Friday, November 27, 2015

Feel Good Friday - SF-Marin Food Bank

Happy Feel Good Friday!
I hope everyone enjoyed Feel Good Thursday yesterday, more traditionally known as Thanksgiving. In between your free trips to the park or the stores today, take a moment to learn about the year-round work done by Feel Good Friday subject, the SF-Marin Food Bank.

At a time of year when most of us come together to eat and celebrate, it's easy to forget that "one in four residents faces the threat of hunger each day". Therefore, the mission of the Food Bank, as stated on their website, "is to end hunger in San Francisco and Marin."

Statics show they're having a huge impact. 25,000 volunteers each year help distribute over 47 million pounds of food to the community, 60% of which is farm-fresh fruits and vegetables. That's over 147,000 people served per week!

They have programs focused on children, seniors, and helping people access California's food stamp program. 70% of the food they collect goes to supply other organizations you know like Glide, St. Anthony's and Project Open Hand

If you want to support the work they do, there are many ways to give your money. You'll be happy to know that 96% of donated resources go directly into programs, meaning "for every $1 you donate, we can distribute $5 worth of food." You can also donate food or your time

Learn more about their work by watching short videos and stay in the loop by liking their Facebook page or following them on Twitter @SFMFoodBank. The rush for Thanksgiving turkeys is over, but the need for food still exists. I'm grateful to the SF-Marin Food Bank for helping to meet that need. #FeelGoodFriday

Friday, November 20, 2015

Feel Good Friday - Active Change Foundation

The recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut make it hard to imagine there's anything to feel good about, but crisis situations often bring out the best in people. Today's Feel Good Friday looks at the group behind the Twitter trend #NotInMyName, the Active Change Foundation.

First things, first. There is a website, Not In My Name created to show that "ISIS does not represent Islam" and it's now a trending hashtag on Twitter. Muslims who condemn the attacks by ISIS can let the world know that ISIS doesn't speak for them. You can follow this group @NOT_INMYNAME and read or contribute tweets using #NotInMyName.

This is just one project of the Active Change Foundation, a youth leadership organization created in 2003 by Hanif Qadir as a response to the violent street crime he saw in his east London neighborhood.

The flagship project of the ACF is the Young Leaders Programme (we are in London after all). As the website explains, the program "enables young people to spend seven months exploring a cause that they feel passionate about through workshops, community events and a residential course. Its aim is to turn young people into community leaders by teaching leadership skills, crisis management and critical thinking within a problem solving environment."

The skills they learn in the program "help them combat street, drug and gang crime, domestic violence and bullying, as well as being given the tools to assist them in preventing radicalisation (sic) and violent extremism."

Other projects run by ACF include a youth center offering a range of activities for 12- 24 year olds, an outreach program that educates young people and their parents about radicalization and gang crime, outdoor activities that connect youth with authority figures, a program that focuses on women affected by extremism and violent crime and a website, See it, report it where people can report extremists posts they see online.

You can read more details on their project page, stay current by liking their Facebook page and following the founder on Twitter @HanifQadir. No matter how terrible the situation, there are always people doing something to make it better. #FeelGoodFriday

Friday, November 13, 2015

Feel Good Friday - National Alliance to End Homelessness

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, Feel Good Friday is focusing on things you can be thankful for and feel good about, like having a roof over your head, and how to extend these privileges to more people.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a Washington, DC based organization that "works toward ending homelessness by improving homelessness policy, building on-the-ground capacity, and educating opinion leaders."

The Alliance focuses their work on four specific groups that experience homelessness: families, youth, veterans and chronic homeless. A blog entry from their website, 10 New Facts About Sheltered Homelessness in America, shares information from the Housing and Urban Development 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, including the following:
  • In 2014, 1,488, 465 people used homeless shelters in America.
  • 70 percent of people in shelter were in major cities.
  • Nearly 9 percent (131,697 people) who used shelter last year were identified as veterans.
Solutions offered by the Alliance range from focusing on providing housing first, then other needed services, to intervention and family reunification programs for homeless youth. You can read about all their solutions focus areas, ten year plan and local progress on the "Solutions" page of their website. You can also learn more about their work by watching videos on YouTube.

If you'd like to get more involved, visit "What You Can Do" and keep yourself informed by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @naehomelessness

Friday, November 6, 2015

Feel Good Friday - Unwanted Project

The last few months of Feel Good Fridays have been focused on people so it's time to check in on our animal friends.

At first glance, they're not doing so well. Approximately 150,000 horses are sent to slaughter every year in the United States, which makes for a feel terrible Friday until you learn about Unwanted Project.

Started by photographer Christy Whitney, the mission is explained on the website: "Unwanted Project documents horses that were once 'unwanted' bi-products of irresponsible ownership and overbreeding from pharma organizations, meat producers, and the racing and horse show industries. We connect viewers with cause based fine art photography and finely crafted goods that educate the public, raise awareness about the plight of American horses and provide funding for horse rescues."

Her photographs of the horses and scarves made with prints of the photos are sold in her pAra Apothecary store. Not only do these items create a conversation around the issue, but a percentage of the sales is donated to various horse rescue organizations.

You can view the image gallery, like their Facebook page or follow Christy on Twitter @Christymwhitney.

I learned about Unwanted Project from this Daily Good article, which has a a lot more information than this feel good summary. I often go there for inspiration and if you're ready to up your feel good news from once a week to once a day, I would encourage to sign up on their mailing list by visiting their website.