September is Hunger Action Month and a great time to think about what you can do to donate to your local food shelf or other local organization to take a stand against hunger and food insecurity.
By Visiting Feeding America, you can find resources to share with those who may be struggling to feed their families or themselves. You can also find a way to join in the fight in your own community. No donation or participation is too small.
Many households that experience food insecurity do not qualify for federal nutrition programs and visit their local food banks and other food programs for extra support.
The rates of food insecurity are much higher for African American, Latino, and Native American families because of systemic racial injustice. To achieve a hunger-free America, we must address the root causes of hunger and structural and systemic inequities.
September 2021 is National Recovery Month! Celebration events in the Twin Cities include the Walk for Recovery on September 18th, which takes place at the Minnesota State Capitol Grounds. All are welcome and encouraged to participate in this community event. Register for free on this link: https://minnesotarecovery.org/walk/
Why is this important information for me to share with you? I am amongst the millions living a new an purposeful life in recovery. I am also a proud Collegiate Recovery Program Student Member. I choose to live my recovery story out loud because I have a passion for promoting recovery through advocacy, education, and demonstrating the power and proof of long-term recovery. Metropolitan State University has a new initiative called the Collegiate Recovery Program (CRP). It provides support and resources for students who have challenges with substance use disorders. Additionally, it supports students living in recovery both academically and professionally.
“Is my English OK? Is the microphone on?” asked Greta Thunberg, in one of her most recent addresses. “Because I’m beginning to wonder.”
Laughter from the audience.
It wasn’t a joke. No one seems to be listening.
Nine years ago, when I was Greta’s age, I wasn’t aware. I wasn’t politically, globally, socially, environmentally aware. I wasn’t aware of what our biggest problems were–or that I, as a kid, could do anything about it, even if I did know what was happening in the world.
Nine years ago, I was LARPing (live-action role playing). For those who don’t know, LARP is a game wherein you create a character for yourself, dress up in costume, and run around in the woods at night, fighting faux villains with foam sticks. It’s like playing make-believe in the backyard when you were little, but on a larger scale, with maybe a better production value.
LARP comes in a number of forms, but the game I played was mostly like Dungeons & Dragons. It was a fantasy game. Swords and sorcery. Lightning bolts. Storming the castle. All of that.
While I knew that the events in the game weren’t “real” and that the character I played wasn’t “real,” they always felt important. They felt bigger than the small “reality” I actually lived in. I often felt that my character was better than me. She was stronger, prettier, freer. She had more goodness in her; more to give. I wanted to be like her in real life.
This disconnect–the idea that my character was false and somehow separate from me–affected my growth in a number of ways. I could write a book on it. There’s a lot to unpack. But the point here is that even after I managed to quit the game, I had a hard time developing an idea of who I was without that character.
Recently, with the changing of the seasons, I was hit by a wave of nostalgia. It would be the start of LARP season now, if I was still playing.
I’m still sorting through it, but one of the things that finally occurred to me was that I could be like the heroic character I used to play. I already was like her. She came from me.
But there were still situational differences, systematic differences between that character’s world and mine, dragging me down.
I posted this on Facebook:
And, only days later, the sentiment was echoed by somebody else:
I’ve been flailing for a solution. Something I could do to help the environment, and reconcile the reality of my apparent helplessness with the idea of once having played at being someone courageous and able to create change.
In this video, Jane Goodall advises people to act locally. “Quite honestly,” she says, “if you think globally, you get depressed.” Break it down, then. Start with what you know you can do. Do something. Even if it might seem small. “We’re all interconnected.”
I’ve been worrying myself sick. I woke up today with a sore throat, and a headache, presumably from my newfangled teeth grinding habit. In an anxious, somewhat dissociated haze, I drove to the store for some groceries, just to get out of the house. Everywhere, meat and dairy. Things packaged in plastic. Delicious things that I only felt bad about craving. I bought one of those chocolate bars that claims to help endangered species, and felt doubtful about its impact, but I hoped.
On my way home, it seemed like all I could see was trash. Scattered along the side of the road, accumulating in the ditches, washed up along the curb. Plastic bags blowing in the wind and caught up in bushes.
Enough is enough.
I found a metal stick–one of those garden hooks for hanging bird feeders or little candle pots–and I filed the end to a point on my dad’s bench grinder. I walked across the street to the park outside my house, and I attacked the garbage in the rain garden. I chased it through the foliage, piercing it with my makeshift rapier, collecting its remains.
Maybe this will help.
I’m an adventurer. It’s my job.
And for all the shitheads out there who consume without thinking, and leave their trash lying around; for the people who continue to make a mess of the world, I have just one message:
Looking for a way to get involved with your community? Joining or starting a community garden is a great way to do this.
A community garden is any piece of land gardened by a group of people. Members are able to work together, growing flowers, vegetables, spices, and other plants.
These gardens have awesome benefits to the public. Participating in such an activity will stimulate social interaction, encourage self-reliance, improve the look of a neighborhood, produce food, conserve resources, and promote exercise. Check out this website to find even more ways these gardens can improve your community.
It is important to be a proactive citizen, so start at home. Search for a community garden in your area. Or do you already have experience with growing locally? Share these thoughts and experiences with others interested below.