Happy June!!

We are now gleaning more frequently and appreciate all of your help!

Vegetables planted in the beds that volunteers built in the Fields to Families Garden in Moncks Corner, are flourishing!  
Thanks to the work of your hands, we were able to distribute about 650 pounds of
produce this month in North Charleston. Children and seniors receive fresh produce
through the City of North Charleston and by the kindness of Belinda Swindler who
knows where our most forgotten citizens are located. She brings the vegetables and
our recipes to children and their parents in the city-supported camps and to the
seniors living in public facilities in North Charleston. We also distribute to
Tricounty Family Ministries for their pantry and soup kitchen, to Destiny (pay-as-you-
can) Café* and to Fresh Future Farm where vegetables are affordable for all
customers!

Gleaning at Rosebank Farms 

Deliveries to TriCounty Family Ministries, Destiny Cafe and Fresh Future Farm.  
🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱A New Farm! 🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱

Fields to Families welcomes a new farm!

Rooting Down Farms located on Johns Island near Rosebank Farm.                        

Welcome aboard and thank you for all of the beautiful kale, kohlrabi, and turnips! 

Rooting Down Farms

Meet our Volunteer of the Month, Minde Herbert and Jane and Sam Herbert!


The Family that Gleans Together… By Minde Herber

Our family mission is simple: We love providing clean, wholesome food to people who are hungry. We’re new to the area so you can imagine our excitement when we discovered Fields to Families and their need for “gleaners” to work in local fields and pick produce, then deliver that food to communities in need. This is a relatively new mission for us, born from our own hardships.

Our kitchen table has always been the place to debrief, reenergize, and galvanize as a family. Sharing a meal together allows us to connect in meaningful ways. Cooking is a family affair, done with love. We look forward to perusing farmer’s markets for seasonal eats and creating new and interesting meals. In late 2007, I realized how much we took our healthy, wholesome meals (and access to good, clean food), for granted.

That’s when the real estate bubble burst into a fiery mess and my husband’s real estate brokerage went belly-up. I am ashamed to admit that before that I never put much thought into how much food cost or about our easy access to fresh food. We’d always eaten an organic diet and money was never an issue. Sure, we’d enjoyed dabbling in growing our own food and shopping responsibly but doing those things was not a necessity. For the first time I was hyper-aware of the true expense of good food and the importance of cooking.

Not willing to compromise my family’s health due to our dire financial circumstances, I quickly began finding solutions to feed my family “real food” meals on a very tight budget. I’d always had a passion for nutrition and cooking (and had studied those fields in college) and I immediately put that knowledge to use. I developed and honed methods for creating and maintaining a healthy, wholesome diet while pinching pennies. I think this is the time period where our – mine and my family’s – food advocacy began. I founded company called Affordably Organic, offering support and education to people that wanted to learn how to eat well and organically on a budget. I worked with Second Harvest Food Bank (E. TN), providing tips on how to cook healthy meals from donated foods; I was a frequent guest chef at local farmers markets, demonstrating how to cook seasonal foods in tasty, easy and cost-effective ways. I taught “Affordably Organic” classes at the University of Tennessee’s Culinary Institute, educating students about how to substitute homemade foods for processed ones, ways to effectively “bargain shop” for wholesome foods, and easy tips to grow food in small spaces.

My family has been along for every step of the way, offering their advice and opinions on recipes and more. My children compiled food bags for the hungry, were often in the back of the classroom during my workshops, and came with me whenever I spoke at a conference or to a large group. The kids are older now and they’re eager to get more involved in helping others get access to the food they need.

Now that’s we’re in Charleston, our food advocacy has shifted. We want to physically bring food to those in need and literally lend a hand to get the food out of the ground and onto people’s tables. Enter, Fields to Families.

“This kind of work makes me feel good, Mom,” said our 10-year old daughter Jane as she was wiping sweat and dirt out of her eyes after spending a couple hours picking mustard greens on a local farm. Her twin, Sam, shows he feels that same way by asking, “when can we go help again” every time we leave a gleaned field.

