February 11, 2017 – Hero or Nero?


“Our soul is sometimes a king, and sometimes a tyrant. A king, by attending to what is honorable, protects the good health of the body in its care, and gives it no base or sordid command. But an uncontrolled, desire-fueled, over-indulged soul is turned from a king into that most feared and detested thing – a tyrant.” – Seneca, Moral Letters, 114.24

My physical body continues to demand more than my mind is capable of delivering. Today was the 5th Annual City Wide Citrus Harvest in Jacksonville, FL. This even consists of the Society of St. Andrew and Feeding Northeast Florida visiting homes throughout the city in an effort to salvage citrus that would otherwise go unpicked. I was a site coordinator for the 4th time (we have a total of five sites) in the five years of the event’s existence. My bout with bronchitis, showing progress towards victory but still far from over, saw me in a condition that left me disappointed in how I managed the volunteers. Six homes went untouched. But thanks to my wife, and the basic goodness of those who volunteered, we still managed to glean an estimated 26,000 lbs of citrus. The actual figure will be released in the coming weeks.

What does this have to do with Seneca’s quote about the difference between a king and a tyrant?

I needed to be a site by 7:15 am to begin setting up my table, chairs, forms to be filled out, tools for picking and the necessary act of greeting volunteers. I was operating on maybe 3 hours of sleep. I was coughing. My body was aching. I haven’t had an appetite in days so my blood sugar was far too low for the activity required over the next 4 hours.

There were around 100 people looking up at me when, at 8:15 am, I began to explain what this effort entails. That what we pick will feed people across seven counties. That every year the volunteer count goes up, the weight in citrus picked goes up and we inevitably pick up more houses for next year’s event. There are families, church groups, business and single individuals who participate, and it is my job to take all the data supplied to me and create temporary communities of people. These communities will drive to homes and pick fruit. At my site we had 54 homes to visit before the end of the day, designated as noon.

This morning I had to look beyond my own malaise and represent the charitable organizations who entrusted me to be their spokesperson. The volunteers didn’t want to see some guy complaining about not feeling well. Telling them that he’s sorry it wasn’t be run better, but he’s doing the best he can. I needed their help. I needed to be a good leader. This wasn’t about me, or how I felt.

Hero or Nero are extremes. We need simply be good for the sake of things other than ourselves. Be a thoughtful friend, co-worker, spouse, student, consumer or neighbor. Are we edifying our community? Is our focus on justice and fairness, or are we simply looking to get what we want? Are we demanding things from others that, if thrust upon us, we’d recoil?

We should seek the best from ourselves, and others. We should work to be the leader we look for in others.

The 4th Annual Jacksonville City Wide Citrus Glean Flyer is Here


Once again Feeding NE Florida and the Society of St. Andrew are teaming up to help glean citrus from neighborhoods in Jacksonville, FL. I will be a site coordinator for the third time, and am very grateful for the opportunity to bring together our community with the common goals of eliminating waste and feeding those in need. Please click on the link below for information on this wonderful event.

Citrus Glean Flyer

Clear Sky Friday – Seeing Good 24/01


IMAG0074CUMC Youth Group with citrus and Second Harvest truck

This past Saturday was the Second Harvest City Wide Citrus Glean in Jacksonville, FL. Officially the title is qualified as “Second Annual” as it was the second hear Second Harvest and Society of St. Andrew (SoSA) coordinated efforts to feed the hungry by picking fruit that would normally fall and rot.

My role was retained from 2013, which meant the responsibility of site coordinator for the San Jose area. Last year we had approximately 20 volunteers, and those could not reach all the houses on the list. Sunday found me gleaning an additional three homes. However, this year the volunteer count was approximately 80, which meant all houses on the list had their trees picked clean. Thanks to the work ethic of those in the field we were able to glean from an additional three houses. Those volunteers were out from 9:00 am until 2:00 pm, and thanks to the weather the day was more redeeming than expected.

From church youth groups to local business to mindful individuals, people from a variety of beliefs, cultures and socioeconomic areas gathered for a common goal: affording the less fortunate something many of us take for granted. From a 2011 Yahoo article:

“Almost 15 percent of households in America say they don’t have enough money to eat the way they want to eat,” Seligman said. Recent estimates show 49 million Americans make food decisions based on cost, she added.

Per Elliot Darkatsh with Second Harvest these were our weekend results:

In about 4 hours on a chilly Saturday, over 400 volunteers were deployed to pick from about 130 homes.

Here are the results (in lbs):

  • Potters House (westside):                  3039
  • Arlington:                                           3820
  • Chets Creek:                                       4002
  • San Jose:                                             7459
  • Mandarin:                                          8029

Total:     26,349 lbs of citrus!  This was a slight increase from last year, which considering the freeze this year is good.

