Jul 27, 2009
Carrboro Farmers' Market Farmer Foodshare -- Unsold Food Goes to Poor
My friend Margaret recently started a food gleaning program at the Carrboro Farmer's Market. Her low-tech, common sense "why didn't someone think of this already?" effort reminds me that there are so many "obvious" opportunities for good that still need someone to notice, step up to, and do. In this case, talk about your "low hanging fruit" :-). No diss to the good farmers and organizers at Carrboro Farmer's Market for not doing this until now -- they've been doing many great things for years. Now they're doing one more.
Excerpt from yesterday's News & Observer:
Margaret Gifford makes her rounds on a recent Wednesday evening near closing time at the Carrboro Farmers' Market. With a cardboard box in hand, she reminds farmers that she's there to collect any produce they can't sell and won't keep until the next market day.
...The idea came to Gifford, a market regular and former public relations executive, when she heard farmer Ken Dawson of Maple Spring Gardens talking about composting unsold tomatoes. "I noticed farmers taking some unbelievable produce home," she says. "We need to get the food from the people who have the food to the people who need the food."
...On that recent Wednesday night as the farmers start breaking down their stations, the collection begins. John Ferguson of Ferguson Farm donates two large boxes of ripe peaches, which were just selling for $4 to $7 a basket. Alex Hitt of Peregrine Farm brings over a box of tomatoes worth more than $60. Basil comes from Cane Creek Farm. Cucumbers come from Turtle Run farm. Elise Margoles of Elysian Fields Farm drops off a grocery bag filled with eggplant.
"Thanks for taking care of this," Leah Cook of Wild Hare Farm tells Gifford. "It's so nice that someone will take it from here."
-- Collecting Unsold Produce for the Hungry (<-click for full text). Andrea Weigl, News & Observer, Sunday July 26, 2009.
For my Durham friends: the article mentions that the Durham Farmer's Market has been donating to Urban Ministries of Durham for years :-)
Feb 13, 2009
John Gorka Tonight -- Benefit for Urban Ministries of Durham (Friday, 13 Feb)
Date: Friday, February 13, 2009
Time: 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Location: Parish Hall, St. Philip's Episcopal Church
Address: 403 E Main St (enter on Queen St.)
City: Durham, NC
$20 at the door; $8 children 8-12; childcare available; refreshments available, including local brews from Triangle Brewing Company; free, monitored parking.
All ticket proceeds to Urban Ministries of Durham.
Jun 23, 2008
Dance of the Street People
American Dance Festival. I just remembered that it's going on right now up in Durham, and I remember the quote of some Ninth Street business owner who said upon the dancer's arrival each year, "It's the return of the posture people!".
Back in 2000, I saw Mark Dendy's "I'm Going to my Room to be Cool Now and I Don't Want to be Disturbed," and my God it was loud. I think of that performance almost every time I hear "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone", and I thought of it again when I saw this friendly guy on W. Main Street in a year or two ago. I thought I might send a copy of the photo to the Dendy folks, but then I discovered that the dance company had shut down some years ago. Dendy is still around but not his dance company.
In any case, I wanted to mention that there's street people, and there's street people. The guy pictured here seemed to be high-functioning alcoholic when I met him. I don't remember ever seeing him at Urban Ministries of Durham, but on this occasion, he was a perfectly amicable guy to chat with for a while. Yesterday I met someone like him on the streets of La Ceiba Honduras. "Stone" (his nickname, not a pseudonym) is a recovering crack addict Honduran who teaches English (he grew up on one of the Bay Islands where they speak both English and Spanish) and writes poetry about staying away from drugs. He was sitting outside my hotel when I was looking for folks to share some excess candy with and we hung out for a bit. He's pretty funny.
There are sadder sights in La Ceiba. Though it's nothing like, say, India, there are still more than a few kids on the streets at night looking for a few Lempiras or some food. I don't know what the "responsible system" is down here, but I've avoided giving money to any kids so far. I've also avoided eye contact, and I can't help but feel some shame about that. But shame is nothing compared to hunger, right? Fortunately for the kid on this evening, another kid from the hotel ran into the restaurant and brought him a small meal. When the kid approached me a second time, I gave him a fresh pack of gum.
