Nov 11

L.A. Housing Partnership 2012 Holiday Food Distribution

Schedule of Food Distribution Nov/Dec 2012

Place:  2614 W. 7th Street, Los Angeles.

Date:  Wednesday November 21, 2012

Time: 4:00pm

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Date: December – No Food Distribution at that location.  But a big food distro at “Winter Festival” on Monday, December 17, 2012 at MacArthur Park.

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Posted by Uncle Paulie/ Thanks to Barbara B. for this update.

Oct 29

Health Issue For Urban Gypsies – GMO Frankenfoods!

Vote YES on Proposition 37 in California!

One of the problems of living a nomadic lifestyle is one of food quality.  A lot of folks living in their vehicles are down in their luck money-wise, and have to spend a portion of their time foraging for food, going to food banks, hitting the senior lunches, and finding free or cheap food.  In this situation we often don’t have the option of being “picky”.  We eat what we find or can get with our meager funds, and sometimes the food is not the greatest.  Everyone knows that eating fast-food continuously is bad for your health.  But now there is another problem:  Genetically Modified Foods.

This is food that big chemical companies have introduced into the farming process that has been genetically modified.  Why would they “modify” perfectly good food?  The main reason is so they can patent the food and then make money off selling the seeds. These type of corporations inserted pesticides into the seeds in a genetic manner.  They say this will make the farmers a bigger crop.  The question is what this genetic manipulation will do to the average human or animal.  These monster corporations spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy off politicians.  They don’t want you to know which foods they have done their dirty work on.  That is why we must force them to label the food if it contains a GMO (genetically modified organism).  For your health and safety, if you are registered to vote in California, vote YES on Proposition 37. 

Please go to this website and watch the videos on this issue: www.you-rant.com

And check out this video:

 

Aug 22

Los Angeles Area Food Distro

SOVA Food Bank Distribution

Click here SOVA to go to website to get complete information on their programs.

Here is some of the information, please visit their website.

METRO –

Our new Metro pantry is located in West Hollywood at 1140 N. La Brea Avenue, West Hollywood, CA 90038.

The METRO pantry is located on the east side of La Brea. Metered parking is available on La Brea as well as on surrounding streets.

WEST –

Our West pantry is located in the Pico-Robertson area of West Los Angeles at: 8846 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90035

The WEST pantry is located on the south side of Pico Blvd. one-half block west of Robertson Ave. Metered street parking is available on Pico Blvd. and surrounding streets as well as in a parking lot located just a few doors west of the building.

VALLEY –

Our Valley pantry is located in the middle of the San Fernando Valley at: 16439 Vanowen St., Van Nuys, CA 91406

The VALLEY pantry is located on the north side of Vanowen St. one-half block east of Hayvenhurst Ave. Our building is located off the street behind a row of storefronts. Follow the driveway that is between Taqueria San Jose and Costa Azul Restaurant to our parking lot.

Pantry Hours:

Metro

Sunday 9:00 am – 12:00 noon

(2nd and 4th Sunday of each month ONLY)

Monday 10:00 am – 1:30 pm

Tuesday 10:00 am – 1:30 pm

Wednesday 10:00 am – 1:30 pm

Thursday NO Food Distribution

Counseling services by appointment only.

Friday 10:00 am – 1:30 pm

West

Sunday 9:00 am – 12:00 noon

(1st and 3rd Sunday of each month ONLY)

Monday 10:00 am – 1:30 pm

Wednesday 10:00 am – 1:30 pm

Friday 10:00 am – 1:30 pm

Valley

Sunday 9:00 am – 12:00 noon

(Open every Sunday except holiday weekends)

Monday 10:00 am – 1:30 pm

Tuesday 10:00 am – 1:30 pm

Wednesday 10:00 am – 1:30 pm

Friday 10:00 am – 1:30 pm

 

 

Clever Solar Cooker

Aside

Here’s a clever solar cooker made from an old satellite dish. The dish is covered with a reflective foil, and the design of the dish reflects heat from the sun into a small area above it. A pan is suspended from the old satellite arm. It might take you a couple of minutes to get the exact spot that will pin-point the most heat to the pan. You put your food inside the pan, and in a few minutes you will have warm food. Be careful sticking your hand in the center of the dish, it gets hot. You could use a clamp to hold a pan for your food over the dish. This guy has a BBQ brush hooked on the top of the arm. A clever “stove” that could be handy for a campsite, even an urban one. Hey the “fuel” is free!

