I’m back after my brief respite from being immersed in poverty statistics and personal accounts from people who struggle with poverty on a daily basis, as well as from a break from writing. While I was not conducting poverty research or writing blog posts, I was still moving forward toward my goal of doing what I can to help the food insecurity problem in my community. During this break I read a very thought provoking book, entitled Making a Life, Making a Living, by Mark Albion in which the author encourages readers to focus on following their passion in life and doing their best to incorporate that passion into their work. On those pages I definitely found the inspiration and encouragement I needed to take the next step. While I was reading Albion’s book I was also thinking about what I hoped to accomplish and how I might go about accomplishing those goals by following my passion and using my strengths. I purposely paired these two tasks because I thought they might compliment each other. The result of the past couple of week’s work is that I am reinvigorated and ready to renew my efforts to make a difference in my community.
The reason for my hesitancy to move forward thus far stems from the fact that I’m not a risk taker, never have been. For me, as it probably is for most people, I haven’t taken risks because of a fear of failure. One of the things I really like about the Albion book is that it is peppered with motivational quotes, at least one on every page. Several of them deal with taking risks or overcoming the fear of failure. One of the ones that really caused me to stop and think is a simple statement from Wayne Gretzky:
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
Totally obvious, and yet I had never considered inaction in quite that way. As a result of realizing I was already suffering a failure of sorts by not taking action and moving forward with my long term plans to start a nonprofit whose purpose is to assist the food insecure in my community, I have told myself I have nothing to lose. I have also come to believe that the only real failure is inaction. I will undoubtedly attempt things that will not succeed, but these misses, viewed properly, are just opportunities to learn and grow.
Another item I took from the book is a new title for myself, “designated bullsh!t disturber,” which is a term Alan Webber, cofounder of the company and magazine Fast Company, coined to refer to himself. Albion quotes Webber, who describes his philosophy as such “Telling the truth for me was all about trying to make a difference by being honest about what I saw.” I plan to take this course of action, telling the truth about what I see and hoping it makes a difference. I believe that too many mistruths, exaggerations and bald faced lies have been told with regard to poverty, people struggling with poverty, the benefits they receive and the reasons these people are living in poverty. My intent is to stand up for and with those struggling with poverty, here in this blog as well as my everyday life, and without blame or belligerence tell the truth as I see it or experience it.
So in the spirit of taking risks and disturbing the bullsh!t I am going to move forward. Over the next few months I plan to talk with a variety of people about my ideas to try and determine how practical they are, how to fund them and how to implement them. My goal is to have taken action on some of my ideas by the fall. Wish me luck!
In my last blog post I was disheartened because I had been unable to find a positive story about which to write. Over the past two weeks I continued to look for something positive to report and I am happy to say I found something! The Chester County Food Bank will be operating a mobile produce truck for the second year in a row. The Fresh2You Mobile Market will bring fresh produce and healthy food staples, as well as nutrition education, to underserved communities. The market will accept all forms of payment, including cash, credit and debit cards, SNAP and WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers. The Double Dollars program will allow shoppers who purchase their produce using SNAP/EBT or Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers to receive a dollar for dollar match on all purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables, enabling them to stretch their food dollars. Last year the truck, called Fresh2You Mobile Market, only traveled to Coatesville and a location in rural Honey Brook Township. This year the truck’s route will expand to include sites in West Chester and Southern Chester County, where my community is located, as well as Coatesville and Honey Brook. At present the Chester County Food Bank has not released the schedule or stop loctions for the truck. For more information click on the link above or call Roberta Cosentino, Fresh2You Mobile Market Coordinator at 610.873.6000.