Apr 22, 2008
A New York Panhandler and a Durham Biochemist
"At first glance, he looks like a Barney’s-outfitted Wall Streeter scooting among the traffic in Queensboro Plaza in Long Island City. At least until you realize that the man wearing the suit and tie has a crumpled cardboard cup in his hand is proffering it to drivers either entering or leaving the bridge.
"That’s no exec. That’s Baker Howard, who calls himself the best-dressed panhandler in New York...
"He said his daughter is a biochemist in [Durham] North Carolina and his son works in Los Angeles but that, “I ask for nothing from my children.”"
From Hey Buddy, Can You Spare Some Cuff Links? by Corey Kilgannon in the New York Times City Room blog, 22 April.
The article just says "North Carolina" but on the video, Howard says "Durham, North Carolina." The article also mentions that Howard is homeless despite holding both bachelor's and master's degrees.
If you know his daughter, you might tell her about the article.
And if you'd like to help the homeless in Durham, consider a gift to Urban Ministries of Durham, which needs $10,000 from new donors in April to earn a $25,000 matching grant. Give online via Network for Good's Urban Ministries of Durham Page.
Apr 18, 2008
Job Opening - Development Director at Urban Ministries of Durham
Urban Ministries of Durham seeks an
Exceptional Development Director.
Our current budget is just over $1MM.
Our goals are even bigger.
That’s why we need someone great.
Homelessness. Hunger. Substance Abuse. Poverty. We confront these challenges every day. Can you help us fuel our efforts – as we work to improve the lives of our brothers and sisters in need?
Our work isn’t easy. Every day, we provide shelter to ~110 people, and serve more than ~500 meals. We have a substance abuse recovery program that opens the door to great successes, but that takes immense effort. Our food pantry and clothing closet serve ,more than 450 people every month. And much more work needs to be done.
In the words of one of our Board members, “we could double our spending and still use every penny on the essentials.”
We know that the money is out there. We just need to help people decide that they want to put it to work through Urban Ministries of Durham.
The Ideal Candidate
What are we looking for in our next Development Director? Here are the essentials:
• Compassion – You believe in the dignity of each person. You work in a way that respects and increases the dignity of our clients, donors, volunteers, and staff.
• Commitment to Results – You set goals you believe in, and you find a way to meet them. You create good outcomes even when the path is not easy.
• Leadership – For corporate and individual gifts, you lead by example and by teaching. Sometimes you make the Ask. Other times, you help the executive director (or a board member, or another volunteer) make the best Ask they can. With your leadership, the team gets stronger every year.
• Organization and Follow-through - You are a self-starter who sets and implements solid work-plans. For annual giving and for foundation or government grants, you work with your team of volunteers and colleagues to create professional and timely requests that turn into reliable funding streams. And you make sure we deliver the very best “Thank You”.
• Strength and Spirit – you make principled decisions based on shared organizational values. You inspire confidence among donors and colleagues.
Why Work with Urban Ministries of Durham?
Here are some reasons we might be the right place for you to do your good work:
• Urban Ministries of Durham (UMD) has a strong reputation built on nearly 25 years of service. Our programs improve every year.
• We partner closely with City and County government, religious organizations, and the private sector. We are a faith-based organization whose services are primarily secular.
• We have a diverse set of funding sources. Individuals, congregations, corporations, government grants, and foundation grants fuel our work. We are not over-reliant on any one funder, and many of our funders have supported us over many years.
• While it won’t be easy to meet and grow our budget every year, we know it can be done. Durham has the resources we need to rebuild lives and to strengthen our community. We have some great development volunteers who are ready to receive your quality guidance.
• Durham is a vibrant and growing community. Our downtown neighborhood is in the midst of incredible new development and urban renewal.
Much more about us is online at www.umdurham.org
We recognize that successful development directors come in different shapes and sizes, and that they come from different paths. That said, we have a list of likely characteristics:
Proven success in several of the following:
• Fundraising for $1MM+ budgets
• Annual Fund campaigns
• Major Gift campaigns (with responsibility for some fraction of Asks)
• Foundation and government grant writing
• Corporate giving requests.
