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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

beautiful disaster

This morning I went to a social entreprenuership conference on Temple's campus called "Local healthy food can transform our community." The conference focused on bringing nutrition and healthy food alternatives to the Philadelphia community. I went to to sessions, one on "Effective Food Nutrition Programs in Philadelphia" and a second one on "Getting great food into low socioeconomic urban areas." Both were very informative and discussed ways that local business and nonprofits were bringing nutrition education and food alternatives to underserved communities. Their was also some strong dialogue on barriers and opportunities. The organizations I got to hear from were:

I also got some awesome free snacks and met some cool cats. I went to a Marketing seminar yesterday where I got to hear from some industry professionals who spoke to us about marketing, pr and developing a plan on a small budget. I love these things, including the opportunity to run into people I saw at previous conferences! In my effort to stay abreast to whats going on in Philadelphia and be involved in as many ways as possible, I'm apart of the the AmeriCorps week planning committee. The committee is working on developing service projects for 100 AmeriCorps members. Right now, there are a few lot cleanups scheduled, but it would be great to have something more sustainable and far reaching for the community members. Not that clean lots don't have their significance!

I also just signed on for the Green economy task force job committee to help lay out some plans for green job trainings and opportunities in the Philadelphia community. Exciting! I have been engrossed in Van Jones book the Green economy and really trying to understand this possible new movement. The types of opportunities that come from this could be really transformative.
Work has been somewhat busy but I just developed this phenomenal to-do list using excel which has made my life so much easier, and COLOR CODED! Color coding things is like meditating to me, so euphoric.

Unfortunately I have been very tired, just so tired and I have no idea why. I can never seem to get enough sleep which is just poo oh and (drum roll please)

I GOT FOOD STAMPS!! It came at such a perfect time ($20 to my name folks) and I have fully stocked my kitchen and the ability to eat full meals every night is so fascinating to me. I am still getting over my grocery store anxiety. Since June I have had to keep my purchases under 60 bux and everything is counted and weighed and I have never been able to get all that I need and rationing has become my new pasttime. I don't complain though because I am still very fortunate. With food stamps I can return to eating healthy and nutritiously and being able to cook my own food at night is so empowering. The ability to choose and eat quality food has such value which cannot be underestimated. And here in Philly, many if not all farmers markets accept food stamps! My monthly allowance is $200. I officially filed for food stamps on January 28th and didn't receive them until last week due to lost paperwork and just blahness. Persistence payed off though and the money was applied retroactively so my food stamps came with about 400 on it plus the 200 I get for this month! Don't worry Mom, I won't spend it all at once!

Our client flow has picked up and we are feeling it. The end of tax season is fast approaching and despite the amount of taxes I have done for others I have yet to do my own, eeek. We have had really encouraging success and wonderful relationships developing. Still I feel a great deal of anxiety and sadness at times just encountering the challenges out there. There is so much that needs to be done system wise for our work to be more effective. It is very daunting and tiring. Last week I had a meeting with a social worker from a local legal assitance org. who shared housing resources with us. The point she drove home was that people need advocates in order to be successful. Yes they do.

Sunday Morning by Maroon 5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWsfrHvUMZM

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