We are thankful for the opportunity to assist Fields to Families in their mission to feed hungry people and look forward to lending a hand as often as we can.

 


❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

A very happy birthday to our Young Gleaners as they celebrate June Birthdays

Sophia Liang will be six years old on Sunday, June 12

Gavin Plis will be nine years old on Tuesday, June 14

Mitchell Foster will also be nine years old on Sunday, June 19

Ally Shipp will celebrate her Sweet Sixteenth Birthday on Sunday, June 26
Eason Stembridge, possibly our youngest gleaner, came out to play in the dirt!!💚💚💚


We thank you all for your participation and look forward to seeing you out in the fields this month.

YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF MANY PEOPLE. THANK YOU❣

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HAPPY SPRING!

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” says Margaret Atwood, the Canadian poet! “Amen!” I say, “So be it!” There is no perfume that smells better than dirt! It speaks to the hard labor in the fields that is so gratifying. It feeds your senses while it provides real nourishment for the body, mind, and souls that are the recipient of the fruit of your labors. We, at OASIS are looking forward to greeting all our friends and supporters “For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth,” and we will be back in the fields on Wednesday, April 6 and again on April 9 at Rosebank farms where we will be picking collards. Watch for the sign up for these events at http://www.fieldstofamilies.org. This is a new season and we have several new procedures to expedite the gleaning process.

Oasis is looking forward to a Spring rebirth of the activity that has sustained so many individuals throughout last year when, like the postal service, “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night” stayed you, the valiant gleaners, from harvesting vegetables and working the land in adverse weather conditions to make sure that everyone had fresh, healthy vegetables no matter what other economic difficulties they endured. Kudos to you all!

Sasha Coyle, Fields to Families Administrator has been hard at work at the Fields to Families Moncks Corner Garden that annually produces thousands of pounds of fresh vegetables to those in need. Several groups have been out to build new beds and increase the size of the garden so more vegetables can be harvested. Lowcountry Mulch of Mt. Pleasant generously donated 6 cubic yards of soil to the garden. Eleven volunteers, two trailers and a pickup truck helped deliver the garden amendments to the property. Groups from Florida State University and Emory University contributed much of the labor that started Sasha’s raised bed garden project. The groups leveled the ground, pulled weeds, built eleven raised bed boxes, filled the boxes with the donated soil and laid new walkways of mulch. Cub Scout Troop #743 then planted the beds with all the spring vegetables.

 Florida State University volunteers  

Emory volunteers 

 Cub Scout Troop #743 

 

Oasis was not idle this month. We are preparing for the gleaning opportunities that lie ahead. We are revising some of our procedures to work more efficiently with our partner, Fields to Families. Oasis and Fields to Families will be doing joint gleanings as we did last year. This year ALL gleanings will be posted on the Fields to Families Website and you can sign up on the website for any gleanings in which you would like to participate. Fields to Families will send directions to the site to you the day before the gleaning. All questions and gleaning concerns should be directed to oasis_1@att.net. Oasis will record your time and mileage. When you arrive at the field, please let the leader know that you are present and if you were the driver to the field. The leader will record your time in the field. You need not track anything. We will do that for you. Should you need information for community service or tax purposes, just contact oasis_1@att.net. .

Parents of minor children recently received a form to fill out for contact information for each child so that the leader will have updated contact information about each child available on the field in case of emergency. Please fill in all required fields on the registration form. No signature is required if we have one on file. Oasis appreciates your help in providing a safe and happy experience for each child. If you did not receive a form to update your child’s contact information, please contact me at oasis_1@att.net.


Happy birthday to Gavin Plis who turned nine years old on March 14! Oasis hopes you had a very Happy Birthday Gavin!  
Happy birthday to Patience Brown who will be twelve years old on April 30. Oasis wishes Patience a very Happy Birthday!

