As the economy has declined, middle-class families have been forced to seek help from food banks and other social services, while ironically these services have been cut to reduce federal and state deficits. Though the working class suffers, the U.S. military budget oddly remains well funded. Food Not Bombs, an all-volunteer group, provides free vegan food to all who hunger for life, rather than military expansion.
The San Luis Obispo Food Not Bombs chapter aims to expand assistance to the community. During the past two months, SLO FNB has truly gained momentum. Reviving this service to SLO after a year of dormancy began with an informal meeting and one individual walking down Higuera Street with an empty box during Farmers Market. The following week the box was full of donated food after only a few stops. Then SLO FNB really soared. Food donations multiplied, and now each week when the FNB donations collector comes around, our regular supporters greet us with smiles, knowing produce that would otherwise go unsold and wasted feeds the needy.
Having started by being able to provide food only on Sundays, SLO FNB soon received food enough for Friday meals as well. After bouncing among kitchens, the group has found a home at Sustenance Cooking Studio, which donates space to us every Sunday at 10 a.m. We usually prepare an elaborate garden salad, dessert (frequently a cobbler), a main course, and two side dishes: bread, guacamole, homemade tortillas, or other goodies. People serve themselves, and during the meal everyone who helps enjoys the food they lovingly prepare.
Food Not Bombs’ work is simple and easy, but it does take time and dedication, especially with few volunteers. We don’t have enough people to spare a volunteer to go to the swap meet to get more plates and bowls on Sunday mornings. But we know others would like to become involved. The work is extremely rewarding. Food Not Bombs invites new volunteers and contributions for service to the community.
Food Not Bombs also has a holiday wish list:
• A donated space for storing supplies (room for a fridge and a shelf are all we need—a closet, shed, or garage would do—but a commercial kitchen would be best)
• Kitchen spaces for cooking
• Bowls and plates
• Baking dishes (for one of those tasty cobblers we make)
• Sterno (heat for catering and chafing dishes)
• Almond or soy milk (any vegan milk alternative)
• Vegan canned goods
• Committed volunteers
• Hungry folks from everywhere to receive our meals
Donations can be brought to our meals on Fridays in Meadow Park in San Luis Obispo (3 p.m.) and Sundays in Mitchell Park in San Luis Obispo (1 p.m.) or dropped off at Sustenance Cooking Studio, 2033 Santa Barbara Ave. in SLO, across from Ace Hardware. Otherwise, contact us at SanLuisFnB@gmail.com for pickup. Food Not Bombs San Luis Obispo chapter thanks all who have helped, especially Sustenance, New Times, Vraja’s Kitchen, Prado Day Center, San Luis Art Supply, and the many people who come out and support our small grassroots organization.
Arnold Power is an organizer of Food Not Bombs San Luis Obispo chapter. Food Not Bombs, which was first established decades ago in San Francisco, has a long history of civic service toward peace and community. Send comments to the opinion editor via email@example.com.