Monday, October 14, 2013

October News for Community Outreach and Involvement

Strengthening Partnerships, Parting ways, and formalizing the Stages In-between

McAuley House: Strengthening Partnerships
As of October 13, 2013, FRN@ Brown is excited to announce an expanded partnership with McAuley House. Larry Loverty, McAuley’s Kitchen Manager, will now recover both Wednesday 11:30am and Friday 11:30am pickups from the Sharpe Refractory. Additionally Larry expects increased student involvement through volunteer shadowing shifts during morning pickups throughout the week.
These shadowing shifts or “ride alongs” would give individual reps a behind the scenes look at how and where our partner organizations actually acquire large volumes of food from both private and public sources. Interested reps should email, and expect an early morning bus commute followed by 2-3 hours of heavy lifting and loading. Your mission- should you choose to except it- would include fun, experiential education about high volume food distribution, and insider knowledge of McAuley’s meal service operations. The FRN@ Brown Leadership highly encourages reps to pursue this opportunity, and expects that shifts will fill fast. Thus email ASAP to ensure your ideal scheduling!

We Share Hope: Parting ways
            As of October 11, 2013, FRN@ Brown and We Share Hope (WSH) are parting ways. This unfortunate but necessary development comes after a series of meetings and conversations with WSH’s founder, Steve Martin. During these conversations, it became clear that the high volume output and operations of WSH and the relatively low-volume pickup at Sharpe Refractory were incompatible. Thus, the good news: Steve and WSH will have more time and availability for extremely high volume pickups and run a more efficient and effective service for RI’s food insecure. The bad news: WSH will no longer be available to recover food on Friday shifts. Graciously, Steve Martin has offered his continued support and mentorship for FRN and its members and encouraged partnership on future events such as gleaning and shift shadowing for pickup and delivery events.

RIHAP and HOPE: Formalizing Shelter Standards
Thanks to the generous support of Jana Foxe of Brown’s Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere (HOPE), FRN has begun formalizing the process of vetting partner organizations and shelters. This process necessarily involves input from shelter management, the homeless who frequent shelters, and a wide variety of organizations involved in case management, homelessness outreach, and food insecurity. RIHAP (Rhode Island Homeless Advocacy Project) drafted a letter to send to shelters with poor standards- i.e. no hot water or allegations of staff eating donated food- and is seeking input from FRN@Brown. Unfortunately, Urban League, our night donation recipient, is one of the shelters named on this list. Thus, we are currently in the process of reviewing the letter and will integrate insight and recommendations from RIHAP and HOPE  into FRN’s first ever Shelter Contract Statutes.

By formalizing the process of shelter vetting we can ensure that donations are being used efficiently and reaching those who need food the most. Additionally, various shelters may impose intake requirements that actively support political agendas that do not align with FRN@Brown’s inclusive and secular stance. One example of this is the rejection of LGBTQ guests due to their non-heterosexual lifestyle. Thankfully, this is not an issue we have faced with our partners in Rhode Island, but it serves as one example of how and why written statutes will guide future partnerships for FRN on a national scale and ensure that we provide support to socially responsible institutions. Interested students are encouraged to email with any input, comments, and questions about this process. A focus group meeting will be scheduled if sufficient interest is expressed in relation to this project.

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