The birthday corner is not the only new feature beginning this month. Each month a volunteer is invited to introduce himself/herself to you in our the “Volunteer Spotlight “section of this newsletter. This month, I invited Michelle Pollack to introduce herself to you. Michelle has been a dedicated gleaner for many years. She is always in the field and always brings a friend. Fields to Families and Oasis are not the only nonprofits that Michelle supports. She is active with many agencies for the public good. She has more energy and more ability to get things done than you can imagine. Say hello to Michelle when you see her! She is a joy to know!

 

Michelle Pollack

     I love to glean! It’s one of my favorite things to do, and I sometimes plan my entire day around any gleaning opportunities. I love to work in the fields: feeling connected to the earth, being outside with the plants, and helping to provide good, nutritious food to which some people might not have access.

Any day that I glean is automatically off to a good start. I feel blessed to have that time in the fields. I love getting dirty from the soil too (as an interior designer, I don’t get too many opportunities to be in the dirt).

Produce is a true passion of mine (my friends can’t tear me away from the fruit and vegetable department or from farmers markets), so it’s nice to be able to share that love with others who might benefit from all of the veggies we pick. Even when I travel, I usually spend most of my time in produce sections. While most people are out at the beaches or lining up to visit famous restaurants, I make a beeline to the local grocers and markets. I consider them mini museums of sorts. I think produce is beautiful 🙂 Which means you may not want to vacation with me.

Thank you, Michelle!

Oasis has many gleaners. Gleaners are ALL very special people. Please tell us why you glean. Please send YOUR story to oasis_1@att.net for the May edition of the Newsletter. We would love to get to know you, too!

Another new project that is in the works, thanks to Michelle’s agile mind will be inaugurated next month. Most of us receive gift cards and when we use the gift card, most often the card is thrown away because there is nothing you can buy for that small balance that remains. Oasis will be collecting those cards with small balances and donating them to Tricounty Family Ministries, a Ministry that feeds, shelters, finds jobs and educates the homeless and the hungry people in North Charleston who would not otherwise receive these services. A few dollars here and there can add up quickly to benefit so many people. You will receive a tax receipt for any amount over $5.00 More details to follow. Meanwhile, please save those gift cards that you might otherwise dispose of because they are of no use to you. Oasis will make sure that Tricounty Family Ministry reaps the benefits. Contact oasis_1@att.net if you have any questions or want to work on this project or would like to donate a card.

Another way that you can help is to let OASIS know what we can do to make your volunteer experience more rewarding. Please share with us some tips as to what you find beneficial and what is not., your likes and dislikes and what we can do to changes the negative into a postitive.

Also, please share with your fellow gleaner’s simple recipes for produce you have gleaned, simple exercises you do to keep in shape for gleaning, and any other gleaning tips you use. Photos are welcome. And don’t be surprised to see your tip in an upcoming issue of the Oasis e-Newsletter. And please don’t be disappointed if you don’t! You WILL receive a response from Oasis!

Have a great month! We are looking forward to seeing you as we harvest collards on Wednesday, April 6 and Saturday, April 9 at Rosebank Farms! Sign up today!

 

Off to a great start!

​The sunny days and warm temperatures at the end of 2015 were replaced in January with frost and more rain than we really needed. Despite the many days of inclement weather, many hearty souls braved the cold and were out in the fields harvesting crops for Oasis. Were you one of them? Thank you so much for sacrificing your comfort for the health of others.

​Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day was spectacular! Although the temperature was below freezing, your warm hearts harvested 1300 pounds of Bok Choy, kale, rutabagas, cabbage, turnips and greens! It was indeed an acknowledgement of Dr. King’s dream.

Many thanks to the 23 members of the Bonner Leader Program of College of Charleston and their coordinator Kirk McSwain. They volunteered to harvest bok choy at Rosebank farms, but our faithful Oasis gleaners had already signed up! The Bonner Leader Program volunteers graciously agreed to Plan B: working in the Fields to Families Garden in Moncks Corner. All was in readiness for this event when on Sunday, the rains came to Moncks Corner that weekend and washed away all hopes of accessing that garden, so Plan C had to be found and implemented. The farmer at the Bowman farm was gracious enough to enthusiastically open his farm to these very adaptable leaders of tomorrow, and off they went on MLK, Jr. Day, in the frost of the morning, to Bowman, South Carolina, to harvest 840 pounds of kale, mustard greens, rutabagas, and turnips at that far away place. They then delivered 680 pounds to Tricounty Family Ministries and Destiny Café and Fresh Future Farm in the North Charleston Food Desert and we shared 160 pounds with Fields to Families for their food pantries.

COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON, BONNER LEADER PROGRAM VOLUNTEERS


Meanwhile at Rosebank Farm, our dedicated OASIS volunteers were harvesting bok choy and cabbage. The 505 pounds of produce harvested at Rosebank were shared with the Residents of the North Charleston Food Desert and agencies of Fields to Families. We are most grateful to our regular volunteers and the volunteer group from College of Charleston for providing so many hungry people with fresh vegetables. The total amount harvested was 1345 pounds of fresh produce that equates to almost 1100 meals! Great work volunteers! We hope all those who participated in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Remembrance will continue to help in the fields on many occasions and bring friends and family to participate, too.

CUTTING  CABBAGE AND BOK CHOY AT ROSEBANK FARM 505 POUNDS PACKED UP AND READY FOR DISTRIBUTION

As mentioned above, part of everything that OASIS gleans is distributed to the Destiny Café, a “pay-as-you-can” café in North Charleston that provides meals for any that comes into their restaurant. Diners pay what they can for the meal. No one is excluded. Envelopes are given to the diners and they put in it what they can afford. At Destiny Café all customers are treated equally to healthy, nourishing food. RaGina Saunders, chef and manager of the café has a ‘work for food’ program and offers indigent people the opportunity to donate an hour of work for a meal. She nourishes not only their bodies but also their self-respect and gives them hope for the future.

​Another program supported by OASIS is the Fresh Future Farm. It is organized and run by Germaine Jenkins. When I first met Germaine many years ago, she was the Chef at the Cannon Street Y and would come out to the fields with her son to harvest vegetables. She knew how to get children to ‘eat their veggies’ She ground up zucchini and put it in the spaghetti sauce! What child doesn’t love spaghetti? She has always been an inspiration to all who meet her. Now she is an inspiration to all of us who work so hard to provide fresh food for those who do not have access to it. Germaine has established a nonprofit farm to bring fresh produce to the residents of the North Charleston Food Desert at a reasonable cost, making fresh food available at affordable prices. She transformed a bare lot in the City of North Charleston and turned it into a farm that grows organic produce. Oasis supports her efforts. . Please Log onto http://freshfuturefarm.org and read the remarkable journey of this North Charleston resident who has done so much for her community and see why Oasis through your efforts, supports her commitment to the population that we serve.

 

RECIPIENTS OF A SMALL PORTION OF THE WORK OF YOUR HANDS
GERMAINE JENKINS, CEO of FRESH FUTURE FARMS 

HELPERS & RAGINA SAUNDERS (LEFT) DESTINY CAFÉ


Saturday, January 30 was our final gleaning for the season at Robertson’s Garden. In closing, here is the message from Jill Levy, Field Leader for OASIS. “Thank you to all our last minute volunteers… a beautiful day and a great turnout and such nice people! Thank you Mr. R, our farmer, who is so generous and welcoming! We harvested 150 pounds of Alamo greens and 385 pounds of rutabagas to distribute to those in need of fresh produce.”

 COLLAGE OF PHOTOS: JANUARY 30, 2016 ROBERTSON’S GARDEN

Al and Martha Robertson have been our gracious hosts at their garden for eight years. On February 13, 2009, Al called Fields to Families and offered to grow vegetables for us. It was the sweetest Valentine’s Day gift! He has been supplying us with fresh produce and many other amenities since that phone call! Thank you Al and Martha for your generosity and making such a huge difference in the lives of so many people.

Sidi Limehouse at Rosebank Farms has supported gleaning efforts since 2000, probably before that! His generosity too is boundless and we appreciate his willingness to share the bounty of his harvest with such an open hand. His big heart and quick wit is always open to the needs of others and he will share whatever produce is available. Thank you, Sidi, for your long time commitment to the needs of all people.

