Setting The Example At The Nation’s Table And Beyond

How about we start Friday off with a little good news for a change?  See if you can keep from smiling after reading this:

"Ou[r] guests," Gibson said, "are people on the street, people usually look through them. We all see people walk by them. That’s why we call them guests — not clients because they are special. Mrs. Obama’s visit tells our guests they are not forgotten. That President Obama and Mrs. Obama care about their neighborhood and their neighbors who a lot of people don’t care about." 

"It’s tough being on the street. This says you are human," Gibson said. "They live on the street. There is danger at every turn. To have Mrs. Obama here says for a minute, we are all together. It will give people hope. They need hope. A lot are struggling with some really serious issues. For some of them, hope is what they cling to."

At 12:21 p.m., the rolling metal door to the service line rolled up. Behind the counter stood Mrs. Obama, in a guava pink sweater and plastic serving gloves, with serving spoon in hand.

The video is great, too – don’t miss it.  The White House released a transcript of Michelle Obama’s remarks to the guests at Miriam’s, which you can read in full here.

According to Paul West of the Baltimore Sun, who was yesterday’s pool reporter for the event:

The First Lady’s office arranged a White House-wide food drive that yielded almost eight cases of fresh fruit, delivered Wednesday evening, which should be enough to provide fruit for almost two weeks of meals, according to executive director Scott Schenkelberg, who introduced Mrs. Obama. 

At a time when that sort of example is desperately needed all across the country — much like Eleanor Roosevelt did in the 1930s – good for her.

Food banks across the country are experiencing unprecedented demand.  A lot of them are struggling to keep pace with the swiftly increasing requests for help, and are barely keeping donations and volunteer numbers above the desperate pace of need.

And the swingset for the girls out back? Love it. Given how much time our five-year-old likes to spend at the park?  As in pretty much any time she can drag me out the door?  If their girls are the same, it was a really good move. And I bet the Secret Service was applauding, too.  

Putting family and community service front and center?  Those are priorities I can cheer.

PS — If you are thinking about organizing a food drive in your community, work with your local food bank and take a page from these folks on how to get good donations. 

89 Responses to "Setting The Example At The Nation’s Table And Beyond"
Elliott | Friday March 6, 2009 06:03 am 1

What a wonderful role model she is. Wonderful to know she is actively supporting food banks.

Good Morning

Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 06:05 am 2
In response to Elliott @ 1

I just loved this story, and I thought we could use something cheery for a Friday morning. Great way to use her press pulpit for a greater good.

demi | Friday March 6, 2009 06:15 am 3

G’Morning. Good News indeed.
I’m passing on this update on the Family Promises project that my church is involved in. Our group has a board of directors in place. They have found a church willing to be the Host and a Temple which will provide the meals. They are expecting to serve the first families sometime in early summer.

Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 06:16 am 4

Also, i do hope this signals a shift to some emphasis on poverty in the coming months. We could use a full discussion and some serious action on a host of issues surrounding poverty in this country. It’s well past time…especially heading into summer, when kids won’t have the safety net of school lunch programs to lean on during the week to get at least two decent meals.

Millineryman | Friday March 6, 2009 06:18 am 5

Now that’s a great idea to work with a supermarket, be in the lobby and the balloons.

eCAHNomics | Friday March 6, 2009 06:19 am 6
In response to Christy Hardin Smith @ 4

I would characterize this as bittersweet news rather than good news. Good news would be if the U.S. didn’t need soup kitchens.

I do think Michelle will refocus the absolutely disgusting focus on greed back to those who really need help.

Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 06:20 am 7
In response to Millineryman @ 5

Isn’t that a fantastic idea — especially with the shopping list pre-printed and all? I thought that was a fantastic way to organize to maximize donation potential.

Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 06:21 am 8
In response to demi @ 3

That’s great, demi — thanks for sharing it!

Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 06:22 am 9
In response to eCAHNomics @ 6

I do think making the service portion of community involvement front and center is an excellent idea on her part. And if it serves to highlight deficiencies and get folks to change their behavior toward a greater good rather than a greater greed? So much the better.

CarolynU | Friday March 6, 2009 06:25 am 10

I admire her priorities too. Thanks for the uplifting post Christy.

