a family in need in our area is asking for $1 donations to save their home from foreclosure. the father was recently laid off, one of their children has medical problems, and they are about to lose their home, just as a third child is on the way.
i'm giving a dollar. you should consider giving one, too. here's the article about them, which contains a link to their website:
i know i already wrote about my time in southwest virginia, but there are just a few more stories i feel compelled to share, like how i ended up there.
obviously, barack's entire campaign strategy was unheard of. the sense that we could all make a difference and contribute was palpable. i have a friend who has never before voted, or even had an opinion about a campaign. inspired by barack's message, she donated hundreds of dollars over the months leading up to november 4th. another friend has always cared, but knew she had to do more this time. she phone banked for barack and gave money that she couldn't afford to give. we all did. and when i couldn't give more money, i went to virginia. baltimore was going blue, but virginia might not. i was sent to appalachia because it was notoriously red. even democrats who had supported hillary were openly admitting that they would vote for mccain rather than vote for a black man.
getting out the vote, and getting out the truth, were so important.
in a trailer park, a man told me he wouldn't be voting, 'cause he didn't care and nothing was going to change. i told him that if there were ever a time, this was it. he would be voting in a swing region of a swing state, and he mattered. he walked away, but half a minute later he turned around. he said, "see the thing is, i heard barack was going to take away my right to hunt." dana-the other volunteer with me that day-was quick to dispel the untruth. barack supports safe gun ownership, and even had barns painted in appalachia to say so. seriously, in the same town where this man lived, this video was made: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRR5v5C0JLk
the next day i was driving down a gravel road, and came upon a felled tree. i got out of my car to talk with a few people sitting around the tree, we talked obama, weather, and directions. in this same town, i had run into really helpful people. one woman had helped me locate her neighbors, and a man even let me ride on his mower when i couldn't drive to a couple of doors. so at this felled tree, a man on a log asked if i was lost. he looked familiar, and i asked if i had already knocked on his door. he and his friends cracked up. after a few moments, somebody finally told me he was "farmer tom" from Survivor, season 3. seriously, google it. that's him.
okay, just one more quick story. a woman in our area, a registered democrat, called our office to ask for help. she was pregnant, and to my knowledge healthy and doing well. but on november 4th, this woman had a miscarriage. she was at the hospital, experiencing an emotionally and physically traumatic loss. still, she found a little strength to pick up the phone, to call us and ask if she could still vote. we were all so moved; i cannot wrap my mind around it. tara, our brilliant and hardworking regional campaign coordinator, went into action, getting an emergency absentee ballot to this woman.
my stories are just from a few days spent in one little corner of this country, but i have the sense that there are so many other people with so many other stories like mine from this campaign. and corny as it may sound, i feel completely inspired.
Melvin and I joined a CSA (community supported agriculture) this year. Here in Baltimore, it couldn't be easier to support our local farmers and get fresh organic produce, 'cause the farm we buy from (http://www.onestrawfarm.com/index.html) delivers the yield as it's picked to our local general store ( http://millvalleygeneralstore-cheryl.blogspot.com/) The store is close to Hopkins campus; Melvin often picks up our share on the way home from the lab. Up until now, I thought we'd have to drive to a farm outside of the city to pick up our produce, but this is SO convenient.
We joined for a half share (I think it was about $270 for the whole year), which means 4 "items" a week. One item can be a head of cauliflower, a basket of potatoes, a bag of corn. Our purple cauliflower this week is really beautiful (I am SUCH a nerd). Sometimes they have too much of something (one week it was herbs-they were practically forcing them on people:)) and you get more than 4. We are considering upping the ante and going in for the full share, 8 items!!!, which would mean learning to preserve a lot of stuff to have it in the winter.
A friend asked me how this is different from buying at the Farmer's Market. See, that's good too; you know you're getting local stuff, not paying for the airfare to get it to you 2 weeks after it's picked, and you can often meet the actual farmers, which just feels good. But joining a CSA, cooking around the growing season, means committing to a farm - and maybe their practices, if you're into that sort of thing. The farmers then know that they have your business even if that year's beets aren't amazing. We have yet to go visit the actual farm; that will have to be another post:)
Many of our friends are joining a CSA or considering joining one. You can join at any point in the season (they pro-rate the cost so you're only paying for the remainder of the season) and you can buy in for a "half share" by yourself (you don't have to "split" it with anyone). Our general store has other items that we can buy, like noodles, bread, and eggs, from other local farms. The ice cream is amazing. The eggs last forever 'cause they were just layed. We buy some of this stuff, and get other staples on the cheap at the grocery store around the corner.
If you find yourself joining our CSA, be sure and chat with Cheryl at checkout. She's super-adorable.
in this time of change and hope, melvin and i have been talking about how we can personally serve, how we can contribute to a more perfect union. we hear from so many of our friends that they want to be working to create change and progress. let's join together to talk about our personal accountability.
this is our blog.
let me (alexis:)) start with my most recent involvement in the movement for change. prior to this momentous election, i found myself in southwest virginia, hoping to help the state turn blue after 44 years of adamantly voting red.
on the morning of tuesday, november 4th, i found myself blanketing a hopelessly conservative region with voting information. if anybody needed to know their voting rights or lacked transportation to their polling place, i could help. after 7 hours of this work, i met a young man named christopher. i knocked on his door and dove into my spiel: "hi, i'm alexis. i'm here from the warner/obama office, checking in to see if you have already voted or need any help getting to your local voting location." chris told me that he was on disability and food stamps, and that he wanted to vote for Obama because he felt he was the candidate who would protect his rights and aid. he continued to say that he was disabled, and didn't see any way to get to the polls.
what struck me was that chris had registered to vote and thought about the issues, and had even chosen a candidate; far more involvement than one might expect of some dude in low-income housing in rural virginia. please friends, remember that i was a democrat canvassing in the capitol of the confederacy; merely finding a democrat was a victory. i drove chris to the polls and stood in the rain for almost an hour while he voted; this may have been the most important 45 minutes of my life. chris came out of the community center where he voted, beaming with his "i voted" sticker, feeling like he was a part of the change.