It was 12 years or so since I’d been back. . .
During that time, one part of Poughkeepsie changed considerably. That was the part where I was raised. . .the middle-class part. . .the ‘good’ part.
The other part was mostly how I remember it. This was the struggling part. . .the ‘bad’ part. . .the part where we never went. . .
. . .until I discovered the GREAT things that were happening there. And from the first moment I spent on the phone with Sarah Salem – I knew I’d found my match for this hometown leg of the trip.
As I sat down with her – all I could think about was my favorite word from earlier in the week. Anyone remember? That’s right, Kids - massive. (And for some reason - I feel like Pee-wee right now.) I really shoulda called this thing THE COLLECTIVE MASSIVE.
Right then. . .back to Sarah. Her energy would make you think she stands 8-feet tall. I’m not sure how ‘they’ bottle it the way they did in her, but let’s just say – you’d have to meet the woman to share my smiles right now. And meet her you most definitely should.
We talked about all the things that Dutchess Outreach is up to.
Have you ever heard of a prescription for fresh veggies?
How ‘bout a free community meal – twice a day. That’s right – free. And open to anyone. Yeah – ya heard me – anyone!
An urban farm where community members can take up their own plots? Whaaaaa?!?!
And the plans they have, and the volunteers they engage, and the incredible number of people they help. Though I could write a dissertation on the projects this team oversees, and probably 3 blogs on the stuff they had me doing. . .I was really here for a pretty important event in the realm of Poughkeepsie food security – Day 2 was all about Farm Stand.
In its inaugural showing, this program offered up FREE produce to 299 people (I told you so, Sarah!) in only 2 hours. Who says there’s no opportunity to eat healthy when you’re hungry?
Though a brand-new setup, and a bit nuts in moments – the help seemed almost as plentiful as the guests. The day was all about gratitude, and it went off without a hitch. I even had a chance to meet Rob (the very-visible Mayor), chat with Brian (the absolutely-fearless leader), and get to know Nyhisha (she’s no stranger to the volunteer world, I’ll tell ya!).
Now, as I sit here and reflect upon an inspirational end to a huge week. . .in a place I thought I already knew. . .my sentiments of thanks are best summed up with a playful nod to amazing capabilities:
500 next time, Guys. . .
500 next time!