Millineryman | Friday March 6, 2009 06:26 am 11
In response to Christy Hardin Smith @ 7

It so obvious and simple. People really do want to help, they need a little assistance to do so.

demi | Friday March 6, 2009 06:26 am 12
In response to Christy Hardin Smith @ 8

Besides providing shelter and food, this will provide the kids an address so they can go to school. We were talking about that issue a little while back here. Guess we know what I’ll be doing this summer. Music and drama with the kids. Whoo Hoo.

Marion in Savannah | Friday March 6, 2009 06:27 am 13

Good God — did anyone else read the comments to that? This was pretty typical:

Michelle gets those big upper arm muscles from pounding on her chest and swinging through the trees.

Posted by: 2xy4k9 | March 6, 2009 12:58 AM


oldnslow | Friday March 6, 2009 06:27 am 14

Thanks, Christy, for highlighting this widely overlooked story.

Good morning, hope you and yours are well.

mikeinohio | Friday March 6, 2009 06:28 am 15

Here’s a thought. Those of you who can, donate a portion (or all) of the additional monies you will be getting from Obama’s “Making Work Pay” tax cut and donate it to your local food bank.

If you are fortunate enough to not have a pressing personal need for the additional $20 or so a pay, think about donating it to help those who are going hungry.

Phoenix Woman | Friday March 6, 2009 06:28 am 16

Mrs. Williams did a very good job with her daughter, yes indeed.

selise | Friday March 6, 2009 06:29 am 17

i’m really glad to know about this – it serves as a necessary corrective to the ugly rants about losers and welfare queens and people in need generally. dignity belongs to all regardless of personal circumstances.

Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 06:29 am 18
In response to CarolynU @ 10

It’s been so many weeks of dreary economic news and frustrating this and that — I thought we could all use something a little more uplifting for a little change. I know I needed it.

One of the things I loved about this was watching the video and Michelle’s interactions with some of the guests at the soup kitchen. When I was practicing law, one of the things that always surprised me most was being thanked constantly by my clients when I was in private practice, and even by some of the people I was prosecuting — and even sending to jail — for treating them with respect and like they were human beings. A lot of those folks were genuinely shocked to be treated on an equal footing by me. It honestly never crossed my mind to do otherwise, even with the skanky folks — because that’s how I was raised.

You can see in her mannerisms and looking folks directly in the eye and such that Michelle was probably raised the same way, and how well the folks at the soup kitchen respond to it.

Phoenix Woman | Friday March 6, 2009 06:30 am 19

Marion, one thing about the Obamas is that they are drawing out the jerks like flies — drawing them out into the open, where they can be dealt with. The racists aren’t hiding behind their code words any more.

barbara | Friday March 6, 2009 06:31 am 20
In response to Christy Hardin Smith @ 2

Oh, Christy, thanks. Pretty much everything feels relatively hopeless lately. The Obamas really do represent hope. Anyone can be president (as we have discovered). But if the president doesn’t give a shit, it’s worthless. Michelle and Barack give a shit. Booyah!!

Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 06:31 am 21
In response to mikeinohio @ 15

Great idea. I know if you call our local food bank, they can tell you what it is they need most pretty quickly on any given day — it’s likely your local food banks could do the same if you want to make a donation.

Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 06:34 am 22
In response to Marion in Savannah @ 13

Honestly, I’ve pretty much skipped comments at the WaPo for a while now for that reason.

Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 06:35 am 23
In response to selise @ 17

It is a lovely public refutation of that, isn’t it? And especially for all the political types who court the religious right on the one hand and then refute the biblical teachings about being their brother’s keeper with their actions.

Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 06:35 am 24
In response to oldnslow @ 14

We are well, thanks — busy but well. What else is new? *g*

cbl2 | Friday March 6, 2009 06:36 am 25

Mornin’ Christy and Firedogs,

in case you’re hitting the grocery store this week end :D

Consensus: Most Needed Items

Meals in a can (stew, chili, soup)
Tuna / canned meat
Peanut butter
Canned foods with pop-top lids
Low sugar cereals
100% fruit juices in single serving boxes
Canned fruit packed in juice
Canned vegetables (low salt)
Please avoid donating items packaged in glass.

