Food Not Bombs Feeds Hungry on Sundays on Ponce in Midtown
(APN) ATLANTA — The Atlanta Chapter of Food Not Bombs is about to celebrate two years of feeding hungry people on Ponce de Leon Avenue each Sunday at 1:30pm, on the sidewalk near the Whole Foods and Home Depot shopping center.
That means they have served at this location alone about 100 times. They serve about fifteen people each Sunday these days, although it used to be more like thirty.
Dell “Earthworm” MacLean, 31, helped to organize the Sundays on Ponce feeding after coming to town and having been involved with other chapters of Food Not Bombs around the US.
Other young activists who help organize the Sundays on Ponce include Erika Boyd, Vincent Castillenti, Jenell Holden, Marlon Kautz, and Jose Sanchez.
The meals they serve are completely vegetarian, include items like fresh fruit, steamed vegetables, salad, diced potatoes, diced sweet potatoes, fruit smoothie, corn on the cob, and pie.
While the private security guards at the shopping center once asked them to move, the activists have not been bothered since the Atlanta Police clarified for the shopping center that the activists had a right to be on the sidewalk.
The Sundays on Ponce started in September 2009. In addition, there is a feeding on Wednesdays in Hurt Park downtown at 5pm, which has been going on longer.
The organizers of the Hurt Park feeding have not been so fortunate with police; Georgia State University security guards have reportedly been trying to break up the feedings.
Incidentally, Food Not Bombs activists in Orlando, Florida, are locked in a legal battle with the City there over whether they have the right to feed hungry people in public spaces. It has not yet come to that in Atlanta.
During the 1990’s in Atlanta, there had been a feeding in Little Five Points, but that one was moved to Hurt Park.
“Food Not Bombs is kind of a two-tiered thing. First of all, it’s giving people food and that’s important, especially now given the economic crisis. But the second thing is we are creating camraderie, we’re building community, we’re building friendships with people that are out there working. They know how the system hurts people,” she said.
“By doing this free meal we are showing how things could be, we’re sort of demonstrating how a gift economy could look like – where no one would go hungry. What if we emphasize human needs over systems of violence and oppression?”
The FNB Atlanta group gets the food they use for the feedings from a local food charity that, among other things, ascribes to the belief of hedonism or pleasure. This charity also provides food to several organizations which help homeless and hungry people, including the Open Door Community, which is also on Ponce.
The FNB Atlanta group also provides boxes of foods through networks of community elders, as well as by showing up in neighborhoods, and saying, “Who wants some food?” according to MacLean.
Bob Darby started the first Atlanta chapter on FNB in 1995 and served homeless and hungry individuals in Atlanta for 11 years. For ten of those years, Darby cooked the meals out of his own home.
Around 2006, Darby began winding down as a FNB organizer; the Little Five Points feedings moved to Hurt Park; and new organizers took over. Darby served as a volunteer until eventually retiring.
If you would like to volunteer or assist FNB Atlanta please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 404 939 7699.
(END / 2011)