A relieved Dan Crannie  introduced  Kathleen Payton, Development Director at the Food Bank to be our guest speaker for the morning. Kathleen’s 13-year tenure has seen expansion of food distribution to 5 “Main Banks”, several more distribution centers, and 17 large trucks that distribute 26 million pounds of food and 25 million bottles of water to needy folk. In addition, several specific programs are coordinated with 400 agencies by their 78 employees (50 full-time), including those which distribute food on a monthly basis to Seniors and  backpacks full of food to school-age children for their families. A single donated dollar can be leveraged to provide $9 worth of food, very important to those who are reliant on Food Bank support: Kathleen gave an example of the limitations of the largely maligned and misunderstood “Food Stamp” system, noting that a single mother working a waitress job to support her 2 children may receive $132 in a month to provide food for the family. A new “flash freezer” and extra space and trucks, as well as volunteers who sort, pack, and load food, and sponsors of programs, equipment, or backpacks ($100 annual sponsorship) help to provide for these famililies. Fund-raisers like tomorrow night’s “Reds, Whites, and Brews” wine-, beer-, and cider-tasting event at Sloan Museum also help with the funds needed for the efforts.

Perhaps this coming weekend’s “Fall Back” in Daylight Savings Time is overdue: President Peter Venos asked one of our members to lead in the Pledge of Allegiance and just before the other members joined Ken Cullen in dozing off, Art Ridley stepped in to do the job. Jack Proffitt then spoke the invocation before breakfast but recognized the need to “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and render unto God that which is God’s” and purchased the Crown. This double infusion of power resulted in multiple “Just-Because!” fines as well as some seeming “tugging on Superman’s cape” retribution, and subsequent collateral damage: Phil Holmblade was fined for laughing at Greg Hilliker’s repeated dime deposits. Last week’s “50/50” winner, Dan Crannie,  arrived early to sell tickets and claim his prize, then sat at the head table nervously hoping for the arrival of his guest speaker. The entire Southerly table paid fines for “eating before the King”, Dan Crannie paid a fine for “taxidermy” that required a lengthy explanation. Crystufer Reed won the “Mike Tanner Award” fine for “arriving early for the lunch”, having been chased in by John Losinski, who was in time to claim today’s “50/50” pot! The restaurateur from Valley Coney Island, Jerry, won $100 in the last week’s $5K Raffle, which Bill Hentgen reports as generating something in the neighborhood of $13K for the youth we serve, and Peter Venos will consult John Schmitt about the voucher for the Vegas nights won (yet to be delivered). Steve Schlott led in the Creed recitation to send the 15 members present on their way to spread Optimism.
Until next time, “Promise Yourself…”