We request that you do not purchase bulk quantities of rice, flour or sugar for donation.

Don’t forget Baby Formula and Diapers ( no babyfood jars pls)

NMRon | Friday March 6, 2009 06:37 am 26

Oh jeez, not more evidence of Mrs. Obama being a decent human being. I’m afraid, despite all my attempts to the contrary, I’m really starting to like her. She’s earned more ‘political capital’ with me than all the rest of DC combined.

Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 06:38 am 27

Nice to find someone who actually lives her professed values, isn’t it? *g*

cbl2 | Friday March 6, 2009 06:40 am 28
In response to NMRon @ 26

Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 06:41 am 29
In response to cbl2 @ 25

The Peanut’s school does a quarterly food drive for our local food pantry and those items you mention are also the most requested ones here. They have good shelf life, which is great for the food bank in terms of storage. But it’s also good to call the food bank folks if you have a surplus of garden produce, for example, or some particular item and see if they can use or distribute it. Same with the local soup kitchen.

mardam | Friday March 6, 2009 06:41 am 30
In response to Elliott @ 1

Time to get onboard!
If I have time to read this blog, I must be doing well enough to donate something to a food bank.
I know we all feel the same way.

Mine will be at a FB in Frederick, MD on Saturday. Where will yours go?

barbara | Friday March 6, 2009 06:43 am 31

The Obamas are urging Americans to rise up, not to storm the Bastille (though there are days….) but to get out into the community and lend a pair of hands. I, for one, spend way too much time in this office, in thrall to my computer. And it appears the Obamas wouldn’t ask us to do anything they’re not willing to do themselves. How refreshing is THAT?

Robin Stelly | Friday March 6, 2009 06:43 am 32

I’m reading Joel Berg’s All You Can Eat: How Hungry is America, which is about the history of hunger and hunger prevention in America. It’s great. He’d make a great guest at the book salon.

Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 06:44 am 33
In response to Robin Stelly @ 32

Ooooh, will have to take a peek at that — thanks much for the rec!

Twain | Friday March 6, 2009 06:45 am 34

I hope that someone in DC is making long-term plans to help people who need food and shelter. It’s going to get much worse. NYT headline this morning “651,000 Jobs Reported Lost in February.” Don’t know how we can fix this fast but I’m so glad to know that Michelle is giving it her attention.

ThingsComeUndone | Friday March 6, 2009 06:46 am 35

Best First lady ever what were the other First Ladies pet causes? Michelle needs to keep doing this, talking to homeless people treating them with Respect as human beings. Michelle’s poll numbers might soon beat her husband’s.
This is what real PR geniuses come up with reality that means something not empty words, slogans and photo ops that are soon forgotten.
I think we have focused on FDR so much we forgot Eleanor I’m glad Michelle hasn’t.

ThingsComeUndone | Friday March 6, 2009 06:48 am 36
In response to Robin Stelly @ 32

At Late Late Nite we were talking about a bailout for the countries food banks.

Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 06:49 am 37
In response to ThingsComeUndone @ 35

Just speaking of recent First Ladies, but Hillary’s was children’s issues — which she’s worked on for years with Children’s Defense Fund and also women’s rights issues worldwide. For Laura Bush, it was literacy and libraries — she did a lot of reading to kids at schools around the district, actually. And she also did some women’s issues advocacy on trips overseas as well. That tends to be the First Lady portfolio, actually, the women’s issues question, although some push it more actively than others as a human rights and education question.

Can’t recall what Barbara Bush’s was. And there was Nancy Reagan’s “Say No To Drugs” campaign…

selise | Friday March 6, 2009 06:50 am 38

i love what she is doing here. really really love it.

but it’s also part of a marketing campaign to convince the public that the obamas feel their pain. it tells us nothing about how she really lives her life. that’s just a bridge too far.

i wouldn’t even say this if it wasn’t for the fact that while the public is mostly getting photo-ops and nice words, hundreds of billions of our dollars are being handed out without oversight to the banksters. (i watched the aig senate banking hearing yesterday and am still pissed off that senator bunning was much better than any of the Ds).

reality based community and all that….