Proven competence with several of the following:
• Leading and teaching other development committee staff and volunteers
• Database management (Sage Fundraising 50, MS Access)
• Public relations and marketing
• Event planning
Candidates with strong connections within the Durham community are particularly encouraged to apply.
Please send resume and letter of interest no later than May 20 to:
UMD Search Committee
c/o Phil Marsosudiro
UMD.search + gmail + com
Apr 09, 2008
Urban Ministries of Durham Breakfast
Monday breakfast at Urban Ministries of Durham -- oatmeal, scrambled eggs, half a ham-and-cheese sandwich on whole grain bread, half a carrot/bran/something muffin, and a mug of coffee.
Urban Ministries of Durham provides free meals daily -- breakfast, lunch, and dinner -- to anyone who comes by. No money. No prayers. No required participation in anything.*
A new lead cook has just come on board, and the whole team is working to improve both appeal and nutrition, starting with breakfast. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day for many UMD diners. By my estimate, UMD serves ~125 people each morning. And I'd guess that at least 1/4 are going off to some kind of work (construction, janitorial, whatever-they-can-get) right afterward. Increase the fraction if you include "parenting" in the work category.
Where does the food come from? Breakfast and lunch "groceries" come from many sources that do gleaning, collecting, or donating. One of my favorite sources is the Interfaith Food Shuttle whose refrigerator trucks collect banquet and restaurant leftovers from places like the Durham Convention Center run by Marriott. UMD has a longtime relationship with Whole Foods (baked goods are a high volume donation)** . And of course there are congregational and neighborhood food drives, the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, and the USDA.
In recent years, demand for meals has grown modestly or remained steady. However, it's getting harder to keep the food supply coming into UMD's kitchen. I'm not sure of the exact reasons, but if I had to guess, it would be a combination of: a slower economy that makes for less "excess" at banquets and restaurants, higher gas and food costs impeding donors, etc. Upping the quality standard won't make it any easier to have an ample supply of what's needed.
*Though it's not quite "no questions asked" because they request your name and birthday as a way of tracking service stats. I guess there isn't really a "free lunch" in this world. But if you're concerned about privacy, you could always give a fake name and birthday. If you wanted to pay a favor for the usage stats data gathering, you could also be so kind as to always give the same fake name and birthday.
**Challenge/conundrum/irony: Whole Foods donates lots of high-nutrition baked goods like the ones you see on the near tray. But a lot of UMD's diners don't necessary like whole grains, nuts, bran, etc. in their bread. They prefer and are used to plain white bread. And a lot of UMD's diners don't have great teeth, either. So... how does one serve?
Jul 22, 2007
Program Director Opening -- Urban Ministries of Durham
Program Director Opening at Urban Ministries of Durham
Apply by 21 Aug 07
Urban Ministries of Durham
Homelessness. Hunger. Substance Abuse. We confront these challenges every day. Will you stand with us and help lead the way to progress for our brothers and sisters in need?
At Urban Ministries of Durham, we seek an exceptional Program Director to lead and manage our major programs to address homelessness, hunger, substance abuse, and poverty.
The job will not be easy. You will be responsible for providing shelter to ~100 people, and ~500 meals a day. You will also oversee our substance abuse recovery program that opens the door to great successes, but with many challenges and risks. And you will help strengthen our food pantry and clothing closet which serve nearly 400 people every month. Fortunately, you will be working with a team of nearly 20 paid staff and hundreds of volunteers, and you will be well-supported by an experienced executive director.
The Ideal Candidate
What are we looking for in our next Program Director? Here are the essentials:
- Compassion – you believe in the dignity of each person, and work in a way that both respects and increases the dignity of our clients, staff and volunteers
- Leadership – you help your staff grow stronger and achieve greater results through your example and your support, all of which create a true engagement with our clients and mission.
- Organization – you make the most of our resources by effectively directing both time and energy. You understand the value of processes, reporting, and information technology.
- Vision – you imagine better ways to achieve our mission as the changing environment creates new opportunities and new risks.