Photos below

Uncle Paulie

Solar Cooker made from old satellite dish.

I Live In A Bowling Alley

Aside

I Live In A Bowling Alley

My Life Went Down The Tubes

My name is Ben. I live in the San Fernando Valley. I’m retired now, but when I was working I had enough money to pay my rent, buy food, and have some fun, mainly bowling. I love to bowl. I mean I really love, love, love bowling. My friends even got to calling me “Benny the Bowler”. It is my passion, or I should say it WAS my passion. Since I retired and started collecting Social Security, my life went down the tubes, and bowling, among other things, went with it. Here’s my story.

The money I got from Social Security just barely covered my rent. And I didn’t live in a fancy place. Just a dumpy single apartment. Oh, the rent was more reasonable in the past, but it kept going up and up, until it was just under $900 per month. So there wasn’t even enough left for very much food. Some seniors get a lot more than me, they worked for the government or a big corporation and get a nice pension. Me? I started out in retail sales and stayed there.

My first job was a shoe salesman. I was good at selling shoes, but you need a strong stomach for it, smelling the stink of people’s socks and nylons. Shoe stores should have a heated pond when you walk in, sort of a mini-car wash for feet. You take off your shoes and then go through this little pond, which gently soaps up your toesies and gives everything a scrub-a-dub. Next is the warm blow-dry to get off the water and warm you up. Then, instead of wax, you get a shot of perfume on your ankles and feet. At that point, your feet are clean and smelling g-o-o-o-d! Then the shoe salesman sashays in, ready to show you some cool klompers. I might still be selling shoes if that dream was real. But unfortunately, it ain’t.

So, I decided to move up the sales ladder, which means move up the body so to speak. I got into a nice shop selling men’s wear, suits, ties, shirts. I liked the job, so I stuck around for 30 years until the owner died and the merchandise was taken away by the legions of unpaid creditors. Needless to say, I didn’t get a pension. But while I was there I made enough to have a very modest living and I could bowl my brains out.

I learned a lot at the men’s shop. I learned how to dress nice, the different fabrics, ties, everything about men’s clothing. When I first started working there, my boss gave me a pamphlet to read, called “How Clothing Symbolically Defines a Civilization”. It explained the psychology behind the design of men’s clothes. Like the businessman, who needs a conservative suit; the actor needs something sporty and stylish with a fun tie; the politician needs a power suit, not too conservative, power without looking too expensive; a banker needs a very conservative power suit, with a tie that jumps out and whispers in your ear “trust me”! Something for everyone, even clowns and their hip-hop imitators.

I Never Had Enough Food

After I retired, my small savings went quickly. The landlord took everything. I never had enough food. I started to obsess about food. There was no money for anything else, no more bowling, no more eating out, no dating, just trying to get some cheap food, which was usually junk stuff on sale somewhere. I got to the point of putting food purchases on my credit card, then I got behind in my payments and they tagged a high interest rate on me. Then they canceled the card and sent me to collection. This meant if I left the apartment for cheaper diggs I wouldn’t be able to get another one because of bad credit. Things escalated. I was dreaming about food, waking up with night sweats at 4 am. I dreamed I had become like one of the millions of starving people of Africa, like a skinny starving kid with my face on his body. But I had actually gained a lot of weight. Although my fear was starvation, it drove me to eat and eat. I didn’t have any money to go anywhere, so I just sat on the couch watching tv, drooling over the food commercials, and eating junk because it was cheap. I had turned into a sickly fat slob, riddled with fear – fear of when the next rent increase was hitting, fear of going hungry, fear of life itself.

I still had my old computer, and would send out a few emails, but I mainly used it to look for food coupons and market ads. I somehow stumbled on your gypsy cool website. At first, I didn’t pay much attention, I actually laughed out loud that there would be a website for someone living in a vehicle. What a joke, I thought. Then one morning at 4 am I woke up with the usual anxiety, sweating like a pig, my heart racing. I was at the end of my rope. What the hell was I going to do?

