In the spirit of the holiday season, I thank each of you for supporting my work and following the story of hungry people in America. This has been a busy year for me. Without your support, none of it would be possible. However you discovered this blog and whatever keeps you returning, I thank you.
Each new reader who learns something new from the story of hungry people in America and each new reader who finds information about the situation inspires me to continue working . Thank you.
Each person who buys a copy of “I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore” validates the story. Each person who finds the booth at the Mower’s Meadow Flea Market strengthens ripples of abundance and knowledge which are created there. Thank you.
Each person who puts a dime or a dollar or many dollars in the donation jar at the booth supports the effort to feed the hungry in our great nation. Each person’s generosity increases the awareness of the situation. Thank you.
Please continue reading the articles. Your readership allows me to share the awareness, strengthening ripples of abundance even more. Thank you.
The Mower’s Meadow Flea Market closes over the winter and does not open again until May. I seek an indoor market to winter over where I can continue to tell the story of the hungry in America.
Please drop by my booth wherever I am. In the Spring, I hope to offer Reiki sessions, copies of the second edition of “A Healer’s Handbook”, and unique bracelets designed by Michele Garner, the artist who designed the cover of “I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore”.
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It snowed a little bit last Saturday when I was at Mower’s Meadow and more is expected this week. The books and clothing all got a mini dusting of the first snow of the season.
Whenever that happens (the first snow of the season) I always remember one of the first things I learned about the Woodstock community and its residents when I moved here: Labor Day means we pack away our dreams of a summer moon and drag out the brand new boots we were waiting to put on.
And, further into the memory is the afternoons in the pantry when the cold was so cold and Bob Otto and Tony Cannistra about froze to death in the barn. They distributed frozen food to the shoppers from that dirt floored room in the unpainted, uninsulated, unheated building behind the church parking lot.
Even though the pantry couldn’t open until 3:00, Bob and Tony unlocked the barn and got to work at 2:30. “Come on over!” they called to the crowd gathered in the parking lot. “We’ve got chopped meats, cutlets, steaks, roasts, mac and cheese packages, frozen juices.”
2:30 in the parking lot was described by some of the volunteers as a circus. I lovingly thought of it as a bus station in a third world country. And, actually, I thought of it as more than that.
I once spent a couple of hours in an out-of-the-way airport in Venezuela that was overcrowded with hundreds of gold miners who themselves waited for planes. They either waited for planes to get further into the interior of the country to hunt for gold or they waited for planes to return to civilization to sell what they found. Whatever their destination, the place was packed.
But, whether we were all coming or going at the pantry, we were in a hurry, too.
In the pantry, we were always in a hurry. The crowd was always larger than the hallway, the parking lot, and the barn entrance. And, they wanted to get the long wait behind them so they could have a two or three minute shopping spree in the tiny room.
And, after the shopping, they were always in a hurry to get their new found food home because the event had taken all afternoon. For some, it took more than just all afternoon because they got to the pantry late morning. Hitch hikers started out early and, if they got a ride quickly, they were in the parking lot before noon.
My memory always includes a vision of Bob and Tony taking turns to come into the hallway to warm up, whatever that meant. Even though the hallway was crowded, there was just not quite enough body heat generated to call the place cozy…or even cool. The place was cold.
I never said a word about the temperature because I was afraid that if I did the volunteers would walk off. I just went about my business pretending that I wasn’t wearing two sweaters under my coat. Volunteers made statements about the temperature of the hallway as they wore two hats.
“My hands are frozen!” Bob always remarked as he briskly rubbed them together, hoping the friction would get the heat going. Just outside the door to the building, Bob stomped his feet, trying to get some feeling into his cold toes.
Tony was less vocal but just as cold when he got his short break. I always suspected that he had a small hidden flask to help warm himself up. How else could he be so calm about fingers one degree away from frost bite? I never saw any evidence but it was the only excuse I could find for a person in such cold weather conditions.
Because, not only were the two men standing in the cold, they were handling frozen meats, vegetables, fruits, juices. All of it came rock solid frozen from the food bank.
