In a few days, I’ll be living on nothing but bread and water. Hopefully it will only be for a short time. I’m very fortunate that I have a good job and a support system of friends and family that would help if I needed it. Not everyone is so lucky.
Right around Thanksgiving it’s not so bad. Many people will crank up their charitable giving and volunteering during this time of year. There will be food can drives, adopt-a-family opportunities, donations at church and school, and tons of other ways that San Antonians will step up and make a huge difference for the less fortunate. This is a good thing.
Have you ever thought about what happens during the rest of the year? We like to say that hunger is not a Thanksgiving issue; it’s an issue 365 days a year. That’s why I got involved with Inner City Development’s Thanksgiving 365 fundraiser. The concept is really simple. We use the generosity of the season and try to raise enough money to fund the emergency food pantry for the entire year (see a video about Thanksgiving 365 here.)
The way we do it is easy. A group of volunteers each commit to raise $1,000, and each will fast on bread and water until they make their goal. You would be surprised how quickly the donations come rolling in when your family and friends hear that you are fasting. Most people make it in just a few days.
The overall fundraising goal is a modest $30,000. Inner City does a lot with that money.
A little background on Inner City, which was founded in 1968 by Fr. Ralph Ruiz, a Catholic priest and neighborhood advocate. Shortly afterwards, the husband and wife team of Ron and Patti Radle became co-directors when Ruiz’s work took him elsewhere. They decided to forego salaries and work as volunteers. They are still there today. You can read the organization’s history here.
Inner City is projected to serve more than 150,000 meals this year to families who are in crisis. That number is much higher than the number of meals served five years ago. Inner City is located in the neighborhood of the economically poorest precinct of Bexar County. They primarily serve the Alazan/Apache Courts housing project and the surrounding area.
Often, I get the question about the Food Bank. I give to them, doesn’t that cover it?
Well, yes and no. The San Antonio Food Bank is an incredible organization, and Inner City couldn’t serve 150,000 meals a year without their support. But the need far outstrips the supply. Right now, Inner City can only meet about 40% of its need with items available from the Food Bank. Even the items that come from The Food Bank have some cost. We need additional support from the community.
As I write this, we have around 10 people committed to the fast. I know these folks will have no problem meeting their individual fundraising goals. But the math is easy. Ten “fasters” times $1,000 each equals $10,000. That’s well short of the $30,000 we will need over the next 12 months.
That’s why I had the idea to reach out to the readers of the Rivard Report, people who care deeply about San Antonio and particularly in its urban core.
So what can you do? First, you can give generously. You can send a check to Inner City or donate via PayPal. That information is below. Thanks in advance for anything you can give.
What I’m really hoping for is to recruit a few new fasters. That’s how we will close the gap. We start on November 1. We will have a small press conference at Inner City at 10 a.m. From that point, each faster will consume bread and water until he or she raises $1,000.
Sound interesting? Do you have questions? Let me know. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (210) 912-0176.
You may also contact Patti Radle or Rosa Lopez at Inner City Development:
1300 Chihuahua St.
San Antonio, Texas 78207
Ph: (210)224.7239 FAX: (210)224.2199
To donate, send a check to the address above, or use PayPal. http://www.innercitydevelopment.org/donate.html
Ryan Haug works for Rackspace, the open cloud company. He has lived in San Antonio since 1990 when he moved here to attend Trinity University. You can find him hanging out at Beethoven Maennechor on First Fridays or at UTSA tailgates with his wife Tanya and his two boys, Vincent and Charlie. He has been volunteering for Inner City Development for more than 5 years.