Reflections & Accomplishments: LI Food Not Bombs in 2012
2012 was a challenging year, but more importantly, a defining one. Tallying it all up, we shared millions of pounds of fresh groceries, hundreds of thousands of items of winter clothing, thousands of potted plants for people to grow their own food, and so much more. Moving forward, there is no doubt in my mind that 2013 will be even more fantastic, but before we get there I just wanted to thank everyone who’s helped us along the way.
The following are a few highlights and achievements from the past year. As you read through, please consider making a monetary contribution, it’s tax deductible and will help us get a head start in 2013.
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How your support aided our efforts in 2012
For every $1 our nonprofit, Community Solidarity, Inc. spent in 2012 we were able to provide ALL of the following.
296.23 lbs of Food
How our nonprofit Community Solidarity, Inc. has aided our efforts.
2012 Grand Totals
2011 Grand Totals
Food Shared: 1,143,578.86 lbs
Food Shared: 418,608.84 lbs
The Impact of Community Solidarity in 2012:
To further our massive efforts, our nonprofit Community Solidarity, Inc. has become invaluable. The idea is simple; Food Is A Right, not a privilege. Yet, putting this idea into practice is tricky. There are logistical problems, there are relationships with food sources and there’s many people and pantries in need. We created Community Solidarity to manage these problems for us, and for other organizations. In 2012, Community Solidarity supplemented over 45 food distribution programs across the Metropolitan Region and that number will be growing greatly in the year to come.
More importantly, we’ve created tools with Community Solidarity, that allow us to measure and track our progress in ways no other organization has done before. For example, we monitor the nutrition content of ever item we collect and share. By doing so we’re able to track how healthy our foods are and the nutritional needs those foods are meeting.
Fresh produce makes up less than 10% of what every other nonprofit distributes i.e. Island Harvest, City Harvest, etc… For LIFNB and Community Solidarity, produce consistently makes up roughly 50% of what we share.
The health effects of this are astronomical. In 2012 we’ve shared over 613,478.45 daily values of Protein, 719,379.92 daily values of Fiber, 1,050,503.26 daily values of Iron, 1,186,937.87 daily values of Vitamin C and 1,681,943.26 daily values of Vitamin A! In total we measure 89 different metrics of nutrition. From vitamins, minerals, fats, essential nutrition and cholesterol content. For the whole of 2012, we can definitively state that our nonprofit distributed some of the healthiest food in the nation!
There are three main reasons why we were able to do this. First, we focus our collection efforts from healthier food sources; farms, health food stores, CSA’s etc… Second, We only give out vegetarian and vegan foods. Third, we’re blessed to have the support of dozens of community gardens. In particular, we’re very thankful for the support of the Long Island Community Agricultural Network whose Grow to Give program provided thousands of pounds of locally grown produce to our efforts, and to St. John’s Church which has been a strong advocate for all our efforts.
Our amazing volunteers:
Community Solidarity, might be managing pickups and donor relationships, but it’s Long Island Food Not Bombs that’s doing the legwork. In total, we now have over 1,000 active volunteers who participate by transporting groceries, organizing clothing drives, sharing food, operating our hotline, growing food in their gardens, playing music at our shares, preparing hot vegan meals etc…
In total, in 2012, our volunteers collaborated on over 2,062 pickups from food sources across the NYC metropolitan area and filled over 2,742 cars, pickups, vans and box trucks. Our volunteer’s also organized donation drives at businesses, school supply collections, they’ve advocated for social justice causes in towns across Long Island and so much more. There are no limits to how a person can get involved and if you’re interested in learning more ways you can help out - click here.
Our Accomplishments in 2012:
Looking back on 2012 we’ve all done so much. Together we created a new distribution site, the Wyandanch Food Share. We helped collect and share school supplies with thousands of children. We organized an incredible toy drive for the holidays. Creating friendships, and a community that is the backbone of something that is far greater than any one of us; we’ve also been able to overcome unimaginable hardships.
Together we faced the onslaught of Superstorm Sandy. While every other Long Island nonprofit took over 24+ hours to become operational in the wake of the storm, our volunteers were out collecting and sharing food and disaster necessities before, during and after the storm without interruption. In addition to our six weekly food share locations, we created 21 additional emergency sites across Long Island and NYC. From New Dorp Beach in Staten Island to Mastic Beach in Suffolk County we brought groceries and warm clothing to anyone that needed help. In total, for just the month of November we shared over 275,246.1lbs of groceries and clothing with over 30,000 people!
Still, the Sandy Relief effort goes on, and will continue throughout 2013. It’s not the tragedy of Superstorm Sandy that will define us moving forward. It’s the awakening the storm gave to us all. In spite of having no cellphones, no gas, no power and no means of communicating with one another, Long Island Food Not Bombs was still able to rise to the occasion. Doing more than we’ve ever done before. Superstorm Sandy taught us how strong we really are.
Looking back onto our Thanksgiving Bonanza this year that strength could be easily seen. In spite of being exhausted, tired and burnt-out from the aftermath of the storm, our community came together to celebrate. Sharing more food with more people than we ever have before, it was truly a time to be thankful. As we move into 2013 let us all cast away any lingering doubts on what we can and can’t do. We believe Food is a Right. We’ve been standing up for that right for over 6 years now, but for the first time we really have an opportunity to take it to the next level, to teach others our lessons and redefine the conversation from how to address the issue, to how to solve the issue.
In conclusion; where we stand, and where we’re going:
Together we show the world that a small community of people can come together to overcome overwhelming social problems. Together we show the world that the friendship we share is strong enough to achieve the most momentous tasks. Together we show the world that Food is a Right, Not a Privilege. With very little resources we can effectively and efficiently uphold that right for our neighbors, our community and maybe one day in the years to come, the world as a whole.
With the spirit of Solidarity, not charity,
Jon Stepanian & Long Island Food Not Bombs.
Posted Jan 10 2013 - 11:00am by LongIslandFNB