Fooding Cabinets: This Idea is Contagious

You’ve helped us send hundreds and hundreds of Neighborlies (emergency relief food bags) to homeless students in Denver Public Schools. You’ve carried Neighborlies in your cars to hand out to our homeless neighbors on street intersections around Denver. Now, we’ve got a brand new idea to get Neighborlies to the people. Again, we are turning to our loyal Stigma Fighters to help make this happen.

Sarah is a volunteer, a neighbor, and a supporter of our mission to crush the stigma. She saw a news report about a project in a Michigan town to provide food to hungry people. The concept is much like the, “Little Free Libraries,” you see around town. People can take the food they need, and leave food for others as they are able. Small, two-drawer filing cabinets are used to house the food. The filing cabinets become fooding cabinets! It is a simple and creative idea, and Sarah wants to bring it to Denver. We want to support her efforts by stocking the fooding cabinets with Neighborlies to get this project successfully launched.

As always, we need your help. But we aren’t just asking for money, we want our Stigma Fighters to get involved and take some ownership in this project. Here are the four ways you can help:

  1. Do you have a small, two drawer filing cabinet you can donate? Please see the picture above to get a clear understanding of what we are looking for.
  2. Do you know a good location where food insecurity is a real issue, and a fooding cabinet would make sense? Do you know a business owner who would welcome one on his or her property? Can you make contact for us and introduce the idea?
  3. Can you help decorate fooding cabinets or deliver Neighborlies to keep them stocked?
  4. Can you take “ownership” of one of the fooding cabinets – restocking it when needed and keeping it clean (think of the adopt a highway program)? This is the ultimate way to get and stay involved with a solution in our community!

This project is small. It isn’t going to solve food insecurity across Denver. But this project has two advantages that most efforts to feed our hungry neighbors lack.

As Sarah explains, “There is real dignity in this for both recipients and donors of food. When you go to the cabinet, no one knows if you are taking food out or putting food in. There is no shame or stigma associated. It is community.” We love that so much. If there is one thing we’ve learned through our work with feeding our neighbors, it is that dignity is the ultimate crusher of stigma.

The fooding cabinets also give you, our Denver neighbors, the ability to “own” part of the solution. You aren’t just writing a check. Your impact doesn’t have to end after a single volunteer shift of a few hours on one specific day. You can take over the care of one of the fooding cabinets, and nurture it to full potential. We will provide the Neighborlies, so you don’t have a long-term financial commitment. You just have to love the idea, and have a few minutes a week to make your fooding cabinet thrive.

What do you say? Can we count on you? Please send me an email at matt@theStigma.org and let us know how you can help.

Staying home and staying safe is important, but it leaves us feeling empty wondering what more we can do during this time of global crisis. Here is a way to get involved and feed our hungry neighbors. Let’s make sure the virus isn’t the only thing that’s contagious. Let’s make sure the fooding cabinet idea really spreads the love.

Published by Matt Salis

Matt Salis is a high-functioning alcoholic in recovery who is working to end the stigma associated with addiction and related conditions such as homelessness and mental illness.

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