As some of you know, I'm busy in Southeast Ohio trying my hardest to walk the talk, including reaching out to my local neighbors in an effort to catalyze adaptive system building in light of peak oil, climate change and generalized system instability... but we also have severe and immediate needs to address in this area.
We are the canary in the mine shaft so to speak...knowledge deficits, food shortages, transportation challenges, inadequate housing, lack of public services, lack of access to preventive and medical care, etc. things are bad and getting worse, the time is now.
Wanna kick in a few pennies to help us address current needs while building a more robust, sustainable and resilient community in-line with Transition and our national emergency management systems?
Wanna see what it's like around here?
Southeast Ohio and one of our local food pantries were featured on NBC's Dateline series titled "Friends & Neighbors" last night; it is also on the web (you may need to point at the screen, then click on "full screen" at the lower right corner).
I've traveled the region as a home health nurse and feel the film depicts the situation here pretty well; although it would have been nice if it had addressed the educational and solution building efforts. It's bad but it's not just about disaster response/hand-outs.
I live on Broadwell Hill in Bern Township, Athens County (the poorest, highest minority township in the county, one of the poorest in Ohio). The Kilvert Community Center and food pantry serves Bern and Rome Township and is having an even harder time than the one shown on Dateline. We have fewer people involved and fewer funds, food orders are often placed with no idea where the money is going to come from to pay for it, requiring a tremendous amount of faith. Things are really shaking now given the stricter regional food pantry policies that have just been enacted. We have to figure out how we're going to redo the food storage areas and get volunteers to the required trainings.
I'm an unemployed nurse volunteering to do a variety of things at the Kilvert Community Center in a very wholistic manner, including the need for civic engagement, preventive screening, access to care and a wide-range of educational services (including reskilling) with sustainability and resilience in mind.
Like many areas, there is resistance to change and cultural patterns to overcome. We're taking things one step with little victories along the way, like instead of sending a huge dumpster to the landfill, we're now composting and using all the cardboard in a local worm farm effort.
But, we're also working on a Community Health and Civic Resilience Alliance that will serve as a prototype for other neighborhoods with a scalable, replicable inter-independent collaborative architecture reflective of transition principles and the National Disaster Response and Resilience Frameworks. We're also planning to implement an Everyday Democracy program on Resilience but could really use help given our lack of resources around here.
Given our situation in Southeast Ohio it is easy to forget that there are actually people in the world with surplus resources. But, I've been reminded and am now reaching out to you and others in an effort to open the doorway to the abundance so that we can better address our current needs in a sustainable fashion (social, economic, environmental) while also building robust, interconnected, systems on behalf of future generations and all life.
It has become apparent that I need to invest the time and energy into becoming a non-profit but in the meantime, The Kilvert Community Center is a non-profit and would welcome any donations you may want to contribute in an effort to play a part in solution building around here, while creating a template for other neighborhoods (especially rural communities facing similar challenges):
Kilvert Community Center
2120 McGraw Road
Stewart, Ohio 45778
"If we wait for government action, it will be too little, too late; if we act as individuals, it will be too little; but if we act as communities, it might just be enough, just in time."
Irene Flowers, 83 year old Matriarch and Executive Director for the Kilvert Community Center, and Bob Garbo, Retiring Exectutive Director with Athens-Hocking-Perry Community Action. (Note the stoves in the background - we need a commercial stove and a kitchen that can produce saleable goods and serve as a public health approved shelter station. Irene prepares a monthly meal but reports that an immediate need is for weekly meals with nutritional outreach and cooking/canning lessons. Irene is a member of the WIN people, white/indian/negro, and is a repository of "skills from the hills". She has been serving this community forever, including taking nursing related calls during the middle of the night. She is also a well-known quilt-maker, with roots that go back to the underground railroad tradition.
It has been an honor for me to be accepted and welcomed into the community; being able to work with the women while listening to the stories is a tremendous gift.