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Elijah's Promise Progress Report - Quarter 1

Page history last edited by Paul Helms 10 years, 11 months ago

Section 1: Demographics


  • Number of individuals who have applied to your AmeriCorps positions:

    • 2.  They are Paul Helms and Ben Schellack, serving in the area of Community Food Security. Paul is focused on obtaining and processing produce + composting and sustainable operations for Elijah's Promise. Ben is focused on starting several community gardens in New Brunswick and assisting Paul in general.


  • Number of volunteers who are recruited, coordinated or supported by your program: 

    • We are overseeing a small group of 4 Middlesex County College Bonner students for the year with 'environment' as their focus, and have recruited other volunteers for various activities -- canning and freezing (30 volunteers, mostly college or post-college from volunteer organizations and corporations), gleaning (6 volunteers, mostly associates since travel is involved), maintaining farmland (30 volunteers, mostly from Bonner service teams).


  • Number of disadvantaged youth serving as volunteers:

    • 6; We have some youth volunteers at Elijah's Promise soup kitchen because of court-ordered service or school discipline, and they have helped us process food for storage.


  • Number of individuals enrolled in a degree-seeking program at a community, professional or technical college,

    or within a undergraduate or graduate program at a college or university who serve as volunteers:
    • 60 (adding relevant numbers from above)


  • Number of individuals born between 1946 and 1964 who serve as volunteers:  

    • 2 (a few of our consistent volunteers at the soup kitchen that help from time to time)


Section 2: Performance Measures


  • Number of families receiving food:  

    • 15-20.  We handed out extra (gleaned w/Farmers Against Hunger) produce on several occasions (totalling 150+ lbs.) to Hispanic families served through House of Manna (Casa del Manna), a kitchen started in the last year in downtown New Brunswick. 

  • Number of volunteers recruited:

    • Around 75.


Section 3: Strategic Initiatives


Below are the CNCS Strategic Initiatives, please give at least one example of activity that 

addresses at least one strategic initiative that your program has addressed. This may or 

may not be related to a performance measure. Describe the activity, including need that was 

addressed; local collaborations or partners; service activity; and results.


Link to examples of projects related to strategic initiatives


Mobilizing more volunteers 

Volunteers have been recruited specifically to assist with gleaning local produce, processing local, seasonal produce donations to be stored for later use in our programs.   In addition, volunteers were mobilized to paint and assist with the opening of a new community cafe which will support expanded food security in the area. 



Ensuring a Brighter Future for America's youth





Engaging students in communities 

I (Paul Helms) was given the opportunity to speak to a group TCNJ Bonner students who are addressing hunger issues in the Trenton, NJ area for the 09-10 school year. My goal was to motivate them to think deeply about hunger issues rather than just addressing immediate needs.  Bringing in canned food is a good thing for our kitchens, but few people in our state know the real issues of hunger that are going on.  I spoke about the global situation as well and how we can see the need for long-term, creative solutions to hunger issues.  My hope is that these students will begin to think about these issues deeply, teach others, and possibly work in these areas during their careers.


In the midst of sharing, the students learned that I have been helping with gleaning local produce in central New Jersey.  They informed their supervisors about this, and as a result we are planning to have two groups of 26 freshmen from TCNJ glean and process produce for our soup kitchen during October 09.  The hope is that these students will be able to see the extent of what it really means to feed people and how it takes hard work, thoughtfulness, and dedicated service to make good use of local produce and actually feed others.



Harnessing Baby Boomers’ experience 



Section 4: Great Stories


Highlight member activities which are especially reflective of the impact the program has in 

the community, or which illustrate an innovative or highly successful aspect of program 



Link to examples of Great Stories 


My work involves different site locations and several different people, organizations, and volunteers.  One of the more exciting things that has been developing so far involves community garden work.  Originally, I was pulled on board to create a community garden on a plot of land that has been promised to our organization.  While that is in process and is on schedule, there were no other opportunities to start community gardens available and it was not a goal of ours to start more than one. 


As I spent some time working on the Rutgers Student Farm I became friends with an ecology student, Drew, who is an experienced gardener.  Drew received a grant to start community gardens in New Brunswick this year and wanted to work together with us since he is still in school and unable to commit more than 10 hours per week.  He began to talk to a local school (Lord Stirling Elementary) and found the administration and teachers very excited to begin a garden for the benefit of teachers and students.  At the same time that this was coming together, I inherited several Bonner student volunteers from Middlesex County College on a weekly basis for the school year.  Their focus is on just these kinds of projects, and so we will have dedicated volunteers to help get these gardens off of the ground.


It is hard to explain on paper, but the way in which everything has come together through networking with individuals and volunteer organizations has been very encouraging.  Every time that I am afraid I am in over my head and over-committing, the support needed to see things through has come up!


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