Hello, fellow hood-yums!
Five years ago my daughters and I started Food in the Hood
(FitH for short) -
which were weekly food events
, usually in the front yard, to raise money for
. These morphed into small
biweekly dinner parties
and then bimonthly
fetes for one to two-dozen people. They've supported charities on every continent
(if you know an NGO for oppressed penguins, let me know.) Click on any of the above links to see what you've missed.
Over the last couple years I've paused FitH to work on my book, but on Sunday, May 25th at 7:00, I'm coming out of retirement, inspired by our neighbor Rusten's sister,
Suze Rutherford, who volunteers in the Peace Corps in Pankisi Gorge, a Muslim region of Georgia near the border with Chechnya. After dinner Rusten will be presenting a slideshow
to tell us more about the region.
Recently the women of Pankisi Gorge have organized a Women's Council to advise the all-male
Council of Elders on issues related to women, children, and families. They want the Council of Elders to hear the many voices of women in Pankisi, young and old, so that their
concerns are taken into account in council decisions. On a broader basis, they wanted their stories to be heard.
So Suze contacted award-winning Seattle filmmaker Patricia Boiko, who said she would donate her time and expertise to
make a documentary if they could raise the money for airfare
(about $5000.) Rusten set up the Pankisi Women's Stories website
to introduce the project. Through his Gleaning Stories, Gleaning Change non-profit, they were able to raise the funds for the director, writer and crew to come in June!
The women are enthusiastically preparing the stories to chronicle their
lives and hopes. In addition, it's allowed them to dream about what else they might do, like making solar dehydrators out of scrap materials to get through the long hard winters.
In a land of 90% unemployment, these dreams would have been unthinkable without outside support. Suze writes:
Amid the spectacular natural beauty of the Pankisi Gorge; among all the quick smiles and sudden humor and endless generosity of spirit; in spite of the incredible
bounty of the autumn harvest; nestled next to the dreams of children; lying just beneath the surface of a warm hello; carried on the winds between the notes of a
haunting polyphonic melody; momentarily illuminated by a thunderstorm's lightning flash; rarely talked about but omnipresent, lies the stark reality of relentless
poverty, crushing hardship, stinging prejudice, and the yearning for a better life.
Our local non-profit, IF, has agreed to partner with Gleaning Stories as a fiscal sponsor for worthwhile projects like these for which very modest contributions can make a
big difference. All of the money we raise, except IF's small administrative fee, will go straight to the Women's Council.