Before the pantry opened, Tony also doubled as the parking lot manager which put him in the middle of the confusion. Just the parking lot was a fulltime toughie job. But, somehow, Tony made the parking lot and the barn distribution look easy.
But, no one complained. Ever. They had gotten a three-day-supply of food a week ago and it was all gone now. They were hungry. They were the struggling poor.
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Woodstock, New York
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It’s OUT! It’s in print! The story has been told! And you can get a copy of the book. Today! Right now! Simply go to thurmangreco.com and order it on paypal.
Or, you can get it at a book signing. I’m reading my book in libraries and church halls and in independent book stores. Check my website to find a time and place convenient for you.
What began as a project, guaranteed to take no more than two hours a month, is a calling. Proceeds of the sale of this book (and the t-shirt) are going to feed the hungry.
The Book and the T-Shirt:
The book and the t-shirts took more than five years of work. I went through reams and reams of paper. Two computers blew up and one copier died of exhaustion.
Get the book, read it, and let me know how you feel about what you read.
And, please share this unbelievably exciting news!
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Are you interested in a fun afternoon with your favorite canine companion? Then reflexology for you and your pet might be a good answer!
If your answer is “YES!” then St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church on Route 212 in Woodstock is a good place to be on Sunday afternoon at 2:00, June 10th when I teach a class called Reflexology for You and Your Pet.
You’ll discover how to offer reflexology to humans and to your four footer pets. You will be given charts you can use reflexology after you leave the class. The goal is to offer you a skill you can use beyond Sunday the 10th.
If you don’t have a favorite canine companion, you have two options. The first is just to show up and take the class anyway. The second is to borrow a pet from someone who can’t take the class that day.
So, whether you bring your favorite canine companion or not, you can benefit from the class and the Woodstock Dog Park will benefit from you donation.
The situation is this: The Woodstock Dog Park Committee members work full time to maintain the park with a budget of $000.
To raise money to improve the fence, remove dangerous trees, keep the place clean, we are having monthly fundraisers. Each one is different and all include the presence of your special canine companion if you want to bring him/her.
We at the Woodstock Dog Park Committee hope to see you on June 10th. Bring a friend or two with you. We’ll all have fun!
My two books, “Healer’s Handbook” and “I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore” will be for sale at this class. All the funds received on the sale of the “Healer’s Handbook” will be donated to the Woodstock Dog Park.
See you there!
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It seems only yesterday that we sent you an appeal for support. We were a band of 4 people who barely knew each other, embarked on an adventure, a quest. None of us mentioned it, not even to each other…but you were our only hope.
We were processing a 501(c)3 to open the Reservoir Food Pantry. And, until it came through, we needed a sponsor willing to share theirs. So, you got the letter, and invited us to lunch at Zen Mountain Monastery so we could meet and make our appeal. We joined you at your table on Sunday, October 27, 2013.
We begged, really, but you never let on. We went away that afternoon energized by your openness, professionalism, interest, concern. Eventually you did what you did and we received the support from your group.
You gave us a raft on which we floated until we got our own 501(c)3 and gained acceptance with the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley.
So, today, as a result of your efforts, there is now a pantry on Route 28 in the Ashokan Reservoir area of Ulster County in New York serving over area households every Monday afternoon at 2 and every Tuesday morning at 9.
The majority of these people are seniors. For the most part, they have worked and lived all their lives in this area. They paid their taxes, raised their children, and contributed to their community. And now, in the 21st century they are finding they don’t have the resources to feed themselves. They constitute the senior citizen faction of the new 21st century Struggling Class.
The pantry volunteers look forward to serving the hungry for many years to come. They’ve had the last year to become a very dedicated and close knit group. The community appears to accept the services offered by these very special people.
IN CONCLUSION: Thank you Konrad Ryushin Marchaj for all you have done for yourself and your fellow man. I saw you change the world around you for the better. That counts for a lot in my book.
I wish you well on your continued journey of spiritual growth. I am proud to have been touched by you. On behalf of all the hungry people volunteers feed weekly, I offer gratitude. It is an honor and a pleasure.
