On July 24th, 2016, thousands of people gathered from across the nation to come together and March for Renewable Clean Energy in Philadelphia, Massachusetts. As a constituent of Connecticut, I rode for about 2 hours on a bus of people with the same intentions to complete our Earthly duty. You see, the main goal of this match is to ban Hydrolic fracturing, otherwise known as fracking. This is a method oil companies are using to extract an amassment of oil by drilling a hole in the ground and pumping chemicals like nitrogen and methane at very high pressures down into it which then causes the ground to crack, where the oil then detaches itself and spills out into the hole that was created. Companies like BP and Exon have already taken advantage of Obama’s green light for fracking and thousands of acres across the country are being auctioned and leased to the highest bidder(aka big corporations).

Not only is this an obvious rape of Mother Earth but fracking has led to permanent river contamination, earthquakes, and air pollution to name a few “side effects”. One of the more well-known affected towns is Flint, Michigan where more than a hundred families running water, both sink and shower have been jetting out methane for months. Where some residents noticed right away, others weren’t so lucky. Now after drinking and showering in water contaminated with toxins, residents have become chronicly ill with migraines, skin rashes, and an abundant water supply that has been around for generations has now come to an end. While some may argue that their rivers were already being trashed on, this poses no excuse for the irreversible damage caused by companies like BP, Exon, Encana and others who continue to damage age old wells that have existed for decades.

“We realized that it didn’t matter if we were fighting against something if we weren’t fighting for something.”

This couple of beautiful people brought tears to my eyes when they told me of their revolutionizing journey. Marlise( at least I hope, to the left) told me how after fighting to ban fracking for the past 6 years, her and her husband came around their kitchen table, looked at each other and decided that they needed something more to be done. “We sat there and thought, okay, how are we going to get 40 homes to switch to solar power?” Now, they have helped over a hundred homes convert to clean solar power! Slowly but surely she began convincing neighbors and friends to switch and eventually they were contacting her!

People like “Marlise” and her husband remind me that there is more good to be done than bad and all it takes is a simple thought.

 

 

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The Continuous Supper

A virus is streaming through America. Not Zika, not Ebola, but Hunger; a vague word for a sensation that weakens our systems, decreases attentiveness, and BEWARE: snickers may not help! So far, studies have showed more than 4 million Americans face hunger. But how?

How not…

The debate about affordable college continues, unsettled. One thing Shannon McAvoy confirmed, “It is not just college that is expensive, it is the total cost of college including the cost of living.” McAvoy is a VISTA** volunteer who oversees the Norwalk Community College Food Pantry Program where students and volunteers come together to supply each other and families of the area with basic grocery necessities.

The walls are lined with fresh produce and preserved goods from sponsors like Costco, Whole Foods, and local individuals.  The fresh foods as well as canned, non-perishable items are then distributed through The Pantry, where it is only priced at be grateful.

 

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A small quarter size classroom is transformed into a meal haven where Shannon organizes the freshly dropped goods.
A student who receives financial aid may be covered with their school expenses, yet a perspective that is often overlooked is the cost of actually living. There is rent, transportation, and most importantly, food!

*According to Feeding America, in 2014, 46.7 million United States residents were living in poverty. However, in that same year, 48.1 million residents were living in food insecure households. The difference? A family may not be considered living in poverty but that doesn’t mean they have all the food necessities they may need to live a healthy, prosperous life. Choosing fast-food over freshly, cooked organics is now not only a result of personal choice, but a result of non-affordability for healthier options.

But I have an integrative belief that every disease can become re-eased. The cure: Awareness and action- two very powerful words when combined.

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Any goods that aren’t taken are brought to other organizations like Person-to-Person where the food distribution continues throughout the community
The NCC Food Pantry demonstrates just how valuable every member of a community is.  The food donor, the individuals working to make these distributions possible, and the well over 200 families that have been receiving this blessing.

We accept stress because we consider it to be “normal” even healthy to a certain degree, but what about peace of mind? With this program in place, families and students can worry less about trying to survive, and focus more on trying to thrive.

Thank you Norwalk Community College the Food Pantry, and to every individual who utilizes their existence.

For more information about The Food Pantry, what they do and how to help, contact: thepantry@norwalk.edu or call 203.857.7265.

 

*Feeding America is a national organization that feeds millions of Americans through their networking of food banks and distribution localities.

**VISTA stands for Volunteers in Service to America an organization created in 1965 to help combat poverty. Considered to be a branch of AmeriCorps