Famine to Feast News:
Anyone interested in helping with the effort should call the Los Alamos Police Dispatch Center at 505.662.8222.
Local charity Famine to Feast made good on their promise Sunday, delivering 2,000 pounds of snacks, water and toiletries donated by Los Alamos residents and businesses to firefighters still battling the El Cajete Fire in the Jemez Mountains. As soon as the fire started Thursday, Famine to Feast started a donation drive where residents and businesses quickly started donating.
Two pickup trucks loaded with supplies stopped in at the La Cueva Volunteer Fire Department to drop everything off Sunday morning.
La Cueva Chief Lee Taylor welcomed the donations from Los Alamos, saying it was more than enough.
“With this quantity, we’ll share it with the other fire departments in the area,” Taylor said. “It’s obviously more than we’ll need for this incident, but we will use it for future incidents. We have lots of search and rescues we do, more fires, it will definitely be a benefit to the firefighters and the rescuers.”
The supplies will be distributed as needed to the firefighters this weekend. Helping Famine To Feast with their efforts was Smith’s, Los Alamos National Bank, Ruby K’s, Metzger’s and High Mesa Dental and Los Alamos Medical Center.
Famine to Feast founder Jaret McDonald was glad the donations they gathered from Los Alamos on such short notice will be put to good use.
“As designed, as expected,” McDonald said. “The generosity of Los Alamos has been amazing…. It’s generosity has once again made a huge difference.”
“A lot of the time, the water is from storage, since they have to have these things for early fire season. The water we brought was a huge deal, because it’s fresh,” McDonald said.
Ruby K’s donated bagels, and some went to the Jemez Mountain Baptist Church, which was used as an evacuation and communication center at the fire’s peak.
“In my mind, that’s what we ought to be about,” Jemez Mountain Baptist Church Pastor Eric Larson said. “Yes, we’re going to have our Sunday morning service just like we did this Sunday morning, but we’re also here as a resource for our community.”
The fire actually started right across NM 4 from the Larson’s house. Yet, when Eric’s wife, Debra, who is also a receptionist for Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus, got the news, she had no choice but go to the church and begin helping the displaced. She said there wasn’t any time to think about their house.
“We’ve been through so many of these, that we’ve prepared enough to scan the pictures, all the documents are in the safe deposit box, so, if (the house) goes, it goes,” Debra said. “As long as life is preserved, we’re good.”
On Thursday, when the fire started, Larson first heard about it through her neighbor, who managed to save the Larson’s pets
While things are winding down now, Eric Larson was happy to open the doors of the church to the community when it most needed it. Larson, who is also an employee at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, built and founded the church 10 years ago. It was also designed for these types of situations. It was built with bathrooms, showers and a washer and dryer. The church help out during the Las Conchas and Thompson Ridge Fires.
“If we had to, if we’re doing what we’re doing now, we can take care of people,” Larson said.
He and his family became evacuees Friday morning. For the past week, people have been dropping off food, water, anything the evacuees needed. Besides the evacuees, the church was handing out food and water to the firefighters too.
“The last thing I need is the guy that’s defending my house to be hungry,” Larson said.
Thursday night, the church had 10 people spend the night, Friday night 17, and last night, 14.
“The outpouring from the community has been unbelievable. We have not had a need for anything,” Larson said. “People would call and say ‘I’m at Costco. What do you need.’”
The fire became a “Type One” fire yesterday, meaning the federal government can pull in as many resources as it wants as far as food, drinking water and other resources are concerned. The 1300 acre fire is now 80 percent contained.
Thank you, Thank you, and Thank you to Los Alamos National Security for providing the LANL Employee Giving Campaign.
We received just shy by a couple of bucks to pay for an Android app for Famine to Feast.
To the individuals who individually donated … you are amazing! If you didn’t hear it before, THANKS!!!! You really are helping other people with your donations.
An Android app is on the way and will be available for download by Friday, May 26. www.faminetofeastnow.org.
by Carol A. Clark
Famine to Feast is joining forces April 1 with the California NPO “Compassion Through Action”. Founder Jeff Padilla, is in the process of expanding his organization to New Mexico and is sponsoring an event the YMCA, 808 Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Espanola.
The goal is to make 100 sack lunches and toiletry bags to be distributed at the event. The following is a list of NEW items that Famine to Feast would like your help to provide:
- 100 each of lotion, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, moist towelettes, lip balm, tweezers, athletic socks, and shaving cream; and
- Gently used Men’s, Women’s, and Children’s clothing
Items can be dropped off at 112 Azure Dr. or 133 La Senda Road, or use the Famine to Feast app or web page and representatives will gladly pick up donated items.
Donations will be accepted until March 29.
Famine to Feast is very excited to work with Compassion Through Action because of its similar mission to help those in need. For more information about these non-profit organizations, visit compassionthougaction.org and faminetofeastnow.org. Thanks for the support!
Yesterday we were able to meet with full-time volunteers, Joe and Sue, at the Santa Fe Interfaith Homeless Shelter serving the chronic homeless in Santa Fe and they are looking forward to Famine to Feast (F2F) coming to Santa Fe. We were taken aback by the magnitude of what goes into supporting and caring for the less fortunate. It is painful to see so many individuals hurting and needing assistance right in our back yard. F2F is near ready to spread the neighbor to neighbor giving outside of Los Alamos and is seeking volunteers in the Santa Fe area. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be meeting with the other homeless/domestic violence shelters in Santa Fe to ensure that F2F will be an effective complement to their organizations. Together we can help!
During the Dec. 15 meeting of the Los Alamos County Environmental Sustainability Board, Jaret McDonald pitched an idea beneficial on two fronts: curing Los Alamos of food insecurity and reducing food waste at the landfill.
To accomplish these objectives, McDonald suggested the County purchase stackable bins to distribute to local residents. Residents could fill up the bins with food they wish to donate and contact McDonald’s nonprofit organization, Famine to Feast, to pick up and deliver the food to the pantries such as LA Cares.
“We calculated if every household contributed a half-pound of food a month we wouldn’t have food insecurity in Los Alamos,” McDonald said.
He added that the program also would minimize the amount of material being sent to the landfill. McDonald’s wife and Famine to Feast co-founder, Jen McDonald, pointed out that 40 percent of food goes to waste every year across the U.S. and Famine to Feast offers another option to dispose of unwanted food.
“We’re actually eliminating food waste in the trash,” McDonald said. “We’re making a difference in the landfill and in people’s behavior.”
The McDonald’s said they hope people who strongly support the bins will contact their county councilors and voice their support for the idea.
Famine to Feast officially kicked off Nov. 5. The 501 c(3) nonprofit organization offers a website and an app for people to donate food to local food pantries. The app is available through iTunes and the website is faminetofeastnow.org.
The way it works is simple: participants enter the food items they wish to donate on either the app or the website and provide their location. The food will be picked up, a tax donation receipt will be printed, and the food will be delivered to the pantries. There is a list on the website identifying what can and cannot be donated.
“We’re an instant food drive in Los Alamos,” McDonald told Environmental Sustainability Board members during the Dec. 15 meeting.
Having the bins will help Famine to Feast in its operations, he said, because it will be a constant reminder for residents to donate food. He added Famine to Feast has already experienced remarkable success.
“We’re really excited,” McDonald said regarding the amount of support the community has shown to the organization. “We have found every sort of amazing person out there.”
His wife added that several cities throughout the U.S. have reached out to them to bring Famine to Feast to their areas including Austin, Texas, Portland, Ore., and Los Angeles, Calif.