Lance, La Puente’s director, gave us the history behind the programs today. He said the true problem with hunger in America isn’t about counting calories, it’s about the nutritional count. Too often donations that come in are baked goods, breads and processed, canned foods. There is a huge need for vegetables and produce in the Valley. Alamosa has wonderful community gardensthat are located in the town and at the elementary school, but because there is only an average of 7 inches precipitation a year, there are only three months of growing season.
La Puente’s Community Garden‘s program spends time educating the community and children at school about the importance of nutrition. Rather than simply handing out food, their goal is to let the community get their hands dirty and to get excited about eating healthy.
From the end of August through October I am told this is when all of the migrant workers come. Many work 12-16 hours a day and send the money they earn to their families back home. They have no place to sleep but on mats on the dining room floor at the shelter.
Lance has had some powerful experiences over the years and I look forward to learning from him.
Tonight we watched a documentary at Adams State College called The Interrupters. CeaseFire, an initiative of Chicago Project for Violence Prevention , brings in violence interrupters to communities in order to ease tensions and resolve conflict. A few takeaways: Violence is a learned behavior. See violence as a bad behavior, not a bad person. Don’t give up on people. I got choked up watching it, especially when they were interviewing some of the children who were affected.
Earlier in the day, Tim, Pals‘ program director, gave us some background about the need for the program for children ages 5-9. The site gives a pretty good description of it.
It rips me apart to see children whose childhoods are being stripped away from them, who don’t have the proper love and support, and whose futures aren’t looking so bright. I plan on getting involved with Pals as much as I can around my other positions.
Tim ended our visit with his favorite quote. It’s too good to not post here:
“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.
I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no ‘brief candle’ for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.” ~George Bernard Shaw