What is a Mobile Produce Pantry?

Hello World U.P. Followers,

Did you know that Richmond is one of the nation’s leading cities for the number of grocery stores per capita? Did you also know that Richmond is one of the nation’s leading cities for the most food deserts? That means that we have the most number of grocery stores per person, and yet we have the most number of people who lack access to grocery stores. I’m not quite sure how that makes sense, but studies show that is the case in Richmond. It’s clear that we have an ACCESS problem in the RVA, and World U.P. wants to do something about it.

At this point, you may have seen some posts on our social media sites asking for donations to build a Mobile Produce Pantry, but you’re probably still not sure what the heck a Mobile Produce Pantry is. Well, it’s a food pantry on wheels that stores and transports fresh fruits and vegetables, parks next to existing food pantries, and distributes produce to the members of the community.  Backed by Feedmore, we believe that this solution will improve community access to produce in an efficient way.

Now, I bet you’re asking – What a minute, World U.P. is an organization trying to make cultural education and awareness affordable, what does that have to fruits and vegetables? That’s a really good question – thanks for asking. Our theory is that when you create secure and reliable food sources for communities, you ultimately create Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, & Healthy Perspectives.

Don’t believe me? Think about the last time you were HUNGRY. Maybe you skipped lunch or you forgot to make it to the store that day or you forgot your wallet at home (I’m perpetually guilty of that) so you couldn’t make it to your favorite food spot while you were out running errands. It’s about 3pm and you are just so HANGRY (Hungry + Angry) that you could think of nothing else but getting food, and everyone else was just in your way. There is nothing on your mind but getting home and getting something in your tummy! Your only focus is that you need food, and you need it NOW.

Now, picture that first bite. Oh sooo good. Who knew food could taste like heaven? Bite after bite, as you become satisfied, your hanger slowly dissipates, and life is good again. That guy who cut you off earlier? He was probably just in a rush to make it to his next meeting. Your kid accidentally got stuff on his BRAND NEW shirt? Meh, that is why Tide Sticks were invented. Everything is suddenly OK.

Now imagine that you got home and the fridge was empty, you had no car, and that you couldn’t get to a grocery store – because the closest one was over a mile away. Imagine that the closest thing was a convenience store that sells chips, soda, alcohol, and quick foods, and that’s all you had available to eat, day after day after day. Your hunger would probably never go away. You probably couldn’t think about anything other than where your next meal is coming from. Even if you did eat a snack, you would probably be angry that something better wasn’t closer. Afraid that you cannot feed your family.

Anger. Hunger. Insecurity. Fear. Concern. – These are all things that prevent us from thinking clearly and openly. They prevent us from being able to have perspective and peace.

So, we want to build a Mobile Produce Pantry to help people have secure access to healthy foods, and to highlight the need for long-term grocery solutions in the food deserts, so that people are not hungry.

This summer consider attending one of our fundraisers this summer or donating to help us build this thing. Help us get food into bellies, and grocery stores into communities that need them.

If you have any questions about the Pantry, you can email me at liz.dukette@worldupfoundaiton.org OR I will be hosting a “Ask Me Anything” on Facebook on July 27th from 7pm to 8pm. Like our Facebook page and subscribe to our feed, and tune in to ask me anything about the Mobile Produce Pantry project. The harder the question the better – I like a challenge.

Until next time friends,

Liz

Spring into Health & Wellness

Happy Spring, Friends! I know, I know – the weather in Richmond isn’t what we think about when we conjure up images of April flowers, but I do see a high of 80ºF in our weekend forecast, so I have hope.

Spring has always been one of my favorite seasons. It’s the perfect transition season that ushers in the summer heat to replace the crispness of winter and mimics the vibrancy of fall leaves in pretty flower form. It’s a gentle reminder that even the coldest and darkest times are merely trials that give way to moments of lightness and rebirth. It’s a sign that winter hibernation is behind us and we need to start eating well. Additionally, it’s that time of year when everyone starts becoming pressed for time to get healthy and fit for summer fun in the sun.

So far my post may sound like prose, but if you’ve been following our social media pages this April (if you don’t, see the sidebar for links), then you know where this is heading. We have been using our Facebook and Instagram platforms to tell our followers a little more about our Health & Wellness Initiative, the 7 Dimensions of Health and Wellness, and what kind of wellness services we believe make up a culture of wellness and we plan to incorporate in our future community center in Richmond, VA. Now, you should know that there are many theories as to how many dimensions of wellness there are. For example, some schools of thought believe there are only 6, some believe there are 8 (they include financial wellness). World U.P. chose to adopt the school of thought that there are 7 because that’s what best fits our current mission and vision. Further, our breakdown and definitions were adapted from a variety of sources, but we relied heavily on the definitions provided by the University of California, Riverside Wellness Website. I highly recommend you check out this website for great life tips and provocative questions for personal reflection on your wellness.

With all that disclaimer complete, you’re probably asking “What are the 7 Dimensions of Wellness?” Great question – thanks for asking. Essentially, they are the seven parts of our life that need attention and care in order to make us wholly well persons.

SevenDimentionsofWellness

  • Social Wellness is the ability to relate to, connect to, and maintain positive relationships with other people in our world.
  • Emotional Wellness is the ability to understand ourselves, cope with the challenges life can bring, and being attentive to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, whether positive or negative.
  • Spiritual Wellness is the ability to establish peace and harmony in our lives. It is a personal matter involving values and beliefs that provide a purpose in our lives.
  • Intellectual Wellness is the ability to open our minds to new ideas and experiences that can be applied to personal decisions, group interaction and community betterment.
  • Physical Wellness is the ability to maintain a healthy quality of life where we recognize and adopt healthy habits that allow us to get through our daily activities without undue fatigue or physical stress.
  • Environmental Wellness is the ability to recognize our own responsibility for the quality of the air, the water, and the land that surrounds us, including the ability to make a positive impact on the quality of our environment, be it our homes, our communities, or the world.
  • Occupational Wellness is the ability to get personal fulfillment from our jobs or our chosen career fields while still maintaining balance in our lives and allow us demonstrates our desire to contribute to society through our career choices.