- Strength – you make principled decisions and create positive results even when solutions are not easy to find.
Why Work with Urban Ministries of Durham?
- Urban Ministries of Durham (UMD) has a strong reputation built on nearly 25 years of service. We are fiscally solid and are growing stronger.
- We work in close partnership with City and County government, religious organizations, and the private sector. We are a faith-based organization whose services are primarily secular.
- Durham is a vibrant and growing community in the nationally recognized Research Triangle. Our downtown neighborhood is in the midst of incredible new development and urban renewal.
- Durham has begun implementing a “Ten Year Results Plan to End Homelessness in Durham”. As program director, you will be one of our primary representatives in the effort.
- As program director, you will have endless variety: with opportunities to do inside work (with staff, volunteers and clients) and outside work (with government and private partners, and other stakeholders). And you will have many challenges.
- Our infrastructure (i.e., organizational structure, physical plant) is established. You won’t have to start from scratch, but you’ll have the freedom to create new things (e.g., we have just acquired a Jani-King franchise for our substance abuse recovery program).
Successful experience in human services program delivery and management is the primary qualification, including successful supervision and development of front-line and supervisory staff. Proficiency with MS Office tools (Word, Excel) and experience working with large datasets (via MS Access or other database tools) is essential. A bachelor’s degree is required and a master’s degree is preferred. Fluency or facility in Spanish is a plus.
At UMD, we treasure the spiritual reward of our careers but also recognize the need for other compensations. The salary will be $40-$45k, depending on qualifications and experience. Paid vacations, holidays, and health insurance are standard for all fulltime staff, and we also contribute to a 403(b) retirement plan on behalf of employees after one year of fulltime work.
Please respond with resume and letter of interest no later than August 21 via our recruiting agent, Phil Marsosudiro, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be glad to hear from you.
It is the policy of UMD to employ, place, compensate, train, counsel, promote, terminate, and otherwise treat any and all employees and job applicants on the basis of merit, qualifications, competence, and compliance with other organizational policies and goals. This shall be applied without regard to any individual's age, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, or physical disability.
Feb 28, 2007
Panama tells his story for the Urban Ministries of Durham camera.
Panama has been stayiang at the UMD shelter since late 2005. A former truck driver, he's been on disability for injuries to his lower back.
Most recently, he's found a job as a truck dispatcher, and hopes to have enough money to be back on his own in a few months. No alcohol or drug problems. No mental illness. No criminal background. Just disability. Likes the new job but couldn't go to work today because he was sick. Sickness travels quickly and persists when you've got ~100 people all living under one roof. "Kennel cough", one person called it.
Feb 27, 2007
Sarah Meets the Camera
Sarah hates having her picture taken. But sometimes she'll take the hit -- like last Friday when she volunteered to tell her story to a film crew that was producing a new public relations piece for Urban Ministries of Durham.
Parts of Sarah's story:
- Born into a well-to-do New England family
- Finishing drinks at her parents' parties by age 9
- Working to get beyond the alcohol and into a truly healthy life at 47
- Dreaming of a degree and career in library science.
Nov 16, 2006
Lee at the Gate -- Urban Ministries of Durham
Back in the 80s and 90s, he was a high-level hotel exec doing just fine until he discovered cocaine. Soon enough he was broke and close to broken -- in line on the stoop at Urban Ministries of Durham, looking for a bed.
That was two years ago. Now he's clean, living well and working full time as UMD's food and clothing services manager. A happy circle.
Click here for two audio minutes of Lee (1.8MB)* on what he's seeing and thinking today, now that he's staff and not a resident.
Thank you for taking the time.
*sorry for the file size. I'm still learning :-)
Nov 14, 2006
RSVVP Day Today, Nov 14
Thank you to those who ate out on RSVVP day, whose Durham proceeds go to the Community Kitchen at Urban Ministries of Durham. The Community Kitchen serves several hundred meals every day to anyone* who comes through the doors at the corner of Liberty and Queen Streets.
