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Food Sharing

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LAI: Feeding People 02/23/2013

March 6, 2013 • Paige

Working together with Streets of Charity, the Louisiana Initiative (Moxie, Cognito, and Servo) fed more than 80 people a hearty, nutritious meal.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVk9B2jaIpE&feature=player_embedded]
Sharing food is one of the most basic and powerful ways to help people. Considering that 1 in 6 people in America face hunger, there needs to be more of us feeding those who are struggling.  Cooking for 100 people is easier than you might think! Read more about this in Moxie’s article at:  STANDSuperhero.com

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Helping People 101: Sharing Food

March 4, 2013 • Paige

LouisianaInitiative_streetsofcharitySharing food is one of the most basic and powerful ways to help people. Considering that 1 in 6 people in America face hunger, there needs to be more of us feeding those who are struggling.  Cooking for 100 people is easier than you might think!

Every Saturday in Downtown Shreveport a group of people gathers in an empty lot, just before 5:00pm.  They set up folding tables and serve a meal for 50 to  100 people and then clean up, break down, and vanish leaving no traces that they were ever there, all within a single hour.

This past Saturday it was my turn to cook.  Because it is near the end of the month, I was told to expect a lot of people – as many as 100.  Normally I cook for three people so this undertaking seemed like a big task.  It really wasn’t.

Cooking for a large group is not difficult at all; it just requires some planning and forethought, plus a little extra equipment.  If (when?) you decide to do something like this, be sure to tell all of your friends and family what you are planning.  My mother-in-law happily donated her 3-gallon (12 quart) and 4.5 gallon (18 quart) stock pots to the cause, along with two pounds of frozen meat. A coworker donated a bag of chicken, which meant I didn’t have to purchase any meat at all. We picked up 4-gallon (16 quart) stockpots at a popular discount store for $12.00 each.  As long as you’re making stews or other foods with a lot of liquid and keep the heat fairly low, the cheap stockpots will do just fine.

I only spent about an hour researching “Cooking for 100 people” before I had a good understanding of how much food I needed to make. It takes about 6.5 gallons to serve one cup of food to 100 people, so I decided to make 8 gallons of stew and 10 lbs of rice to serve with it.  The last thing in the world I wanted was to run out of food before everyone got to eat. I have included my recipe below, including all of the day-before preparations and some advice to help you avoid my mistakes.

Here is a slide-show that I prepared from photos taken along the way.  In the past I have been against posting photos of good deeds, but I’ve since discovered that this is an EXCELLENT way to let friends and coworkers know what I’m doing  – and hopefully – inspire them to pitch in and help!  After sharing this around a little bit, I already have several people lined up to help me next month.  It is hard to argue with what works.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVk9B2jaIpE?rel=0]

Hearty Bean Stew for 100 People

15 lbs of dry beans, any kind.   I used a mix of kidney, pinto, black, navy.
2 lbs pork tenderloin
6 lbs of chicken breast
1 lb pork sausage
3 bunches of celery, chopped
4 lbs of onion, chopped
chicken broth (I had homemade bone broth)
few teaspoons of liquid smoke
few scoops of minced garlic
Tony Cachere’s – green can
Oregano, salt, pepper

6 – 7  lbs of white rice  (I cooked 10 lbs – way too much!)

The day before:

Rinse and soak beans for a minimum of 8 hours.
Boil and shred the meat. Save the broth.

The day of:

Drain the beans and use fresh water and the broth from boiling the meat. Boil the beans hard for about 10 minutes.  Add a mountain of chopped onion and celery.  Add the meat, garlic and seasonings then reduce heat to low for about 3 hours.

I cooked 10 lbs of rice but 6 or 7 lbs would have been plenty.  The best way to cook large quantities of rice is in steam table pans in the oven, but if you don’t have those just cook it in several smaller batches.   I used a large stockpot which produced very mushy rice. It wasn’t a big deal this time since the rice was being mixed with stew.

The pots stayed very hot wrapped in blankets, and the baskets made it all easy to carry.  We didn’t have to worry about spilling in the car.

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Moxie’s Coat Drive 2012

December 30, 2012 • Paige

Something really cool happened this year.  I had a successful coat drive, but it wasn’t because I put in a lot of effort.  I just wasn’t able to this year.  Life happens, you know?

Rather than beat myself up about what I couldn’t do, I will rejoice in the fact that my coat drive happened almost WITHOUT ME!