ThingsComeUndone | Friday March 6, 2009 06:51 am 39
In response to Marion in Savannah @ 13

Bwahahaha! Say good by to the moderate voters next election GOPers.

greenwarrior | Friday March 6, 2009 06:52 am 40
In response to Christy Hardin Smith @ 7

brilliant (that’s from the last link in christy’s article). highly recommended reading and preparation for action.

Petrocelli | Friday March 6, 2009 06:52 am 41

G’Mornin’ Christy. I join you in hoping that Michelle Obama’s food drive will change people’s focus from the greater greed to the greater good. It is the only way that any material gains can be spiritually nourishing.

Besides giving to Food Banks, it is also a good idea to pay more attention to your friends and neighbors, who might need help but feel embarrassed to ask.

We’ve been giving food regularly to several friends who have fallen on hard times, under the guise of “Hey, taste what the kids & I made from scratch”

Charity begins at home, or right next door ;-)

barbara | Friday March 6, 2009 06:55 am 42

Barbara Bush’s issue was literacy also (funny, when you stop to think about her son). I worked at B. Dalton HQ during Poppy’s reign, and Bar stopped by for a visit. Bet you never thought you’d see the barbaras side by side in a photo. She was the one wearing pearls.

Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 06:56 am 43
In response to selise @ 38

I’d agree with you if it weren’t for the fact that the Obama’s were highly involved in community projects for years before he ever got involved in politics and then continued their work on them even after he got involved in the IL Senate and then ran for federal office.

See this in The Nation, this in Chicago Reader, this on Michelle from her former employer for starters.

selise | Friday March 6, 2009 06:56 am 44
In response to barbara @ 31

that’s just my point – that maybe the bastille needs a little storming too (no violence for me though). we are getting massively ripped off. first by the bush administration and it’s now continuing with the obama administration.

photo ops that tempt us to forget that set off all kinds of warning bells with me.

ThingsComeUndone | Friday March 6, 2009 06:57 am 45

The homeless are the most looked down upon they are the least of our brothers so Extra Points:)

and that which you do onto the least of my brothers is that which you do onto me


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 06:59 am 46
In response to barbara @ 42

I was thinking it was also literacy, but I thought I might be mistaken since it was Laura’s. Should have gone with my first instinct. *G*

greenwarrior | Friday March 6, 2009 06:59 am 47
In response to demi @ 3

the synagogue i belonged to in oregon when i lived there was a part of that. the kids in my religious school classes helped make and serve food for them and also came to play with the children who were there in the evenings. many people in the community got involved.

Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 07:01 am 48
In response to greenwarrior @ 40

Wasn’t it an awesome set of ideas? I loved it — great preparation. Am going to print it out and take to the next PTA meeting for the food drive ideas this quarter, actually.

oldgold | Friday March 6, 2009 07:01 am 49

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. —Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

I think Charles summed it up pretty nicely.

Raven | Friday March 6, 2009 07:02 am 50

Goober Zell Miller’s wife Shirley was a major literacy advocate here in Georgia when he was governor. She was painfully shy but actually did a great job.

Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 07:02 am 51
In response to oldgold @ 49

Great quote which is pretty much universally applicable at any point and time I pick that book up to read. Classic.

barbara | Friday March 6, 2009 07:04 am 52
In response to selise @ 44

Oh, selise, I agree with you, but not entirely. I am trying desperately to believe that there is bedrock goodness in the Obamas that is more than a photo op. Historically, I am an optimist. But over the past eight years, my cynicism and pessimism have grown like kudzu. Please hope with me that this is genuine caring and not JUST a photo op. And then, as the saying goes, after enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.

Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 07:04 am 53
In response to Raven @ 50

Just the thought of having to be married to Zell Miller gives me the shudders. Blergh.

GOod for her on the literacy focus, though. Mr. ReddHedd was a literacy volunteer for quite a while and it makes such a HUGE difference for people’s lives to acquire reading skills. Huge.