At right a pic of my friend William with whom I sometimes share a meal at UMD (or Golden Corral if we're working). We took this photo last week, three days before his 54th birthday. Click here for a 45-second audio clip of Will telling some of his plans and hopes.
*no requirements other than stating your name for general stat-keeping which UMD uses for its own tracking as well as for reporting to potential funders.
Nov 06, 2006
Spare a Guitar, Anyone?
My new friend Chris is in the drug and alcohol recovery program at Urban Ministries of Durham. We had a long lunch today talking about photography and music, and I think I knew what he talking about when he described his favorite book ever: a volume of guitar photographs.
In any case, one of the greatest things that could happen for his health and happiness would be if someone gave him a modest guitar to reconnect him to his musical insides. I asked what he might like and he said, "a small body steel string acoustic for picking and slide guitar. Doesn't need to be a fine guitar -- just a working guitar without a warped fretboard" I told him I'd see if I could find a donor. Anyone out there with something they'd like to pass on?
Please let me know. It would be the coolest thing ever to put one back in Chris's hands.
March update. The bad news is that Chris had a relapse with the addiction problems. The good news is that although UMD had to release him from their susbstance abuse programs (per the rules they run themselve by), two of the UMD staff are still supporting Chris and helping him "stand up" with his ongoing struggle. Also good news -- he's still grooving with the guitars and they're keeping him much closer to saneon a daily basis. Many thanks again to Fik and Carl for coming through with the axe therapy.
Sep 29, 2006
Shaky and the Brick House (with video)
Me neither. At least not until last week when I went to the Recovery Block Party sponsored by a dozen or so local government agencies and NGOs and hosted at Urban Ministries of Durham.
At left, Shaky shows his stuff.
Better yet, click here for a video of Shaky doing it for the Brick House. 1MB and worth it if you like street dancing and/or the Commodores. (It kills me that my knees aren't as good as Shaky's even though I'm younger.)
Sep 11, 2006
*** ISO Labor Gigs in Durham ***
Hi folks. My friend Jody* (pictured at right) is looking for work ASAP in the Durham area. I met him at Urban Ministries of Durham where he was highly recommended by several staff when I was asking around for help with moving furniture, car detailing, and the like.
I really appreciated the chance to spend time with Jody and was moved to hear about his past struggles with drugs and several unlucky events that he has tried to move past into a new life. But more relevant to this ad, I also found that Jody works fast and smart and needs minimal supervision. He needs money asap to pay the rent at a halfway house. I'd be so glad if any blog readers can provide an opportunity.
Email me and I'll give you his contact info. And read here for more about Jody.
*not real name but I'll be glad to provide if you'd like!
Aug 17, 2006
Long Live Talk*
I've spent the last few days hanging out with people whose lives and mindsets are very different from those of my usual daymates. Often, I think of these visits as "good exercises in experiencing diversity." Then I think of some of the quotes as novel or interesting-because-some-liberals-usually-just- talk-about-diversity (without hanging out with any people much unlike themselves). At some point, it finally becomes just living, which is where I hope for it to be.
In any case, some quotes from Jody** who lives at Urban Ministries of Durham at the moment***, and who is doing some work for me:
It doesn't sound right, I know, but the city needs to do a sweep. There've only been three in the US ever -- cops going door to door, checking out houses and rounding up anyone who don't look right. That's what Durham needs to do to clean the damned streets of all the bad elements.
He came shooting up the back porch because he thought he was my brother. I grabbed my two nephews and held them tight (to keep them safe) and that's when the bullet bounced off the Budweiser can and hit me in the back.
What's next on my plans? Peace. Peace, and energy, and getting my sh* together. After that, I can have anything I want.
Drop me off here [at a corner a couple of blocks from UMD]. This is where I stash my stuff so it doesn't get stolen during the day.
Your folks -- I could feel the spirit there. I felt safe.
I keep wondering -- do I get peace and then I can quit smoking? Or do I have to quit smoking before I get the peace?
You wanna do what? Drive around back roads in your van all around the country? You better be careful. I hate to say it but it's the small towns got all the red and black necks doing their drug deals out in the open, and they're damn sure gonna look at you funny. Bring two guys or two girls or something.
