It’s been an incredible week at The Farm with almost too much to capture, but here’s a quick look at everything that took place over past couple of weeks.
Gary’s Weekly Update
We are truly thankful for all of the people who serve on behalf of their company or organization during the week. This week we had the pleasure of hosting…
Friends from Walmart Finance FPMO
Together they planted over 200 tomatoes & ensured that we’ll have a steady harvest of tomato plants over the summer. It is so encouraging to participate with such a great group of people who embody their company’s dedication to supporting local agriculture and hunger relief.
Special thanks to Westwood Gardens in Fayetteville who donated the 200 tomato plants. These were tomato plants that they had extra inventory of and would have had to throw away because majority of tomato plants have already been planted for the year. However, we were able to take them and use them at The Farm. Westwood Gardens has been such a friend to The Farm this season and we are truly thankful.
Fellowship Bible Church of NW Arkansas Collegiate Ministiry
We were also thankful to have college students from Fellowship Bible Church of NW Arkansas this week as they were able to help out with a lot of maintenance activities to ensure the plants are able flourish. Fellowship and their students have been an incredible source of inspiration and help for this initiative. It’s great to have their help and we could not accomplish all of this without them.
On Friday, we officially planted out 100th row! This is an incredible accomplishment and a testament to the hard work by so many in our community. On to the next 100 rows!
The Harvest is really starting to come in and the time of the year when all of the hard work by so many begins to truly bear fruit. Total harvest for the week came in at 440 lbs bringing our season to date harvest totals to 960 lbs in only 4 weeks!
Folks, that’s a lot of food in 4 weeks! Compare that to last year’s total harvest of approximately 5,000 lbs. In four weeks we are at 20% of last year’s total harvest & this is just from the spring crop. Just wait until we start harvesting the potatoes and the summer harvest comes in. So, despite a tough start to the season, we are catching back up quickly.
We are thankful to everyone that comes out to help harvest, and this week we say an extra thanks to Aaron & Christy Wilson who seem to be out every week to lend a hand! Thankful for hearts like these!
Saturday Service Day…
Saturday’s service day had an amazing turn of out of volunteers to include families and members of Work Matter’s Engage!
We also had a few minutes to catch up with Aaron & Christy Wilson again at the Bentonville Farmer’s Market to pick up their weekly lug.
Don’t miss some of the pictures from this week…
Hunger Relief Distribution
We also had an opportunity to caught up with Brad Melton who is leading The Cafe initiative every Saturday at the Samaritan Community Center. In this quick exchange, food harvested from The Farm on Friday is taken to the Samaritan Community Center where it will supplement the food used for meals and distribution to those in our community at risk for hunger insecurity.
How to get get involved over next few weeks…
If you would like to volunteer to spend some time at The Farm (and now’s the time of year we could really use it), please visit our “Volunteer” page for a list of opportunities to serve. However, at this time of year, Gary and the team are at The Farm almost every day, so if you’d like to come out during the week, shoot us a note at Farm@CobblestoneProject.org and we’ll make sure we can accommodate.
The 2011 season for The Farm is underway!
It is hard to believe the opportunities that have presented themselves over the past few months and we are truly excited about what is ahead.
We are excited to announce that the Cobblestone Project Farm is moving to Fayetteville. New Heights Church in Fayetteville has graciously donated the use of 10 acres of their land in West Fayetteville to be the new home of the farm.
This move will greatly expand the scope of The Farm to include: expanded food production capacity, work share programs to create commerce & jobs, agricultural education partnerships & a large increas
e in the ability to serve the under-resourced all over NW Arkansas. We are extremely grateful to the people of New Heights Church for their vision. We could not dream this big without your vision, and we are looking forward to this new partnership.
There will be a Farm volunteer information & orientation luncheon on Saturday, February 19th from 10 am to 12 pm in Fayetteville (lunch will be provided). Please register to attend (location information on Volunteer Hub).
Opportunities to volunteer at The Farm will start in March, and those dates will be available soon. We would ask that you consider attending on Feb 19th as it will provide a broad overview of production plans and volunteer roles.
This past year we were incredible blessed by a member of the community who graciously helped start the D.C. initiative. As a result, the back of house engine that is needed to support many of the Cobblestone Project initiatives was able to drive so many things behind the scenes. This includes a home for 3 Bags in
2 Day, support for the 5 Our Step families that were placed in homes this past year, Laundry Love prep & staging as well as some of our Green Rooms and gatherings. As a result of the DC, we have seen a new level of capabilities and effectiveness throughout all of our initiatives.
So, in order to fully support the continued development of the various initiatives, the DC will be following the Farm to Fayetteville. It will be located very close to the Farm site and be able to serve in a new capacity of processing the harvest, cold storage, etc.
The new D.C. will take a lot of effort to get it up to the level we need to support our requirements, so there are some electrical, plumbing and cleaning needs if any groups are able to help. Given a little elbow grease, the DC will be a perfect new home.