ShotoJamf | Friday March 6, 2009 07:04 am 54

Any guesses as to how the wingnuts will go about attacking this effort? Obviously it’s communist-inspired…

”I have in my hand a list that contains names of all the communists working in the food bank…”

jayt | Friday March 6, 2009 07:07 am 55

I was talking yesterday to a guy who used to be the U.S Bankruptcy Trustee for the SD of Indiana. He told me about a case that came through wherein an entire town came forward on behalf of an elderly couple in extreme dire straits.

The couple had lost all their money somehow, had had all their utilities shut off, and had decided to just go to bed together, and wait for the end. They planned to just go ahead and die.

A neighbor noticed that ice had formed on the inside of their windows, and broke down the door and found them there in bed.

Then this town all got together, pooled their money, got a lawyer, and him/her do a Chapter 13 – which the town members funded. Those people are alive and well, and *nobody* raised any objections whatsoever to the 13 Plan.

Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 07:08 am 56
In response to barbara @ 52

Photo-ops are a very good way of carrying a message to a broader audience. Jane and I have both been harping for ages about Dems needing to get better at using visual and video media to convey bedrock messages. Frankly, I’m happy to see the Obamas doing it well.

Given how inept prior Dem attempts at that sort of thing have been, if this gets people off their butts and contemplating helping out at a local soup kitchen, I’m going to applaud and hope for more.

Because every community in this country desperately needs more people doing community service, if only for some broader exposure for folks who have no earthly idea how the other half lives to really, honestly see first hand how these decent people can work their asses off at a dead end job to support their families and still need a hand — and want to help them. A little education in compassion in this country could go a long, long way as we all try to survive this economic crunch together.

Petrocelli | Friday March 6, 2009 07:09 am 57

Huge difference in self esteem as well. Whereas before, they would feel cut off from society and the World, now they feel a part of it because they can communicate by reading/writing.

Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 07:10 am 58
In response to jayt @ 55

Oh, I love that — thanks so much for sharing it, jayt. You have to love living in a small town where people still give a crap about each other, don’t you?

selise | Friday March 6, 2009 07:11 am 59
In response to barbara @ 52

i do hope. a lot. we desperately need obama to succeed. so many lives are on the line. i’m just not willing to try to believe. for me that’s what faith is for – not politics. different strokes though. if that’s your way, please don’t let my need for evidence be even the smallest of speed bumps.

Petrocelli | Friday March 6, 2009 07:12 am 60
In response to ShotoJamf @ 54

We should write in suggestions to RushCo for this … make them get the message out that caring for the downtrodden is bad for America.

It’s not like their popularity numbers are tanking fast enough …

Raven | Friday March 6, 2009 07:14 am 61

That’s why I got into it. Had to get out because, even though it is constantly touted as a “crisis”, funding sucks.

jayt | Friday March 6, 2009 07:14 am 62

yeah – some days you kinda need to hear a story like that. Came at a good time for me.

As I understand it, the Plan is still in place, and the town-members are still funding it.

Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 07:16 am 63
In response to jayt @ 62

Mr. ReddHedd and I both have done legal work in those sorts of emergency situtation cases. So often it comes too late to do much but ease someone’s last few months, but at least they are easier ones than they might have been with some decency and care. Those sorts of cases are so, so difficult for everyone involved that it’s always so wonderful to see one with a really happy ending.

Seriously, thanks for mentioning it. :)

Petrocelli | Friday March 6, 2009 07:16 am 64
In response to barbara @ 52

The Obamas have spent many years looking after the needs of many, this wasn’t a craven photo-op like Bush’s “Heckuva job, Brownie.”

It necessary to differentiate between the two, lest we become cynical and disillusioned … that’s how we relinquish our powers to corrupt pols.

barbara | Friday March 6, 2009 07:16 am 65

My point exactly. I don’t believe — don’t want to believe — that this was some kind of calculated distraction ploy. Even at my most cynical (and believe me, that is still burbling in my blood), I believe in the essential goodness of this country. Naive? Idealistic? Obtuse? Maybe. But our best moments, days, years are those where we as individuals and as a nation turn our attention to the needs around us, and they are legion.

When I was a kid in Sunday School, everything we did re reaching out seemed geared to far away places with strange sounding names, far away over the sea (!). Frankly, it never occurred to me much in those days that there is desperate need much closer to home.