As a key initiative of the World UP’s mission, we recognize that Health and Wellness is a key component that not only makes up a culture, but that satisfaction of all the dimensions of wellness can allow people to peacefully embrace differences between cultures. Part of our Health and Wellness initiative includes a plan to provide free community access to various wellness resources at our (eventual) community cultural center.

To support social wellness tenants that (1) it is better to contribute to the common welfare of our community than to think only of ourselves and (2) it is better to live in harmony with others and our environment than to live in conflict with them, we want to host seminars to enhance our positive communication skills, have a staff social worker, and a engage mediator to help resolve difficult conflicts.

To support emotional wellness, we want to engage on-site therapists and counselors to help the community members process of feelings, thoughts, philosophies, and behavior; live and work independently while realizing the importance of seeking and appreciating the support and assistance of others; form interdependent relationships with others based upon a foundation of mutual commitment, trust, and respect; take on challenges, take risks, and recognize conflict as being potentially healthy; and manage their lives in personally rewarding ways.

We plan to provide resources that aid in everyone’s path to spiritual wellness through access to a yoga/meditation studio as well as space for those who want to engage in prayer, affirmations, or specific spiritual practices that support their connection to a higher power or belief system. At World UP, we understand and respect the different views of what defines spiritualism, and believe that it is better to ponder the meaning of life for ourselves and to be tolerant of the beliefs of others than to close our minds and become intolerant, and that it is better to live each day in a way that is consistent with our values and beliefs than to do otherwise and feel untrue to ourselves.

Intellectual wellness is a key component of peaceful diversity, as it allows people to be tolerant and curious about new ideas, communities, and the world around them. By creating access to creative and stimulating activities like travel and cultural education, we hope to provide experiences that expand knowledge, skills, a passion for exploration, problem-solving, and creativity.

Part of our initiative includes a plan to create access to education and volunteer opportunities that aid environmental wellness, through the creation of awareness of the earth’s natural resources and personal accountability to environmental needs.

At World UP, we believe that occupational wellness exists when you have a career that utilizes your unique gifts, skills and talents is both personally meaningful and rewarding and cultivates an attitude of tolerance and understanding within the community. We plan to provide access to vocational training and skill development to help community members find a meaning and purposeful profession and job satisfaction.

Finally, to support physical wellness, we plan to implement more programs like Food UP, which creates access to fresh produce and foods, and programs that incentivize exercise and group fitness. Some of our plans are to create a community garden, host cultural cooking exchanges, and provide space for sports activities.

Of course, we recognize that this dream is far from our current reality. However, we know that with some planning, hard work, and community support that a community center like this is entirely possible within Richmond. If you have any ideas or suggestions as to what we should incorporate into our plans for a community center, please comment or send me an email at liz.dukette@worldupfoundation.org.

Peace, Love, and Understanding,

Liz

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons To Remember World U.P. on #GivingTuesday

As we approach the beginning of the holiday season, I want to share our “Top 5” reasons to support the important work that the World U.P. Foundation is doing. We are thankful for the support we have received and look forward to the work yet still to be done.

On Tuesday November 28th we are participating in #GivingTuesday, which is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.

I wanted to share a little more about why you should remember World U.P. Foundation on #GivingTuesday.

While we encourage giving year round, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season and the end of our fundraising year. Having grown in popularity over the last 5 years, I recognize that you will have so many amazing charities to choose from when #GivingTuesday hits. Any donation given to an organization that makes a positive impact on understanding, peace, and diversity is a wonderful contribution! I’ve thought long and hard about what compelling arguments I can make to kindly request you keep the World U.P. Foundation in the forefront of your minds on November 28, 2017. So, here you go!

  1. World U.P. has a track record of successful community impact. We may be a young organization, but we are dedicated and capable. Within the last 6 months we have launched our two goal programs for this year, Gear U.P. and Food U.P. Through Gear U.P., and in only 3 weeks, we were able to provide 70 families who are served by the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority with back packs and school supplies to send their children to school with tools for educational success. Through Food U.P., we have been able to provide families in Highland Park access to fresh fruits and vegetables in connection with their local food pantry. We not only want to replicate these efforts in the new year, but want to expand these programs to have a larger impact.
  2. World U.P. is fervently dedicated to using responsible and ethical spending practices. This means that we don’t use money to fund lobbying responsibilities, fund personal endeavors, or to support any activities that do not create a benefit for the communities we are trying to support.
  3. World U.P. is completely volunteer based. Currently, no one in the organization is monetarily compensated by the organization. Everyone person on our team donates their time and services. Often times, the little things we need to operate (stamps, paper, etc.) are paid for and donated by our team members.
  4. Our World U.P. Board of Directors are our #1 supporters.  Our Board puts their money where their heart is. We don’t just believe in the mission, every Board member is so personally connected to our mission, that they have pledged personal yearly donations and fundraising pledges as well.
  5. World U.P. believes that our donors are our clients. Our philosophy is that people make personal donations, because of a personal connection to our mission.  It’s our responsibility to make sure that the people who believe in us and our mission can see the success their donation has created.

After a week busy with eating, visiting, and shopping…

Tuesday is dedicated to Giving.

We hope you will join us by making a gift to the World U.P. Foundation.

With Understanding & Peace,

Liz