Tag Archives: Arizona

Kitchen on the Street

Kitchen on the Street

Food trucks have become quite a trend.  There are food truck races on television, websites dedicated to where food trucks are parked for the day and even food truck festivals.  I was excited when a local food truck made a trip to the parking lot of the suburban office building I work at for a special food drive event.  Today’s organization is also using a food truck to make a difference.

In 2005 and 2006 Vince, Lisa and Taylor Scarpinato were volunteering around their community, but always left feeling a deeper calling.  In September of 2006, a family friend and local elementary school principal, Dennis Cagle, came over for dinner and shared stories of hungry children.  One second grade girl went through the school cafeteria and picked up discarded half-eaten foods from other children.  The principal went on to share that many children receive breakfast and lunch from the schools, but go hungry on the weekends.  That night, the family decided to start a non-profit and Kitchen on the Street was born.

The mission of Kitchen on the Street is “Turning Hunger into Hope”.  They fulfill this mission through several programs.  The first program they started was Bags of Hope; backpacks of individually portioned, shelf stable meal and snack foods for children to eat on the weekends.  In their first year, they served 30 children through the Bags of Hope program and have since expanded to serve many more.  The organization also partners with local growers, community gardens, and food banks to distribute fresh produce to families in need through their Fresh Food Distribution program.  They collaborate with local schools, churches, and community centers on events where low income families receive free fresh produce.

The newest program is the Kitchen on the Street Food Truck.  This truck is a traveling kitchen that feeds people, raises awareness, acts as a mobile classroom and helps raise funds for the Bags of Hope program.  The truck was purchased from a $100,000 grant provided by the Arizona Diamondbacks.  The truck is used to teach families about food and nutrition and to teach job skills to adults in need.  The truck also travels to a variety of locations and special events as a catering business that feeds money back into the other Kitchen on the Street Programs.

Kitchen on the Street's Food Truck

The video below talks more about the impacts of childhood hunger and how Kitchen on the Street is making a difference:

How can you help?

  • Become a fan on Facebook or subscribe to their e-news to receive notifications of volunteer opportunities with Kitchen on the Street such as backpack packing events, fresh food handouts, and a variety of other tasks.
  • You can volunteer or participate in the annual Hike for Hunger to raise awareness of childhood hunger.
  • You can also make a monetary donation through the Kitchen on the Street website by clicking the donate button.

Learn more about Kitchen on the Street on their website,  You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.


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Posted by on April 10, 2013 in Nonprofit Organization


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Becoming a monk or a nun involves full-immersion into a monastic lifestyle in which one becomes fully devoted to spiritual pursuits.  Devotion like this, be it spiritual or to a broader effort to improve the lives of people, is something volunteers across the globe can relate to and it is something ATMA SEVA has in abundance.

ATMA SEVA — whose tagline is, “Healing & Education for Humanity” – offers a multi-platform approach to service.  Its mission is to, “bring a voice and platform to the needs of indigenous, ethnic, and monastic communities.”  To achieve this, ATMA SEVA incorporates innovate educational programs – such as live video chats with Buddhist monks from Thailand designed to educate and share their knowledge and passion for Buddhism to people all over the world; to teaching conversational English to the Lawa Village, a remote tribal village located in the hills of Northern Thailand.

Based out of Northern Thailand and Bhutan, ATMA SEVA works with local community leaders, temples and other civically-minded partners to offer three key volunteer programs to the region:

ATMA SEVA: Healing & Education for Humanity

  • The Wat Doi Saket Project is an educational project designed to afford volunteers an opportunity to teach English to Buddhist monks in Northern Thailand.  Presently, this project’s scope incorporates eighteen Buddhist temples and three Thai public schools.  The Wat Doi Saket Buddhist temple has been working with ATMA SEVA since it was founded in 2000, and has been a major partner in outreach programs to educate the people of Thailand in HIV prevention and educational programs.  When those projects came to an end in 2009, ATMA SEVA continued its partnership with the Wat Doi Saket temple by adding English education to its outreach programs.