May the whole era of denying bloody death by sneaking caskets into the country from Iraq, the era of pretending that there isn’t an impoverished neighborhood right behind the White House, etc. come to an end. And yeah, if photos and videos help promote that awareness, bring ‘em on!

CarolynU | Friday March 6, 2009 07:19 am 66

I see that a lot where I live, and I must say, we need to return to that as a culture. If people are involved locally, with their neighbors and their communities it provides a natural safety net for everyone. And it seems so many are just waiting for an opportunity to be kind and helpful.

Raven | Friday March 6, 2009 07:19 am 67
In response to Petrocelli @ 57

We had to battle these crazy images like “Stanley and Iris” where DeNiro is a kitchen bimi and, after Jane teaches him to read, he’s driving a caddy.

Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 07:19 am 68
In response to barbara @ 65

From the links I posted above, I think it’s pretty clear that community service has been a focus of Michelle’s for a long, long while:

“Obama worked on volunteer programs in the hospitals and in the community, community-based health education conducted by physicians and the Adopt-a-School initiative. Under her leadership, the number of hospital employees serving in the community increased nearly fivefold, while community members volunteering in the hospital nearly quadrupled.

Obama also helped create the South Side Health Collaborative, which finds “medical homes” for residents of the South Side who lack ready access to primary care. The South Side Health Collaborative became a major pillar of the Urban Health Initiative.

In 2007, Obama switched from full-time to part-time, and subsequently took an unpaid leave of absence to work on husband Barack’s presidential campaign.

Prior to joining the Medical Center, Obama had worked at University of Chicago as Associate Dean of Student Services. She launched and became the first Director of the University Community Service Center, which offers new opportunities to student, staff and faculty for service learning, volunteerism and civic engagement.”

ShotoJamf | Friday March 6, 2009 07:19 am 69
In response to Petrocelli @ 64

“It’s necessary to differentiate between the two, lest we become cynical and disillusioned … that’s how we relinquish our powers to corrupt pols.”

You are absolutely correct. I do find it difficult at times, however, not to become cynical and disillusioned. One foot in front of the other, one day at a time…

Petrocelli | Friday March 6, 2009 07:24 am 70
In response to Raven @ 61

Raven !

oldgold | Friday March 6, 2009 07:24 am 71

Why is it that most of us can see and act on our common humanity with the young and the old, but have such a hard time doing so with those in between?

Raven | Friday March 6, 2009 07:24 am 72
In response to Petrocelli @ 70

What it is!

barbara | Friday March 6, 2009 07:25 am 73
In response to selise @ 59

Maybe its semantics? In this situation (over which I have absolutely no control), I have to hope in order to get to the place where I can believe. Okay, hope and write LTEs and call my congress critters and hang out at FDL where people are vastly smarter than I am about particulars. Personally, I can’t afford to spend another four to eight years in the depths of despair. I’m a realist. I see the problems. But I also see possibility. You must know by now that I deeply respect your knowledge and opinions. Maybe our styles are bookends for this evolving process?

Christy Hardin Smith | Friday March 6, 2009 07:25 am 74
In response to Raven @ 61

Doesn’t it always seem like the things that are so valuable for all of us: social services, critical volunteer programs, teachers and education, etc., are so chronically underfunded? And then people bitch about crime. Blows my mind that the link between the lack of hope or help and the crime rate never seems to be made by some folks.

Petrocelli | Friday March 6, 2009 07:28 am 75
In response to ShotoJamf @ 69

I know and there are lots of reasons to be cynical and disillusioned.

From my field of meditation/self-motivation, I can say that looking at what you have the power to change rather than looking at what you cannot change is the best way to move forward. It will also inspire others to act, whereas being cynical and disillusioned inspires others to also be that way.

This leads to inaction and that is how BushCo managed to wrest power away from the American people.

aliasofwestgate | Friday March 6, 2009 07:29 am 76

I think this really is genuine, considering the whole family worked a food bank over the holidays and now there’s really no reason to do another one. But Michelle does so. This is definitely a cause she’s held for a long time. Remember her story about meeting Barack? They both hold this as a cause, and even before they reached this level of public scrutiny.