I remembered your website. Could living in a vehicle solve my problems? I somehow knew that I was finished at the apartment. I was done. Ready to take the pipe as they say. Life was no fun, no joy, I was miserable. I went back to the gypsy cool site, I started reading everything on it. I got out a notebook, and for the next week I made notes from your website and a few others that were similar. I was desperate, but reading about others in the same boat started to give me courage. I learned there are tens of thousands of people in America living in vehicles. Yeah, in some spots it’s illegal. So what? How “legal” was it for the stinking bankers to steal all the wealth of the country? Besides, the West was settled by people who lived in vehicles: COVERED WAGONS. Remember them?

I Decide To Go Stealth

I followed all your advice. Once I had made my decision it was full steam ahead. I gave notice to the landlord. I sold my car and bought a used van for stealth living. I put in carpet that I got used for almost nothing, then put down a pad and bedding. I got it fixed up like a mini RV. I rented a cheap storage unit and moved my dresser and some bookcases and my computer into it. I plan to get a laptop soon, but amazingly the storage unit has power, but no internet. I fixed up my unit like a mini apartment, since I have power I can use a hot plate and a small toaster oven. I picked up a small refrigerator and plugged it in, I’m just hoping they don’t catch on or care about that. Most of my clothes are in the storage unit, I found a couple of large cardboard boxes that had held water heaters and I rigged up a pole inside to hang suits and slacks.

Your articles mentioned a health club, so I joined one. I go there every couple of days for a shower. And since I’m there, a sauna and some exercise. Your advice about food was great. I signed up at the local senior center. They serve a hot lunch every day of the week for $2. It’s a nutrition deal, low calorie meals. So in the last 7 months, since I moved out of the apartment and started living in the van and eating at the center and exercising at the health club, I’ve lost a lot of weight. I look a lot better and I feel a lot better.

My budget is simple, no more rent or electricity. Only gas and occasional service for the van, which I had with the car anyway. So my Social Security check is almost all bottom line. My lunches at the senior center run $40-50 per month, the storage unit is $150, the health club is $40. I had a lot left over and I realized that I could easily get back to bowling! A wave of emotion ran over me, I literally started to cry. Years of my precious life had gone by. Now I could bowl again. I can’t describe my happiness about that, I know it must sound stupid, with all the things going on in the world, but there it is.

Most lanes charge by the game or by the hour. I could bowl for an hour a day for $15 bucks, meaning I could bowl almost every day, even on my s.s., and still be able to eat, go to a Dennys or a Sizzler once in a while. You get the idea. My life has totally changed. The sounds in the bowling alley, the balls skidding down the alley, crashing into the pins, the low murmur of the bowlers, the smell of popcorn. And then there’s the sports bar. A big-screen TV set to watch the games. I can duck in there on a hot day for a beer and watch baseball for hours. I thought life couldn’t be better. But it got even better.

I Live In A Bowling Alley

I was checking out bowling lanes all around the L.A. Area. Many have deals on certain days, so I travel around to different alleys, I now have kind of a “bowling route”. I got noticed by people and started getting some “students”, people who wanted to improve their skills, so now I’m making a little “geeda” on the side. I got friendly with some of the managers, and a couple of them let me park the van all night, so I’m off the street and snuggled up to the wall of one of the alleys. I’m living on the property, having fun, making extra dough, no more rent sweat, eating regular. Life’s so good I could squeal. Thank you gypsy cool for making my life fulfilling again!

Benny The Bowler (Once Again!)

 

Food Circles and Food Meet-Ups

Aside

Why You Need To Organize a Food Circle Now

About a year ago, when it was evident that more and more people are becoming either homeless or “financially challenged”, some of my friends started to seriously worry about having enough to eat.  Many of us were going through times when there was just no money to buy food.  Constant hunger blinds you to a lot of other things, and the human body needs to eat.  Living in a vehicle makes it harder to eat at all, much less eat healthy.  If you have some money left over from your job, or if you have an income that is at least modest, you can eat at restaurants every day.  However, many now do not have that much money – it gets expensive to do that.  If you are living in an RV you at least have a refrigerator and cooking facilities.  If you are in a van or car it gets tougher to prepare meals.