Everyone who knows me, is aware that I do this every year. People were bringing me an item or two all through the year.  My “donations corner” slowly filled up.  About a month before I planned to post flyers and start advertising, a coworker gave me two huge bags full of stuff she had been saving for me.  This is now something I am known for – and hopefully next year I will have time and energy to accomplish something big.  If not, I’m still going to be happy that everyone in my life is thinking about donating coats and clothes all the time.

In a way, I’ve already accomplished something big!

It’s hard to tell from the photo below, but this is a giant box for shipping a dishwasher.

2012MoxieCoatDrive

Moxie is co-Founder of the Louisiana Initiative, and a regular contributor for S.T.A.N.D.

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Where do I start? by Moxie Gusto

September 17, 2012 • Paige

A fairly common goal in our rag-tag community is to inspire others to help those in need and generally do more good in the world.  We all have our own methods of drawing attention, but what do you do once you’ve got it?

More often than not, the response we get from people is very positive and often a person will ask how they can help.  Usually this isn’t a person who is looking to dress up like a ninja or go on patrol.  In my recent experience, those most interested in getting out and doing something good are older people or mothers who want to teach their children about helping others.

When this happens – and it will – have a well thought-out answer ready for the non-ninjas. Even better, print up a few business cards with contact information for outreach organizations in your area. There is a much better chance a person will follow through if you can put the information directly in their hands.

There is no reason not to do this. A pack of break-apart business cards can be had for about $3.00. You can find free software similar to Microsoft Word at http://OpenOffice.org , and free business card templates to get you started here: http://templates.openoffice.org/en/node/1163

If YOU are wondering where you can start:

It doesn’t matter what you do, or how you help. Just pick something that appeals to you and get started.

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Simple Gestures

June 11, 2012 • Paige

Sometimes all you need to do to really help someone is to listen. Never underestimate the effectiveness of a simple and heart-felt “How are you doing today?”

If you find out someone is really struggling, take the time to listen, no matter what.  Be late to work.  Be late getting home.  You never know what kind of affect you may have by simply listening to someone who needs a few minutes of your time.

You might give a stressed out person a chance to vent, get something off of their chest and have a much better day than they were having.  You might instill a little bit of hope in someone who has just about lost it.  You could even save a life.

I don’t have answers for the really tough problems, and I don’t always know what to say when someone is hurting.  Having the answer is NOT what it is all about. What is important is making eye contact, and really and truly listening and letting that person be heard.

http://www.save.org         http://www.sprc.org/

In an Emergency, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

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Moxie’s Coat Drive 2011

December 21, 2011 • Paige

My first coat drive in 2010 was a great experience. With very little planning and no experience, I collected 25 warm coats in 5 days.  I only visited the offices within the same building where I work.   That was nice, but I had an entire year to plan my next coat drive.  This year I enlisted Cognito and Servo to help.

Because this was my second coat drive, everyone I know was already familiar with what I was doing, and donations came from every direction.  We had to devote a 4′ X 4′ area in our house to hold donations throughout the year.
I learned of a huge rummage sale happening at a church near my house.  I asked the organizers if I could have the coats, clothes, and blankets that were left over for my coat drive – and they were GLAD to let me haul off anything I wanted to take. WONDERFUL!!  You never know, until you ask.

Behold:

Moxie-2011-coat-drive

It took Cognito and Servo two trips with our truck to get all of this stuff to the rescue mission. I had some more last minute donations that are not in this photo, so it was a total of 18 bags of quality coats, clothes, and shoes in all sizes. The “donations corner” in my house was finally empty, but it never stays that way for long.

Moxie is co-Founder of the Louisiana Initiative, and a regular contributor for S.T.A.N.D.

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Moxie’s Coat Drive 2010

December 31, 2010 • Paige

In December of 2010, I held my first coat drive.  I was inspired by people in my life who were very quick to help anyone in need, and I want to be one of those people  It was a very long time ago, but I know what it is like to have to be outside in cold weather without proper warm clothing.

For anyone just starting out, www.OneWarmCoat.org is a fantastic resource!   You will find all kinds of advice tol help you plan and conduct a successful drive.  You can also advertise your coat drive on their website, and at the end they will send you a cute certificate to recognize your efforts.

It doesn’t matter what you do, or how much you can help – what matters is that you find a way to help, and get started!  Do what you can, when you can.

Moxie_2010_coat_drive

Moxie’s first coat drive, 2010

Moxie is co-Founder of the Louisiana Initiative, and a regular contributor for S.T.A.N.D.

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