Thursday, April 28, 2011

Food Not Bombs Hollywood

A seed was planted in my mind in the winter of 2007 by my good friend and roommate at the time, James, who realized my love for cooking and feeding people. "We should start a Food Not Bombs." I looked at him and questioned exactly what he meant by the word "We". I remember we were in our very white kitchen and I was making soup, he was getting ready to eat it. He handed me a book 'Food Not Bombs' and I read it that night. The concept of the movement inspired me, the idea that an incredible amount of food is thrown away everyday, food that could feed the thousands of hungry people who are struggling just to survive, this concept fueled my passion. I was excited to begin the process... my only hesitations were that I had no license, no car, no money, no job and really no means to provide for anyone other than myself and my two little dogs. James had a broken car and a broken bike and couldn't really volunteer any free time since he worked full time, but his heart was always in the right place. "We" agreed we would think about it...

About a week later I found a perfectly fine crockpot sitting ontop someones trash barrel, and then a big cooking pot came my way. James and I discussed how things were lining up for his FNB idea. So I started putting the word out to everyone I knew (which wasn't a big group since I just moved to South Florida). At the time I was volunteering at The South Florida Womans Health Center in Hollywood Florida. I was the Outreach Coordinator and spent a good amount of my time with my partner 'Doula D', finding mostly women and children on the street who needed help. We started a clothes closet in the back of our center and begin planning for our feeding in the parking lot of the building. Several volunteers came to our meetings, mostly Vegans, only One person came to all, OneT. We spent months sitting and planning. We wanted our FNB to be organized, easy, 100% environmentally friendly, and as fun and free as possible. We hesitated for weeks, afraid no one would come and unsure how exactly to start. Until one day the Leader from Lovebags, Ft. Lauderdale, came to one of our meetings and said "Just Start.". . . so the next week we did.

The local Hollywood Publix started donating their trash from one day a week, usually Wednesdays, which began to amount to over six cases!! Boxes of fruits and veggies that would have little cuts and bruises, perfectly good food, but not worthy of purchase to most Americans. Every day, in Every Food Store across America, Hundreds and Thousands of Good, Edible, Produce (among all other food items) are Thrown Away. The local Starbucks in Hollywood started donating their leftover baked goods from the very beginning by collecting and saving it for us to pick up once a week. Other local businesses participated over the years as well as many concerned community members by donating boxes of Pasta, Sauce, Bread, Produce, and every now and again a random drive by will stop and hand us a twenty dollar bill, asking us to continue the good service, then they hop in the car and drive away.

The brilliant idea of James that "We" had to start this Food Not Bombs was quite possibly one of his best ideas yet. This beautiful organization of people has lasted for years without fail. Every Friday night since the day "We" began, "We" have been there. Whether it a Holiday, including Christmas, Christmas Eve, Fourth of July, New Years, Halloween, Birthdays... or a day when the weather was pouring and the wind blowing... "We" have been there to feed and love our friends. The only day "We" missed was New Years Eve 2011... however 'our guys' decided, as we served them Christmas dinner, that "We" deserved to all have a Friday off for once!! The following Friday things picked up where they left off and everyone wanted to hear how the night off was.

Food Not Bombs Hollywood is not just a Movement. It is a Stand. By working together within a small organization and holding hands with others throughout the community "We" have been able to bridge gaps in the lives of many people who otherwise would have been lost. Friends have been made, Trust has been given, Tears, Laughter, and Love shared. As the System continues to break down and crumble around us, Threatening to shut down what is needed most, Food Not Bombs Hollywood has Stood Strong and Stayed despite all odds. By using what otherwise was thrown out and unwanted, an underground world of support has been constructed for the people drifting on US1 in Hollywood.

Every Friday 6-8pm at 419 US1, Hollywood, Florida... if you can't see the table, it means that we are in The Circle Park having a 'Picnic'... As long as we stay together and be a family eating 'Picnic Style', then this Free Feeding isn't as much of a problem with the Law.