I could not find my data for San Jose from last year, but I know we were far above that count.

Gleaning is a great way to meet new people and to be a positive impact for change in the world. I work with SoSA. Find one in your area.

SoSA

Second Harvest of North Florida

NPR Article

Mid-Atlantic Gleaning Network

USDA’s How to Glean

Gleaning Network of Southern Oregon

UK Gleaning

Gleaning the Fields blog

Second Harvest Citrus Glean


Tomorrow Change-Can, through Society of St. Andrew, will be participating in the Second Harvest of North Florida city-wide citrus glean. It is a wonderful effort to engage the community to donate their citrus that would otherwise go to waste. Many volunteers have given their time on a Saturday morning harvest the citrus so Second Harvest can distribute it to those in need. I am honored to be the site leader for The Church of Jacksonville location.

All sites will open their registration for volunteers promptly at 8:00 am. At my site there will be a table set up as my volunteers will need to do the following:

  • Fill out a waiver. If a family is participating only one waiver is needed for the primary and all family members can be added to the back of the document.
  • Review the rules for approaching residents, picking fruit and gleaning the site.
  • Get assigned to one of two groups.
  • Get assigned your map of sites which will include name and phone number of the resident. It is recommended you call them prior to arriving.
  • Get the appropriate tools. I will have fruit baskets, clippers, hooks and sheets to catch any soft skinned fruit. I will also have hard hats for those gleaning grapefruit trees. You will need to bring your own gloves. I also recommend something long-sleeved as some trees, specifically lemons, are thorny.
  • Get cards thanking the residents for their donation, which also doubles as a receipt for tax reporting purposes.

Some of the volunteers will need to remain at our home base to receive the fruit and put it into the bins for transport. I will make every effort to ensure volunteers go out with friends and family but it is important to note that both groups will need experienced gleaners so you allocation will need to be governed by experience.

For more information please visit the Second Harvest of North Florida website. You may contact me directly through Facebook, Twitter or by responding to this post. If you are reading this and have a citrus tree you are more than welcome to bring the fruit to any of the locations between 8:00 am and 12:00 pm. Better still if you would like to schedule a glean please contact me and I will visit your residence.

January 2013 Gleaning Starts Strong


Vicki Poole and me in front of her orange tree.
Vicki Poole and me in front of her orange tree.

December was a tease but January delivers! New Years Eve found me with a welcomed email from my good friend Sandi Newman, NE Florida Gleaning Coordinator for Society of St. Andrew. Citrus gleaning is occupying the month which means multiple opportunities to help those in need. For students this is a great way to satisfy your volunteer hours and for family/friends a chance to spend quality time together for a worthy cause.

This Saturday (1/5/13) we will be in Satsuma, FL picking grapefruit, oranges and tangerines. For new gleaners this means 1) wear a hard hat and/or be very alert because falling grapefruit is hard on the dome, 2) snippers and blankets will be in order as falling tangerines explode on impact and 3) sampling some of the best citrus you will ever taste.

Satsuma is one hour south of Jacksonville off of US-17. I will have address confirmation later today but as always I can travel with the Tahoe which means I can seat nine. Reach out to me via Twitter (@iambwf) or comment on this post if you would like information on participation. For all “friends” Facebook, call or text me.

The rest of the January calendar is below. My only weekend of no gleaning will be January 12th as Chris Gandy and I will be up in Caesar’s Head, SC.

  • Saturday, January 12: Picking citrus fruit in Mandarin/Scott Mill area
  • Monday, January 21:   Picking citrus in Jacksonville or Green Cove Springs
  • Saturday, January 26: City-wide Citrus Drive with Second Harvest North Florida food bank. There will be 5 locations in Jacksonville to drop off citrus or to volunteer to help pick citrus from backyard trees.

There are also gleanings going on Wednesdays in the Arlington/GrovePark areas and on Thursdays in Orange Park/Fleming Island/Middleburg. Please ask! And remember, you can make a direct impact by talking to neighbors who have citrus trees who might not be using all their produce. If you see any homes while traveling which might be gleaning candidates, but you do not want to make contact with them, let me know the address/location and I can stop by to ask if they would be willing to donate their yield.

June 9th is the Living Room Concert w/ C.J. Fluharty for WNWN and SoSA


CJ Fluharty in Concert

Very exciting times over here at Change-Can. There is obvious anticipation over how successful this will be but we are happy to be doing something, much less honoring a promise made to ourselves. Please check out the Living Room Concert tab at the top right. Hopefully you can make it and in doing so help us reach our goal of 50 attendees. Contact me with any questions but more importantly contact me to reserve your spot!

CHANGE-CAN LIVING ROOM CONCERT