If you would like to help with bringing the D.C. up to speed, please send an email to DC@cobblestoneproject.org or watch the Volunteer Hub for staged volunteer days.
!dea Camp: Orphan Care
We are pleased to be a supporting organization bringing The Idea Camp to Northwest Arkansas.
The Idea Camp is a collaborative movement of idea-makers who facilitate hybrid conferences and develop resources for people who desire to move ideas towards implementation. Facilitated by a growing collective of innovative thinkers and practitioners from numerous disciplines, participants gather around topics of interest to encourage & inspire one another, share practical wisdom from the field, and develop viable networks for idea-making.
The upcoming Idea Camp (Feb 25th & 26th in NW Arkansas) is focusing on the subject of Orphan Care. It will facilitate fresh, honest and transformative conversations with leading thinkers and practitioners on topics including US & International care, community development, trafficking of orphans, adoption, foster care, child sponsorship, HIV/AIDS, special needs, cross-cultural & religious dynamics to care, and many more. The desire is to live life as God’s loving expressions of grace and hope to our world through tangible acts of care for orphans.
There will be balance conversation between Int
ernationl & US needs for orphans, foster care, mentoring and preventive care. In fact, many local NW Arkansas organizations will be presenting include 99 Balloon, The C.A.L.L, NW Arkansas Women’s Shelter, Keypoint Church, Titus Task, Potter’s House, Central United Methodist Church, Cobblestone Project and Mike & Susan Duke will be sharing their experience as Child Advocates.
For more information, and to register, visit https://www.theideacamp.com/.
Thank you to everyone that gives unceasingly to serve our community. You are the heroes & we could not be more grateful to live in a community like NW Arkansas
The Cobblestone Project
“Aggressively Pursuing a Community Without Need”
click document icon to download a printable version of the Cobblestone Project January 2011 Update
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.
- To learn more about Tyson Foods Hunger Relief work, please visit their Hunger Relief website (http://hungerrelief.tyson.com/) and follow their twitter updates at http://twitter.com/TysonFoods
- If you would like to help in these efforts, there are many opportunities to serve and you can learn more on the Gathering & Distribution webpage or sign up to volunteer on the Cobblestone Project Volunteer Hub.
- To learn more about Hunger in the US, visit Tyson Foods Hunger Relief “About Hunger” webpage (http://hungerrelief.tyson.com/About.aspx)
It’s been a true pleasure to get to know Joshua Segraves. His passion for making a difference in the world is incredible, so when he called two weeks ago we couldn’t let this story go without being told.
This story is about how people can make a difference in the world around them by just taking that first step.
So, we asked Joshua to tell the story in his own words. Enjoy…it’s incredible.
From Joshua Segraves…
Our team had recently formed a committee entitled “meaningful work”, to which I was assigned. Just what is meaningful work, anyway? We discussed and came up with a whole list of things that revolved around the individual being appreciated by the company: evaluations, more money, work / life balance, etc. As we discussed, the conversation slowly moved from being about the individual to the individual being a part of something bigger than himself: protecting the environment, volunteering, providing for those in need.
Of course, we all had day jobs. How could we serve our community in a meaningful way without detracting from our work? We needed something that had a large impact, but would not require a huge time commitment from our team.
We had recently had a bitter cold snap in the area. It was UNBELIVEABLY cold even when completely bundled up. How cold would it be if we didn’t have the resources to purchase appropriate clothing to protect us from the cold? How many people in our community weren’t able to meet the basic need of staying warm in the winter? We have a multiple fundraisers at Wal-Mart, but why wasn’t this need specifically addressed? Our team decided that we would try to meet the need.
It turned out to be incredibly easy to set up. We acquired large boxes from our Facilities department to deposit the coats, decorated the boxes, and posted signs through out the building. The idea was formed on a Tuesday, and we had boxes out the following Monday.
The next two weeks were Christmas and New Years. In spite of this, we were able to collect 85 coats. We figured that was pretty good since so many people were out of the office. The week after New Years, we collected an additional 100+ coats by Tuesday. We were running out of space to store them so we arranged to drop off the 180+ coats collected so far at Samaritan House.
Because of the large influx of coats during the week after New Years, we decided to extend the coat drive for one more week. We were able to collect an additional 159 coats for a grand total of 339 coats! The second half of coats were delivered to the Cobblestone Project, where they will be given to Seven Hills Homeless Shelter as well as distributed to needy families with their Laundry Love initiative. They will be doing laundry for some of the area’s underprivileged and will be distributing the coats on a need basis.
Just an idea, cardboard box, poster board, signs and willing hearts, and 339 coats later, a significant impact to our community. If you get inspiration for a project such as this, ACT ON IT. It is incredible to get to be a part of God’s work at work.