Both of these gentlemen have cared about those who have so little. We are grateful to them and to other farmers who have come on board to support the mission of both Fields to Families and Oasis to provide fresh vegetables to those who cannot provide it for themselves. Kudos to them and to all our volunteers that labor under all kinds of conditions to make sure that others have the same healthy foods we all enjoy..

 

Although it is unlikely that we will glean in the month of February, we are ever optimistic that we will be pleasantly surprised. This is the season when farmers turn over their fields, perhaps take a short vacation before they plan the crops for the year and spring planting begins. Then the cycle begins anew!

Thank you so much for your continuing support of Oasis and their mission to provide an oasis in the food desert of North Charleston. Enjoy the lovely weather and plan to begin again in March, bringing with you friends and families and especially your enthusiasm.

Happy New Year 

What wonderful weather we had these last few weeks as we celebrated our holidays and the end of 2016. While we enjoyed the warmer weather of the Lowcountry, many of our friends around the United States were not so lucky. We wish them happier and sunnier days than what the Midwest experienced the last part of December.     We hope 2016 will be kinder to those of us, especially the farmers in the Lowcountry that suffered first the drought and then the heat and finally the floods that swept away all the familiar rituals of seasons of the soil that had been practiced for generations. Like those who had dramatic life changes, we are all starting again in what we hope will be a year of peace, tranquility, good crops and an abundance of all that is good in life for everyone.


​Despite all the hardships of cold, heat, too much wind, not enough water, too much water and for all of us, too little time, 2015 was a very productive year! 22.6%, 15778 pounds of the 69770 pound total that Fields to Families reported for 2015 was harvested and distributed by OASIS in the North Charleston Food Desert. We also harvested an additional 1368 pounds that we used to support the Destiny Café (the Pay as You Can Café) and the new farm called the Fresh Future Farm, both in North Charleston. The Farm is a new concept that Germaine Jenkins has spearheaded and a huge assed in the North Charleston Food Desert. It helps the residents of the food desert purchase farm fresh vegetables at low cost.


  This is an example of produce costs in a food desert…

 

#1 = Harvested and distributed by Fields to Families

#2 = Harvested and distributed by OASIS

#3 = Harvested and distributed by OASIs for Destiny Café and Fresh Future Farms

 

Oasis harvested and distributed 15778 pounds and an additional 1363 pounds for a total of 17146 pounds of produce! Half of what was harvested, 51%, went to families with children via the City of North Charleston through their subsidized after school and camp programs for children. It was also distributed to the elderly in nursing homes where there were no resources for fresh vegetables. 31% went to Tricounty Family Ministries; 9% went to Fields to Families agencies; 1% went to Shield Ministries, a men’s shelter in North Charleston; and the remainder to Oasis’s special programs, Destiny Café received 7.5% and Fresh FutureFarms received .5%. We so much appreciate your support. This is represents YOUR hard work and dedication.

 

#1 City of North Charleston ​ 8670 pounds
#2 Tricounty Family Ministries​ 5229 pounds​​​​​
#3 Fields to Families Agencies 1543 pounds​​​​​
#4 Shield Ministries 204 pounds
​​​​​#5 Destiny Café 1268 pounds
​​​​​#6 Fresh Future Farms 85 pounds

Unfortunately, much of our meager supply of produce had to be redirected due to the flood in October that affected everyone, especially those who were left homeless, without jobs, with only the clothing on their backs, and without support other than what the community donated to them. YOU are the community. If you donated to a food drive, donated clothing, came out to glean, or volunteered your services and by sharing your blessings gave hope to the hopeless, YOU MADE A DIFFERENCE in someone’s life. We thank you for your concern, your efforts and your humanity.