There’s things you can do when you are in a car or van to help on this, but it is another subject for another post, and I welcome reader comments on your experiences.  This post is about creating what we call a “Food Circle” or Food Meet-Up.  When the realization hit that food was becoming a problem, we started to exchange information about where to get cheap meals, places to get free food, where to “dumpster dive” for food, and other topics.  The information led to us getting food and then distributing it (for free of course) to each other and to other needy folks.  Now a part of our lives has become constant searching for food solutions, the first of which is GETTING the food.

Talk to a few of your friends about this and form a mini food “co-op”.  Find out where to get free food.  Each person gets a bag or two.  Markets and market dumpsters are good for fresh stuff. I will have more detailed posts on places to get food, but now GET ORGANIZED.  I don’t mean elect presidents and secretaries, this is not the film club.  Get a few of your friends and agree to get food for free (or cheap) and share it.  Meet at least once a week.  Give your excess to others who are unable to physically participate.  Once you start looking for food you will find it, but believe me, with friends helping friends it is much easier.  10 -20 people is a good number for a Food Circle.  Everyone goes to different places and gets food.  At the weekly Food meet up you share it.  This will give you a new attitude on the real meaning of life and friendship.  There is nothing better that sharing food and love with your friends, and then with others you don’t even know.  You can even have a food “picnic” once a month, where your group goes to the park and have a fun pot-luck food festival.

In some parts of the cities the problem of hunger is really overwhelming.  You can’t do it all, but you can start with one Food Circle and help your friends.  Meet up now, and get started in a meaningful way.  Urge others to do the same.  When this first started, some of us were really embarrassed that things had gotten so bad that food was such a problem.  The truth is that the economy is not good and getting worse.  The VALUE of your dollar is going down, the more the banks print money, the more the money is worth less.  It’s called inflation.  Think back to 1960 (if you are old enough and still have some memory cells).  A gallon of gas was 25 cents.  A pack of cigarettes was 25 cents.  A cup of coffee was 5 cents or 10 cents, the same with a coke.  A paperback book was 25 – 35 cents, comics were 10 – 15 cents.  Are you starting to get the picture?  You could rent an apartment in L.A. for $50 bucks a month.  How much are all these things now?  Everything has gone up 10 to 15 times since 1960.  Except of course, YOUR WAGES, if you even have a job.  Because of inflation, the minimum wage should be around $30 an hour, just to keep even with 1960.

When the government tells you that there isn’t much inflation, they are lying.  They don’t count food, rent and gasolene, some of the most important things in your life.  Now you can clearly see the seriousness of our situation.  Don’t feel embarrassed about it, it’s a crushing fact.  Now all we can do is to help each other out of this.  Solutions are there for us.  We are thinking about a new slogan:  “Starve a banker, feed a Senior”.

Future posts will cover:

Where to get Free food

Where to get cheap food.  Much help is around for Seniors especially.

How to prepare food in your car or van.

 

Jan 19

More on Free or Cheap Food

We have also found that many cities, especially the big cities like Los Angeles, have many free food centers, use the internet to find them.  Remember, YOU ARE NOW A HUNTER-GATHERER, you must devote some of your time to “hunting up” some food.

And don’t forget the local “Farmers Markets” in your area.  Food is cheap, lots of good veggies and fruit.  You can walk around munching on “samples”.  At the end of the day the farmers will often give away what is left, for free or cheap, because they have to get rid of it before it spoils.  I have bought a lug of tomatoes, for instance, for $1.  Meet up with other gypsies and SHARE the food you have foraged. 

Dumpster diving is also fun.  I have never met a dumpster I didn’t like!  Look behind markets, drug stores, bakeries, etc.  You will be amazed at all the good food that is thrown out every day!  Because some asshole sued some of the fast food chains, many lock their dumpsters at night.  If you find a nice one that is open you can get meals for many people. Remember:  the chicken or burgers cannot be kept until the next day.  Anything left is thrown out.  Every Starbucks for instance, has to get rid of “expired” packaged food when the expiration date comes up.  If you can get to the unlocked bin you can eat for a week.  The so-called “expired” food is usually good for a few days, keep a cooler of ice available for storage.  My rule is that if it smells bad I don’t eat it. Err on the side of caution, if you puke it up blame yourself for being careless or stupid.

As my friend Blaine has said many times: The worst meal I ever had was delicious!  Enjoy your free food! Send us your comments!