It’s a great thing to see, after so many years of blandness. She’s not afraid to get down and dirty dirty with us and encourages everyone else to get a hand in.

Raven | Friday March 6, 2009 07:30 am 77
In response to Petrocelli @ 75

Check out Judith Warner on The Worst Buddhist in the World.

Raven | Friday March 6, 2009 07:31 am 78

People see what they want I guess.

barbara | Friday March 6, 2009 07:33 am 79
In response to Raven @ 61

And funding now is an ever-deepening quagmire. I did grant proposal writing for many years, and I can’t imagine how difficult it must be now to secure $$$.

demi | Friday March 6, 2009 07:33 am 80
In response to greenwarrior @ 47

Great to hear another story. How wonderful that a program like this one gets others in the community on board.
It only takes a spark to get a fire going.
And, even in larger cities, like Los Angeles, people can and do care about each other.

Petrocelli | Friday March 6, 2009 07:34 am 81

Exactly !

Have you seen the way they rehab criminals and drug addicts in Europe ?

Throughout the process, they treat them as humans, unlike the Prison system in America and sadly, Canada is following suit.

barbara | Friday March 6, 2009 07:36 am 82

Thanks so much for the info. The Obamas need us to have their backs and also to follow their lead.

selise | Friday March 6, 2009 07:36 am 83
In response to Petrocelli @ 64

It necessary to differentiate between the two, lest we become cynical and disillusioned … that’s how we relinquish our powers to corrupt pols.

differentiating requires information that we just don’t have. these are not people we know. maybe in our celebrity culture it feels that way, but it’s just not so.

so i remain agnostic. but that doesn’t mean i don’t really really love what is being done here by michelle obama. i do. regardless of motivation, which i can’t know, the act itself it a wonderful thing and imo deserves to be celebrated on that basis.

re illusions. you remind me of something a wise friend said years ago. i still have it posted on my bulletin board as a reminder:

Growing involves giving up your illusions, but it’s easy to confuse your illusions with your values. — CD, may 1990

i want to give up my illusions… but only while holding tight to my values.

barbara | Friday March 6, 2009 07:37 am 84
In response to oldgold @ 71

This is a profound question!

Petrocelli | Friday March 6, 2009 07:41 am 85
In response to Raven @ 77

Thanks Dude … that was a great example.

However the Author’s line – “I am above reading — I am present to myself” suggests that she has replaced her ego with a super- ego, which happens all too often with improper guidance.

ShotoJamf | Friday March 6, 2009 07:42 am 86
In response to Petrocelli @ 75

Very nicely stated. Thanks.

KiwiJackson | Friday March 6, 2009 07:45 am 87

Anyone in this area- the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank badly needs your help. Donations are down and every can or package of food or other things like soap, razors, diapers, anything will go to good use. My son, his partner, & I are doing collections at our current place of emplyment LA Center Studios. LA RFBank will bring you the donation barrels and pick them up later. It’s really simple to do, no muss or fuss. Here is their link for more info.

A lot can be collected in a hurry, believe me. We set out barrels near both our Halloween and Christmas displays in the front of our house each year, five years now. Marie’s favorite holiday was always Halloween because of the kids, so we did it in her honor. What a huge turnout we had. Last year we collected by Food Bank count almost 1200 lbs. of goods donated total both hols. Community activism is a grand and necessary thing in all times and these times.

Petrocelli | Friday March 6, 2009 07:48 am 88
In response to selise @ 83

I don’t know you either, but from the opinions you give here, I know that you’re passionate about the well-being of America and the World.

From all the work The Obamas have done, I hesitate to think that it was just about them laying the base for eventually being in the White House. I feel that they genuinely want to make America and The World better through their actions. The system is gamed and they choose to work for small improvements, with the idea that, drop by drop, the Bucket will be filled.

I love that quote, thanks for sharing it !

Petrocelli | Friday March 6, 2009 07:50 am 89
In response to ShotoJamf @ 86

There are a lot of things to fix and we can be most effective when we start at the roots, which are within.

When we really look at our motivations, it helps to bring about the best results.

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