 

And so we begin anew! We are looking forward to the New Year. Soon, actually this month, those farmers who still have viable farms will be clearing their land to make room for spring crops. You can help them by volunteering when either Oasis or Fields to Families is invited to the farms to do this work. Last minute opportunities will come up anytime, so check your inbox. Registered gleaners will receive information on all coming events We hope you will all come out and help

 

Our first scheduled gleaning will be Monday, January 18, Martin Luther King Day when we celebrate Dr. King’s dream for all people. It is too early for details, but we expect to be at Rosebank Farm. Please let me know if you can participate. This is an annual event for Oasis, but of course, you will need to sign up on the F2F website

 

On Friday, January 22, between 9 and noon, Oasis will again be participating in the health fare at Franke. Please look for our table and please take the time to introduce yourself to me! I know so many of you by name and it would be lovely to attach a face to the name!

We have our work cut out for us this year! We hope there will be no storms or disasters to keep us from providing fresh healthy food to those who are not able to procure it for themselves. Thank you so much for helping us to build an OASIS in the North Charleston Food Desert.

Have a happy and healthy new year. Blessings to you all from OASIS!

Food Desert Oasis

 

 

It is hard to believe that December had come and gone. The last few months have flown by in a flurry of activity for everyone. One way or another, everyone was impacted by the floods followed by so many rainy days and high tides. All of us suffered some inconveniences, minor or major, from road closures to loss of homes. However, none as severe as people who lost loved ones and the people who found their lives swept away by the flood. Jobs were lost, homes were lost, and a whole way of life for some was altered irrevocably.

We are a strong, caring community and as we did after Hugo, and as we have done many times before and after, we banded together to help those in need. This newsletter is in honor of the heroes that fed, clothed, and housed the hungry and the homeless. Neighbors held food drives and clothing drives and collected funds to help those in need.

The soup kitchen at Tricounty Family Ministries that normally serves upwards of 1000 meals a week kept their doors open during the flood and depleted their entire store of food and money, feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless. It was you, and all the other unnamed strangers who were the real heroes. They replenished the food and funds that were so badly needed by Tricounty Family Ministries. The healing process goes on. We, the caring community, will continue to rebuild and repair, not just the material things, but also the very lives of those who have added to the enormous burdens they were already carrying.

November was a busy month for Oasis and for Fields to Families. The one word that best describes this November is “muddy’! We have begun harvesting the sparse produce that was untouched by the damaging river water. ​ ​​

Gleaning activities on those safe fields sometimes did not happen on schedule during October and November because the muddy fields that occurred after rain rendered them too hazardous. Yet we delivered whatever produce we could glean and collected non-perishables, clothing, and other necessary items.

Franke at Seaside, a continuum of care facility conducted a food drive in their active lifestyle community. For one week, Chef Frankie Scavullo asked residents to bring a can of food when they came to meals and give it to their favorite server! At the end of the week, the server with the most cans received a gift card from Franke. Donna Smith and Jessica Brown tied for first place with 65 cans each. Tricounty Family Ministries was the recipient of the 416 pounds of cans collected in the food drive. Collection boxes left in strategic campus locations during the rest of the month yielded another 30 pounds of cans.

The Franke dining room servers, the cheerleaders for the Food Drive and the food the Active Lifesyle Residents donated!

On November 13, Oasis participated in the Day of Caring sponsored by the Trident United Way. Volunteers to glean the fields at Rosebank Farm signed up prior to the occurrence of the flood. Between making the request and the actual execution of the Day of Caring, Rosebank Farm lost 75% of its crops in the flood and had little to glean, and we had 40 enthusiastic volunteers from three local businesses ready for a meaningful farming experience. And they had one indeed! One group from MUSC harvested 615 pounds of greens at Robertsons Home Garden in Wadmalaw and then went on to Rosebank on Johns Island and harvested 105 pounds of green beans that they delivered to Tricounty Family Ministries! Two more teams, one from the Fish and Wildlife Service and the other from the Riverdogs, valiantly worked in the muddy Fields to Families Vegetable Garden in Moncks Corner. They did a major overhaul of beds and prepared the land for winter and spring planting.