My friend's son came into my friend's basement while he was at work -- stole all the copper pipes. Stole all the copper cabling. I was up there until 4 a.m. putting new PVC in there. My friend didn't have no saw. Didn't have no light. And I didn't get no sleep last night, so I'm gonna sleep good tonight.
And from my new neighbor whose wireless network I helped to set up:
Goddammit, I'm gonna kick your ass you don't drink this beer. For real.
On the radio (101.1, I think) -- a modest paraphrasing:
People, it's gotta begin in your churches or your synagogues. The schools have already been lost to teachers who tell your kids not to fight back and to try to understand where the other kids are coming from. That's all well and good if you're living in a crystal ball [sic], but not in real life. You have got to learn to fight back or you will be killed. When you're at your church or your synagogue and the preacher or rabbi starts talking about AIDS in Africa, or tsunami relief in Indonesia -- stand up. You'll get a lot of nasty looks, but stand up and say "We don't need to hear about that. What we need to hear is about how we're going fight IslamoFascism which is the Nazi threat of today."
Today -- car repairs and such for me and Hilary at Ingold Tire, whose staff still refer to me as "the computer guy" because of this entry.
*incidentally, I have a new phone and an email plan. Rockin'.
***was working out of town but got bit by a brown recluse. Lost 50 lbs. in 4 months.
Mar 30, 2006
Carla Gray -- February 2006
In the last eighteen months, Carla had managed to get clean at Urban Ministries of Durham, and had come to find peace, happiness and reward from staying clean and helping others get clean. She and her partner had moved out of the shelter and into a beautiful new apartment which she paid for in part with eldercare help for her landlord who quickly came to love her. She had found a new data entry job and was just getting started.
What a time for a heart attack.
But would it have been worse if she'd died eighteen months sooner? I think so. Carla lived to happy days, and her story will help inspire even more addicts and alcoholics to find the hope it takes to keep working toward recovery.
I was grateful for Carla's friendship and hugs in the six months that I knew her just before she died. And I'm grateful for the continued ripples she's leaving on our waters, even after she's gone.
Nov 02, 2005
Concern is Everywhere
On Tuesday I hired two friends from the Urban Ministries of Durham shelter to help me with some household tasks, and afterward I joined them for dinner at the UMD kitchen -- fried chicken, that evening.
Sharing our table, another shelter resident half-jokingly complained, "If I see chicken one more time for dinner, I'm going to start clucking like a hen. Every day, chicken or pasta for dinner. Just about every day."
But then, head down, he said, "Oh, I am such a hyprocite. It makes me feel like crying to say it..."
He sighed before continuing, "How can I complain about this food when there are so many others who have nothing to eat. Nothing!"
And then he did cry. And my heart went out to him and his tender soul.
Oct 09, 2005
Dickie on Living Clean
"Now, I am happy with my life."
Aug 08, 2005
Bring On the Lettuce -- Urban Ministries of Durham
Talmadge and Henry crank up the salads.
-- Pic by Grace Camblos -- click to increase number of servings.
On July 30, we served 172 meals -- our usual mix of chili over rice plus salad, buttered bread and dessert. Two days earlier, the kitchen had served more than 200, so we were lucky to not get stretched too thin. Also part of the lucky evening: five monster bags of fresh-picked tomatoes dropped off by a farmer just as we were prepping dinner. Lots of happy chopping, and I had a big cupful of the light, seedy tomato "juice" that dropped to the bottom of our prep bowl. And for my own dinner -- a ham sandwich with a fresh tomato eaten out of hand in place of a beverage.
Jul 22, 2004
Reggie the Moving Man | quotables
"I've got a lot of experience moving furniture, and I'm very selective about who I work with. I know how to pick things up and carry them in the way that makes most sense. I don't want to work with someone who gets a smart new idea how to do things when we're halfway up the stairs."
-- Reggie B., who helped me move a new china cabinet and dining room table yesterday afternoon. Reggie is currently living at the Urban Ministries of Durham shelter and is available for good labor work just about any time. And he's good company for long rides (like Durham to Cary and back). Call me if you want his phone number.