ISD Sam’s Project Mgmt Team
This is the first half of the story because these coats are on schedule to start being delivered at the Fayetteville Laundry Love Project on Friday, February 6th. So, check back for the rest of the story.
Huge thank you to all the Walmart & Sam’s associates who donated coats! Your generosity is incredible and the Cobblestone Project is humbled to be entrusted to help distribute these coats to those in need.
More to come…
Huge thank you to Melanie Allen from Disney Consumer Products for helping to coordinate the donation of some children’s and adults sleeping bags for the Cobblestone Project to distribute.
First of all, why are sleeping bags so valuable? There are so many ways that they are used…
1. Seven Hills Homeless Shelter can distribute them at their day center for the homeless and/or near homeless.
2. Sleeping bags can be used by the numerous Women’s and Children’s Shelters in NW Arkansas to replace linens or sent home with someone once they leave the shelter.
3. What little girls doesn’t want a Disney Princess sleeping bag? How much is that smile worth when they receive it? Especially when they may be victims of abuse or have recently lost their home. It’s amazing to see the smiles and excitement when one is unrolled by a child.
Second, the adult sleeping bags will go to Seven Hills Homeless Shelter and remaining children’s sleeping bags to Restoration Village.
Thanks for trusting us to make sure that these sleeping bags make their way to a place where they are needed most.
It’s good to know that those that receive them not only get a sleeping bag, but they receive one already filled with love.
An article in the Benton County Daily Record on Dec 26th (http://nwanews.com/bcdr/News/69234/), demonstrates the tremendous response that our communities are capable of when it comes to making a difference against hunger.
However, the size of the need continues to be larger than the size of the response. Without any actions, the expectation is that local shelters and food banks will begin to experience shortages the beginning of February.
Good Neighbor Food Drives are one way that each community can pull together to help cover this expected shortage and ensure that there is enough food for all of our neighbors.
For more information about Good Neighbor Food Drives, visit website to see if one is planned for your neighborhood. If there is not one scheduled, would you consider coordinating one in your neighborhood?
Mike receives a call from Mark Schatzman & Rodney Holmstrom that a couple is wanting to donate their store’s remaining inventory of clothes, shoes, accessories, toys, etc., and they were wanting to know if anyone could help distribute to some local organizations. Of course, we jumped at the opportunity to be a part of such an incredible story. Little did we know how amazed and overwhelmed we would be.
We start scrabbling to coordinate the pick-up and realize we’re short on vehicles that can handle this much.
10:00 am – Arrive in Mulberry and meet Gary and Leigh Ann who are donating the clothes. Wonderful people with an amazing heart to help those who are in need. I wish we could have stayed there with them all day.
1:30 pm – Arrive back in NW Arkansas and now we need some storage because there was a lot more than we had expected. Thanks to Stor-Mart for letting us rent a quick place at the last minuted. Thanks to Michelle Prestwood and Orion Edens for helping us unload.
3:00 pm – Have to finish for the day…we’re exhausted!
We need some more help to inventory, sort and distribute the clothing donation! Mark Schatzman again helps us with connecting us with some great people who also want to help (David and Jean Henderson)
We were also able to send out a message to our Cobblestone Project group on Facebook.com and Ryan & Julie Rusch were able to jump on board.
8:30 – Time to sort! Thanks again to Stor-Mart for letting us spread out!
Here’s what we did. We created 1 “outfit” out of 1 top and 1 bottom and then took 5 “outfits” to create a “set”. Each “set” was designed to be given to one person.
Once we were done, we had 170 “sets”! That’s over 800 outfits! Know what’s better than that? It was only the summer clothes. We didn’t have time to do the winter clothes. More fun to come.
While we were sorting, someone was able to stop by and pick-up clothes, shoes, and some household stuff for the single mom and son who lost everything in a fire a few weeks ago (this was a posted “Flash” and the needs are being taken care of).
11:00 – We’re ready to start distributing.
1st Stop – Benton County Women’s Shelter
3rd Stop – Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter
We had the perfect number of volunteers to help us inventory, sort and distribute the clothes.
Thanks to everyone who was involved through this process. In total we estimate there were approx. 200 people that were served or took part in this event. All because of the incredible heart of Gary and Leigh Ann. They are our heroes!
We still need to inventory, sort and distribute all of the winter clothes, so let us know if you’d like to help and we’ll have another incredible day in the not too distant future.
Gary and Leigh Ann, Mark Schatzman, Rodney Holmstrom, Gabe & Michelle Rodriguez, Topher & Brittney Moore, Pat Moore, Gregg & Kathy Rusch, Jim & Michelle Prestwood, Ryan & Julie Rusch, Orion Edens, Derek & Renee Ceola, Jacob & Emily Kaler (Andrew, Sara and Katie), David & Jean Henderson, Mike & Corrie Rusch, John Michael Rusch, Lindsey & Associates, Melanie Allen via Disney Consumer Products, Stor-Mart (Please forgive me if I’ve missed anyone).