We ended the month with a new farm to glean in Bowman, SC. On November 29, together with Fields to Families, we harvested 870 pounds of beautiful tomatoes. Fields to Families distributed half of the harvest to the agencies they serve. OASIS distributed their half of the harvest to two North Charleston establishments that feed the hungry: Tricounty Family Ministries, and the Destiny Café, (known to the public as the Pay-What-You-Can-Café).

 

  
  
We continue to grow. Between January 1 and November 30, 2015, Oasis distributed 16,921 pounds in the North Charleston Food Desert (13537 meals). Together, Fields to Families and Oasis harvested and distributed 64,727 pounds to the shelters and food pantries and soup kitchens they serve (51782 meals) to those who are hungry or food insecure. Together that equates to 65319 meals served.

Our sincere appreciation goes to the volunteers that have supported our efforts to ensure good nutrition and quality of life to so many people in need. The willing hearts, hands and minds that join with us on a consistent basis to lend their talents to our mission to provide fresh wholesome food to those who are not able to provide it for themselves bless us all.
These are the smiles you created with your giving spirit
You, too, can be part of this effort to increase the health and well-being of people in need. By helping others, you are truly helping society to overcome the effects that lack of nutrition has on everyone. Ask us about the many ways you can help to ‘change what is into what it should be’ and by so doing, make this world a happier, healthier place for us all.

Jill and I appreciate so much your many acts of kindness, thoughtfulness, and willingness to lend a helping hand. We could not have touched so many people if your hands were not also reaching out. Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to everyone who has supported us with large contributions of material things or just a small act of kindness and a helping hand makes a difference.

 

Our plans for the year….

1. Gleaning, gleaning and more gleaning – contact Oasis if you are interested in our gleaning dates for the rest of this week! Signed up volunteers will automatically receive notification of all gleanings. Many hands make light work. Come join us at oasis_1@att.net

2. Non-perishable food drives in neighborhoods. Get your neighbors involved in helping to build a healthier society. Get more information at oasis_1@att.net

Come see us at the Health Fair at Franke on Friday January 18, 2015

HELP OUR PARTNERS… LOUIE’S KIDS


Our Outdoor Workouts Are Back!Louie’s Kids once again launches a goal-oriented workout under the bridge. We’re starting a nine-week family fitness program training for the IOP Connector 10K. We’ll have workouts under the bridge two nights a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting on Tuesday, August 4th from 6:30-7:30pm at Mount Pleasant Waterfront Park, and continuing every Tuesday and Thursday until race day on October 3rd!

We welcome all families, shapes, sizes, abilities….anyone!

Again, everyone goes at their own pace. The format will be 1 day running/1 day strength and fitness.

The cost is only $40 for a family up to 4 people – $10 per each additional person. This is a fun, engaging and rewarding outdoor exercise program that is great for anyone!

For more information, please contact us:

 

Email personaltrainingforlife@gmail.com if you are interested as a family!

Email jenny@louieskids.org if you are interested in volunteering for the program!

 

You make the difference…  Bushels of thanks!!!

The fall season is upon us and that means we will be gleaning in full force very soon. This blog post is a little refresher on why we do what we do. It is also a reminder of why it is so important to our community.

Why fresh produce?      Although government assistance is available to some of those who need it, not everybody qualifies for Food Stamps or other food-assistance programs. The assistance received also does not guarantee access to fresh food. Most food received from emergency food programs are canned and packaged. The healthier, more nutritious foods can be expensive in comparison to the readily available, cheap, processed food. Between 2006 and 2009, obesity rates rose in the tri-county area. Berkeley County has one of the highest adult obesity rates in the state. Eating vegetables provides health benefits – people who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Vegetables provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.



South Carolina facts on hunger from Feeding America 

Food insecurity rates by its respective County (overall, child)

Charleston, Charleston County (16%, 24%)

N. Charleston, Charleston County (16%, 24%)

Mt. Pleasant, Charleston County (16%, 24%)

“Millions of Americans are unemployed and millions of others are working for reduced wages or working fewer hours. Many of these people never thought they would need a helping hand, but are now turning to programs like SNAP,” said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America.”We know that the number of people coming to Feeding America food banks for assistance increased a staggering 46 percent in the last few years. Food stamps and other anti-hunger programs give hope to struggling Americans and protect them from deeper crisis as they work to get back on their feet.”

