Monday, January 16, 2006

Why do you do this?

Question: Why do you do this?

Answer: Because it is the right thing to do.

Although "I personally" do not consider myself Food Not Bombs, there are still folks from Food Not Bombs who share food at Huntridge Circle Park and elsewhere in the city of Las Vegas. And most (as well as myself) follow the Food Not Bombs' philosophy.

1. We are dedicated to nonviolence
2. We are against all war, oppression, and aggression
3. We recover food that would otherwise be thrown out and make fresh hot vegetarian meals that are served to anyone without restriction.
4. We only prepare food which is strictly from vegetable sources so people will always know and trust our food.

At times, we do serve already prepared dairy and meat products which are donated to us because we believe eating is more important than being politically correct; however, we do not cook with animal products.

Everyone works on a "do it yourself" DIY basis. There are no leaders. No one is told what to do or how to do it.

Although, it is important for everyone to educate themselves in the aspects of food, health, and safety.

"...the potential for problems with food spoilage are greatly reduced when dealing strictly with vegetables.

...[And] teaching people about the economic and health benefits of a vegetarian diet is directly connected to a healthy attitude about ourselves, each other, and the planet as a whole."

"Almost 100 billion pounds of safe, edible food - meat and poultry, fruit and vegetables, milk and eggs - are thrown away every year by retailers, restaurants, and farmers while twenty-five million Americans are hungry, including 12 million children"

"Nationally, [there is] 46 billion pounds [of perfectly edible food discarded] each year...

Estimates indicate that only 4 billion pounds of food per year would be required to completely end hunger in America."

Do YOU want to help?

We need safe places for people to go to take a shower, shave, change their clothes, and get some sleep. This is a necessity for the many homeless that want to get off the streets.

The ordinary person can donate appropriate seasonal clothing, money, socks, coats, bus tokens or Bus Passes, blankets, sleeping bags, shaving gear, bulk rice, bulk beans, bottled water, and food to help these people get healthy and stay healthy -- mentally and physically. With proper nutrition, they can work on getting themselves a roof over their head and a job.

Do YOU want to donate?

You can call me at 355-2764 to arrange a pick-up or e-mail me at .

You don't have to wait for me to be at the park. I am NOT in charge. Every person is in charge of themself. We have many good-hearted people who come down in the morning or afternoon with donuts, blankets, coats, bottled water, etc. You can just leave it on the table and leave if you want. Most of the homeless and needy will only take what they need. And they will let those in the most need take first.

The main priority for the homeless is to find a SAFE, warm place to sleep without getting arrested for trespassing. With affordable housing and a living wage, we can stop the evolving door of being arrested for trespassing and lodging in a city park.

OUR main priority should be to END the majority of the homeless problem. To do this, we need safe and permanent affordable housing, job training, and a decent living wage.

MY responsibility, as well as others, is to help with the needy's daily needs without restriction until the government agencies and non-profit organizations get them off the streets and into a SAFE environment, and/or into government programs-- without restriction.

I also think that we need to address the Identification issue. Many services are not available to people without identification. You cannot get a Nevada State ID without two forms of identification such as a Social Security Card and Birth Certificate. And you cannot get a Social Security Card or a Birth Certificate without another form of ID.

"...State laws and administrative policies since September 11 make it difficult and, in some cases, impossible for homeless persons to obtain photo identification.

After September 11, at least 43 states considered some form of law or regulation making it more difficult to procure a driver's license. In 2002 and 2003, at least ten states passed restrictive driver's license statutes and several states enacted proposals by adminstrative rule.

At least 26 states currently require applicants for a state-issued ID to prove residency through proof of a physical address. Many homeless people, who by definition lack a stable address, are unable to do this.

There has been a movement since September 11 to federalize and standardize driver's licenses...

Many homeless people are denied access to benefits and services when they lack photo identification...

People without identification face increased problems with law enforcement...

Many homeless persons cannot afford the cost of a photo ID..."

Most people are caught up with the commercialism in this country. They don't realize that "The top 5 percent own more than half of all wealth" and "The top 20 percent owns over 80 percent of all wealth" and "The bottom 20 percent basically have zero wealth."

"The average African-American family has only 18 percent of the wealth of the average white family."

According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, there is at least 200,000 homeless veterans on any given night. And more than half a million veterans experience homelessness over the course of a year.

Also according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans in a 2003 Report, Nevada has an estimated 5,500 homeless veterans and only 219 VA funded beds.

But what many people don't realize is that "[One] missed paycheck, a health crisis, or an unpaid bill" can virtually make any one of us homeless.

Root(s) of Homelessness

There are many reasons for homelessness. From the different studies that I've seen, the reasons for homelessness can include:

an eviction whether it is a legal or illegal eviction
loss of a job or benefits
mental health issues
physical or medical health problems
lack of education
lack of job skills
low wages
divorce or a break up with a partner
domestic violence
being released from jail, prison, or a hospital or moving to a new area without the benefit of friends, money, or family
alcohol and or drug use

According to a U.S. Conference of Mayors:

Most people become homeless specifically because they are having a housing crisis, even though they may have other needs for services and increased incomes. Its important to realize that their needs are best met once the family is in permanent housing - not while they are in transitional housing or shelters. Housing must be first if they are expected to develop a sustainable, healthy lifestyle...

...Up to 90% of the nations resources devoted to the homeless problem goes toward shelters, hospitals, the streets, and prisons.

There IS a need for each of the shelters, the homeless agencies, and the non-profit organizations. There is also a great need for individuals to help on the streets, day to day with the individuals' daily needs-- without government interference.

There is a place for each of us.

We need SAFE, affordable housing, quality medical care, and jobs that pay a living wage.

Rather than shun the homeless and the needy, we need to help one another. Every human being deserves safe, affordable housing, quality medical care, and jobs that pay a living wage.

Coming Soon: Principles of Nonviolence

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