with helping Cultivating Roots and the broader local community, how the garden and FNB can work together to bring the most food to the most people, what other mutual aid projects (think free pantries, community fridges) that our new FNB and other groups who align with us can undertake around town, where the greatest needs exist, and where there are untapped resource streams.

In addition, Chehalis River Mutual Aid Network is looking for any other local mutual aid type projects to cross promote and assist each other as well. If you have a local project or group already please feel free to come by and discuss how we can all network effectively so that we can remain autonomus and decentralized while sharing resources, knowledge, and being effective in our local solidarity. This would act as an initial *socially responsible* meeting of the group and we could use the opportunity to meet in person and discuss where and when to host the next meal an/or meetings.

As always, please practice proper social distancing and sanitary procedures, and know that we take these things very serious indeed when we undertake the intimate act of feeding people. We will have masks, hand sanitzers, soap and water available on site.

Bring your mask and work gloves and meet us at 357 Oak Street Aberdeen, WA 98520 this Saturday, Oct 10 from 12PM to 5PM. Much Love!