I cannot thank you enough for your trust, your support, and your confidence in our humble venture
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Please refer this article to your preferred social media network. And, please forward this article to your interested friends. More people in this world need to know about the goodness of Konrad Ryushin and the volunteers of the Reservoir Food Pantry.
“Hi Thurman, this is Margo.”
“Hi, Thurman, this is Pieta.”.
I get these calls occasionlly…randomly. I never know when to expect them. They are always a wonderful surprise!
Margo called earlier this week with book bags for the pantry. Pieta calls with items of dignity: deodorant, women’s feminine products, bars of soap, razors.
In all cases, these gifts are distributed to people who simply do not have the funds to provide for themselves. Margo’s recent gifts of book bags came with pencils, crayons, spiral notebooks, composition books.
Think back to your own childhood. How difficult was it for your family to get you ready for school? Was there money for school supplies? Did you ever begin the school year unprepared with even the basic essentials needed? Were you ever embarrassed by this situation…either for yourself or for others?
In today’s Struggling Class, there is no money left over for things like school supplies, school lunches, new school clothes.
When Margo and Pieta drop items off for our pantry, they never ask or expect gratitude or even recognition. With Pieta, I just come home and find bags of these beautiful necessities waiting for distribution.
And, I know that pantries throughout Ulster County are receiving these wonderful items. Margo casually mentioned that the Ulster County Realtors Association purchased 500 book bags this year.
On behalf of pantry shoppers everywhere, I send gratitude. There are so many people in the Struggling Class these days.
The Ulster County Realtors Association is reflective of the attitude toward generosity in Woodstock. In Woodstock, people are comfortable just dropping off things that the Iess fortunate can use. No one seeks recognition. No one wants a thank you note. They just want the things to be used by people who need them.
You may feel that I have mistakenly posted this article in the wrong blog…that this article should have been sent to http://www.hungerisnotadisease.com. But, I intentionally posted it here at http://www.goodmorningwoodstock.com because Margo and Pieta and the Realtors completely personify the Woodstock attitude toward giving. Both as individuals and as a group, Woodstockers will give their last dollar, their only coat to someone, anyone who needs it.
I offer a salute of gratitude for the generosity.
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The stories are true. The people are real.
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The Woodstock Farm Festival is quite an event. In typical Woodstock fashion, the town wrangled over the market before it finally became a reality. Every improvement in our community seems to take ages before it happens. But, now it’s a tradition and people come from miles around on Wednesday afternoons to shop for fresh produce, baked goods, and listen to the music. They feast on the efforts of:
Black Eyed Susie’s
Clove Valley CSA
Four Winds Farm
Just Good Eats
Lenny Bee Productions
Marilyn’s Roadside Eatery
Oliverea Schoolhouse Maple
Sow Good Bakery
On Wednesday evenings, a heat hovers over the Market. Shoppers, some wearing the least amount of clothing possible in an effort to get comfortable, hurry from booth to booth finding greens, tomatoes, herbs, cheese, baked goods for tomorrow’s meals.
The first full week of August is special for the market because it’s National Farmer’s Market week. Farmers bring together communities and food to offer us all healthy, nutritious, locally grown and raised products.
Music is scheduled every market afternoon in 2 venues: on the main stage and in the market itself. Woodstockers love to shop for fruits, veggies, baked goods and cheeses accompanied by music played by local area musicians.
Just as the Good Neighbor Food Pantry closes, pantry volunteers ignoring the promise of a summer moon scurry around the Migliorelli booth with empty boxes. Quickly, to avoid being seen, they load some of the unsold Migliorelli produce into a vehicle and take it back to the pantry for distribution on Thursday.
What a gift! Migliorelli offers a real boost to the pantry shoppers in the form of delicious, nutritious food. Many of them have absolutely no $$$ at all. Migliorelli feeds the body as well as the soul. This is a real gift for people, many of whom are in the process of losing so much. This gesture means more than the people at Migliorelli Farm will ever know.
When the pantry shoppers receive this special food, they not only get the food they could never buy, they have a connection to their community – this has a spiritual, religious layer, the value of which cannot be calculated.
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Good Luck to us all.