ATMA SEVA: Healing & Education for Humanity

  • ATMA SEVA’s work with the Lawa Village tribe began in 2010.   The local school in Lawa Village had heard about ATMA SEVA’s work on the Wat Doi Saket project and was interested in having volunteers teach at their school.   Continuing in its efforts to teach conversational English to the region, ATMA SEVA places volunteers within the community in a full-immersion approach to both live and teach in the village.   Additionally, the goals of this partnership are not only to bring English speaking skills to the residents, but to aslo build long-lasting relationships with the students and families there and add financial support and fundraising efforts.  But, like many educational outreach programs in other countries, the education is not one-sided.  Volunteers teach English, but also learn about Thailand tribal culture – particularly Lawa-Hill tribal culture.

ATMA SEVA: Healing & Education for Humanity

  • This approach of educating the volunteers spreads to ATMA SEVA’s work in Bhutan where the organization works as a registered tour-company in conjunction with local leaders to offer cultural tours, treks, and “eco-tours” (beyond the main districts, and deeper into rural Bhutan) within Bhutan.  These trips allow participants an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the rich culture of Bhutan through site-seeing, meditation, and reflection.

But ATMA SEVA has even more to offer than these three programs.  It just became a non-profit in Arizona, its founding pilot project to educate the region on HIV/AIDS has reached over 20,000 people, and it is currently talking with Habitat for Humanity and the Embassy of Japan to secure funding to build a school that will focus on housing and educating underprivileged children.

Clearly, ATMA SEVA’s outreach has grown in line with its organization.  It is this multi-faceted approach to bring volunteerism and educate the region of Northern Thailand and Bhutan that is truly as unique as it is diverse.  Need more proof?  Please visit its website at and maybe you too can participate in an online “monk chat”.  You can also connect with them on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and their blog.

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Posted by on March 20, 2013 in Nonprofit Organization


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Feed My Starving Children

Feed My Starving Children

According to the World Food Programme, hunger is the world’s number one health risk.  It kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.  Malnutrition and hunger related diseases cause 60% of deaths of children under five in developing countries.  Today’s organization is making a difference for children around the world.

In 1987, Richard Proudfit, a businessman from Minnesota, incorporated Feed My Starving Children to develop an original meal formula to feed starving children.  He had seen the needs of children in Honduras during his mission trips and felt a calling from God to make a difference.   Dr. Richard Fulmer, a food scientist at Cargill, teamed up with colleagues from Pillsbury and General Mills to develop a nutritious “Fortified Rice Soy Casserole” for malnourished children.  The formula for this rice mix was finalized in 1993 and the next year volunteer production started.  Their food is shipped via mission partners to the counties that need it.  They have distributed food to nearly 70 counties and have had more than 99.96% of their meals arrive safely.  In 2008 they worked with nutritionist Cade Fields-Gardner to develop the world’s first and only food to treat diarrhea.

I have personally volunteered at Feed My Starving Children and it is always a moving experience.  They start your experience with a video about their program.

Then after a short lesson on packing the meals, you spend time packing their formula of chicken flavored powder, dried vegetables, dried soy protein, and rice into bags and then into boxes.  Even kids can volunteer.  My daughter loves to put the ingredients into the bags and weigh the bags.  At the end of a volunteer session, you also get a sample of the meal (it tastes a bit like Rice-a-Roni).  Their locations are filled with pictures of the children who have received their food.  I have included a couple of these before and after images below.

Feed My Starving Children now has seven permanent locations in Chanhassen, Coon Rapids, and Eagan Minnesota; Aurora, Libertyville, and Schaumburg Illinois; and Tempe Arizona.  They also have an option for MobilePack events where they bring their operation to you.  You can find the already scheduled MobilePack events and learn how to host your own on their website.

How can you help?

  • If you live near one of their permanent locations, you can volunteer individually or with a group on their website.
  • You can also find already scheduled MobilePack events or learn more about hosting your own on their website.
  • You can also make a monetary donation or purchase merchandise to support their mission.

You can learn more on their website, and their blog.  You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Google+, and LinkedIn.

After 7 months of eating MannaPack meals twice a day, Marilyn was restored to normal development. Click the photo to read her story.

Jonise was in the Love A Child orphanage since she was 4 years old receiving Feed My Starving Children food. She is now going to school to be a bank teller. Click the photo to see her story.


Related Posts: Sow Much Good and 363 Days



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Posted by on December 13, 2012 in Nonprofit Organization


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