From July, 2010

…lives are being changed before I’ve even gotten out of my pj’s and had my coffee

From Jennifer Arkins, Cobblestone Project Operating Team…

For me, Saturdays are usually spent enjoying the lazy days of summer.  For many in NWA, Saturdays are spent wondering where their next meal will come from, where they might enjoy a respite from the heat, burdened with the reality of poverty.  So, this Saturday, I had the priviledge of visiting some people in our area who are working towards a community without need.

In the early hours of Saturday morning our Gathering and Distribution team collect produce (much grown on our Farm), and distribute to local shelters, agencies,  our farmers market booth, and soup kitchens.  This team provides healthy foods to those who need it most. At the shelters and agencies this produce is prepared for clients in need.
When our Farm produce is delivered to the Farmers Market, some of it is sold (the income raised supports our cost to plant).  However, not all produce is sold.  This spring, we were able to partner with a local school, providing gift cards to children who are at risk for hunger.  These gift cards may be redeemed weekly for free fresh produce. While I visited our booth, I was blessed with the opportunity to see a mom and her two children, redeem her gift card for a free bag of fresh tomatos, potatoes, peppers, and such.  The mom was thankful for the nutritious produce, in a time when food is hard to come by.
After leaving the Farmers Market, I stopped by our Saturday Cafe at the Samaritan Community Center.  I am so glad that I did. The kitchen crew was busy slicing up tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes,strawberries and bananas from that mornings distribution.  Our wonderful chefs then prepared shrimp and lobster poboy sandwiches, potato soup, and fruit salad to serve to our clients that day.
I had the opportunity to grab a few minutes with Mark Poole and hear his story about why he is serving at the Samaritan Community Center.
As you can see I was lucky to get to share the delicious meal with some great people.
I visited with my people greeter that I see weekly at Wal-Mart and I visited with two moms and their children whom I have known for months from Laundry Love.  My son got some great book recomendations from two new friends from Rogers.  The most amazing part was seeing a client from Samartian Community Center come early, so that he could help prepare and set up for the other clients, before enjoying a bite himself.  It was truly this small community coming together.
I left a little overwhelmed with the fact that all this had happened before noon. That lives are being changed on Saturdays, before I’ve even gotten out of my pj’s and had my coffee.

If you would like to learn more about any of the initiatives listed above, please visit the Cobblestone Project Initiative Overview page for more information on how to help.

Tyson Foods Hunger Relief helping Cobblestone Project Gathering & Distribution Efforts

We are happy to announce that Tyson Foods has begun partnering with the Gathering & Distribution efforts of the Cobblestone Project.  This food is picked up and then directly distributed to food pantries & shelters across Northwest Arkansas as well being added to the efforts of The Garden initiative.

This is so important because the protien sources that Tyson Foods adds is vital to ensuring that healthy meals can be offered to those facing hunger and food insecurity in Northwest Arkansas.  In a Washington Post story titled “Poverty Drains Nutrition From Family Diet“, Sharon Kirkpatrick in the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto was quoted

“Over the long term, [food insecurity] could be expected to precipitate and complicate diet-related chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease”

We are especially thankful to Gary Hamm and Penny Moncrief for all of their work to make this happen.  Tyson Foods Hunger Relief efforts are fulfilling a vital need in our community & are a excited to be a part of their important work.

This could not happen without the efforts of the Gathering & Distribution team who over the past year have formed a network of volunteers and connection points that have served over 22 nonproft organizations in Northwest Arkansas.  While their efforts are sometimes not as visible, their impact is significant.

We are honored to be a small part of the larger effort of so many in our community to be a source of hope and relief to those in need.

Additional resources & how you can help…

Mark Horvath, Founder, returning to NW Arkansas July 30th & 31st


It has been one year since the 1,287 Homelessness Awareness Rally, and much has been accomplished.

On Saturday July 31st, Mark Horvath returns to NW Arkansas as a part of the Road Trip USA to share how homelessness is changing, the accomplishments that have been made and the needs that still exist.

You are invited to come and be a part of continuing the work to end homelessness in NW Arkansas.

On Saturday, July 31st, Mark will be speaking at the UA Global Campus on the Square in Fayetteville (2 East Center Street).  All are welcome to this free event.  There will be other opportunities to meet and interact with Mark that will be announced over the coming weeks as final plans are made.

In June 2009, Mark Horvath, founder of visited NW Arkansas on his US Road Trip to share his journey from homeless to Homeless Advocate and share the true face of homelessness in the US.

Follow Mark Horvath on his Road Trip via Twitter by following @InvisiblePeople or @HardlyNormal.

For more background information, videos & pictures of the 2009 1,287 Stand Up & Be Counted Homelessness Awareness Rally, please visit the 1,287 webpage.

a night of community found in a laundromat in Rogers

We asked Adam & Stephanie to share their experience at Laundry Love Rogers this month.  As you can see from their time there Laundry Love continues to be a place where compassion becomes the norm & unconditional grace is offered.

Rogers Laundry Love Project proved to be another impactful night in July.  The place was teaming with children from many families.  Many familiar faces, and a few new ones too.

Melissa came for the first time, after hearing about LLP while having lunch with her family at the Samaritan House Community Center.  She and her husband and three children just moved here from Missouri.  They are struggling financially, and when they heard about Laundry Love, she was excited for clean clothes for her family of five.  She asked about how she could “pay back” the kindness, and I was able to share about Cobblestone Project and the volunteer opportunities all over the community for her to get plugged into.  She said she was going to head to the library and use their computer to check out the website.

There were some other new faces, a single Mom, Tonya, was there with her daughter, and her friend, Kendra.  They were uncertain at first what the “catch” was to the gift of clean clothes, but once they were assured it was a free offering, they were able to enjoy the meal provided and meet some of the others there.  Her daughter enjoyed meeting the other kids and participating in the coloring and nail painting in bright colors!

It is always great to see the familiar faces that return each month and continue the conversations with them.  New relationships are forming, and others are developing.  Another night of community lived out in Rogers.

Yes, Laundry is the theme, but it’s not about the laundry.  We are so thankful for all the people that continue to sacrifice their time and resources to make Laundry Love a reality.

For more information on how you can be a part of Laundry Love, please visit the Laundry Love initiative webpage.

Laundry Love is hosted by Cobblestone Project here in NW Arkansas, but it is the creation of Just One and we are thankful for their friendship and support.