Here’s how we help…

Founded in 2006, Fields to Families is a nonprofit organization located in Charleston, South Carolina, that helps the hungry in our community gain access to nutritious fruits and vegetables.

We could not make this happen without our wonderful volunteers and farmers! Our success is measured in pounds and testimonials. The more we can glean the more families we can help. Unfortunately poundage is not always inside of our control as mother-nature has been known to play a role but we do our best to increase the number of meals we can provide every year.

To do so, we depend on the generosity of our neighbors to help us achieve our mission. Those people include the farmers who have agreed to offer us their unused fruits and vegetables, volunteers who help pick produce, community members who give us extras from their gardens, and recipient agencies who help distribute this nutritious food those in need. Without their help and the generosity of people like you — we wouldn’t be able to run our programs.

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In 2015, Fields to Families has collected, gleaned, and distributed over 37,000 lbs of fresh fruits and veggies. In 2015, Oasis has collected, gleaned, and distributed 15,000 lbs of fresh fruit and veggies directly to the North Charleston food desert areas. 15,000 pounds equates to 12,000 meals. Together we have distributed 52,000 pounds of fresh produce.  There are still three months left in the year!  PARTNERSHIPS ROCK!
A lot of us take fresh produce for granted, but to those who have no access it is truly valued.

 

Fields to Families, outreach partner, OASIS, concentrates on delivering produce to USDA defined food deserts.  Food deserts are a harsh reality in South Carolina. According to Clemson University, there are 1,632 rural and 4,897 urban communities that meet the food desert definition. Food deserts are areas identified as lacking healthy retail grocery stores within easy traveling distance of residents.  This is leaving families in both urban and rural neighborhoods with limited access to healthy food. Poor nutrition with lack of access to healthy choices contributes to obesity, declining health, diabetes, and poor academic outcomes of neighborhood children.


Here is the latest food desert map for our area… Green shading indicates food desert areas.


Our greatest measure of success is the appreciation shown by our recipient agencies and the folks who receive our produce.

“Yesterday was an amazing day for sixty plus of our children in the afterschool programs at Ferndale and Liberty Park/Highland Terrace.I bagged a bean and a corn bag or two for each child. I had the opportunity to meet and greet many of the parents and one especially grabbed my heart strings. It was actually the Grandmother picking up her grandson and when I offered the bag to her and told her what it was she exclaimed, “What a blessing. My mother has been wanting some fresh green beans.” Her elderly mother was sitting in the car and just smiled with joy. And yes I gave her an extra bag of beans. Made my day, reminded me what we are doing matters, said a prayer of thanksgiving for all of those that make this endeavor possible.”

 

Belinda Swindler, who runs the Felix Davis Community Center, wrote to us after receiving watermelons gleaned by our volunteers:

“Re: watermelons Oh my…we made a lot of people happy! I shared with (24) seniors and four families.What a blessing! We just never know the impact we make but the smiles and thanks are priceless. It is a good thing. Thank you again, again and again.”

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Donna Bailey, who runs the Sherman House, low income senior housing, has been receiving fresh produce for her residents. She told us the the nurse who comes by to check blood pressure has noticed results! Watermelons and blueberries are better for you than potato chips.  Fresh produce is so much healthier than canned. No salt added and full of vitamins. 

Seniors are also hit hard by lack of funds and transportation. According to AARP SC ranks 44th for food insecure seniors.

It isn’t fair

Access to fresh, healthy produce shouldn’t be so difficult.  Food injustice is a social injustice. Let’s address this problem together.



You make the difference! 

Thank you and we hope to see you out in the fields soon!

If you haven’t already, just sign up on the Fields to Families website and thereafter you will be notified of ALL gleanings – OASIS, Fields to Families, and all joint gleanings.

http://www.fieldstofamilies.org/volunteer/