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Serve Now: Never Forget Millions In South Sudan Are Homeless!

  • An estimated 1.5 million people have been uprooted in fighting that started with a political impasse in mid-December 2013 between President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar. The conflict also sent nearly 100,000 civilians fleeing to UN bases around the country. UN Mission South Sudan
  • At least 40,000 people who fled fighting in South Sudan are staying in horrific conditions at a UN camp. Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)
  • “Being a father is always about being able to provide for your son, sending him to school or a good hospital if he needs it.  But how can you say you’re a father when you’re just sitting here? I am just ashamed of being a father here. It would be better if we didn’t have to leave to be refugees. The world needs to support people in their lives so South Sudan can be developed and there can be peace in this world,” Gatluack Choul, South Sudanese Refugee


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ACT NOW: Support Stephen McDow’s Efforts To Raise Money For Ride For Food

Stephen McDow

Stephen McDow

Can you believe it? I’m helping Open Table raise money for our program by participating in Ride For Food on September 15, 2013. All money raised will help Open Table better serve their guests who are experiencing hardship. Any donation you can make will be appreciated. I have set a goal of $1,000.

Thanks to a generous financial backer I will join Team Open Table at 7:30 am on the campus of the Noble and Greenough School. I’ve personally committed to 12 miles.

Your support is encouraged and appreciated in advance. Together, we can make an impact in the lives of individuals in need of food relief.

According to a report by Massachusetts based Project Bread and data collected from the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture):

“The food insecurity rate in Massachusetts has grown by over 43 percent since the start of the recession in 2008. This is the highest rate recorded in the Commonwealth since this data was first collected in 1995.”

In an article published recently by the Associated Press:

“Poverty is spreading at record levels across many groups, from underemployed workers and suburban families to the poorest poor. More discouraged workers are giving up on the job market, leaving them vulnerable as unemployment aid begins to run out. Suburbs are seeing increases in poverty [too].”

Dr. Cornell West of The Poverty Tour says, “You can’t lead people unless you love people and you can’t save people unless you serve people.”

What is the depth of your love and quality of your service for people, specifically poor people? Show your love and donate today by clicking the link below.

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Stephen McDow

ACT NOW: Open Table Maynard & Other Food Relief Organizations Partner With U.S. Postal Service To Stamp Out Hunger

As posted from the Open Table website: Open Table & U.S. Postal Drive

Contact: Dottie MacKeen

Phone: 978-823-0082




2013 Postal Service Food Drive

April 25, 2013

Maynard, MA – May 11, 2013 is the annual Postal Service Food Drive.   Open Table Maynard along with other area food relief organizations is partnering with the U.S. Postal Service to relieve hunger in Maynard and surrounding communities.

What Maynard residents can do to help:295284_10151588422642788_1904476509_a

  • Community Advocates: Citizens are encouraged to spread the word about the food drive to friends, neighbors, and community organizations and encourage them to leave collected food items next to their letter boxes. The letter carrier will take the box back to their postal station, split the items, and deliver the items to Open Table and the Maynard Food Pantry.
  • Food Collectors: On May 11, 2013 volunteers are needed at collection drop off centers to help receive the food from the local community. You will be asked to do some lifting and stocking.

About The Postal Service Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive

Some 35.5 million people face hunger every day in America, including 13 million children. This drive is one way people can help those in their own community who need help. The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive has received a number of accolades over the years, including two Presidential Certificates of Achievement.

The U.S. Postal Service and Campbell Soup Company are major supporters of the drive. Campbell Soup also earmarked an additional 1 million pounds of canned food donation to the drive. Other supporters are AARP, Feeding America, Cox Target Media and its Valpak Direct Marketing Systems, the nationwide direct mail marketing firm, which promotes the drive on 40 million packets delivered to postal customers.

The drive also relies on the backing of the National Rural Letter Carriers Association, the Feeding America food bank network, the United Way of America and its local United Ways, the AFL-CIO Community Services network, Uncle Bob’s Self Storage and countless local sponsors.

For more information about The Postal Service Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive visit:

For more information about Open Table visit:


ACT NOW: Congress Weakens USDA’s Plan To Improve School Meals

Congress Weakens USDA’s Plan To Improve School Meals

By: Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project

Take Action Now

It’s a stark reality: today’s kids may be the first generation in our nation’s history to actually live sicker, shorter lives than their parents. Today, one in three kids is overweight or obese and more likely to suffer from diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other long-term chronic illnesses. Reversing this trend will not be easy, but it is doable. And ensuring that schools serve or sell healthy foods is a good place to start, given that many children consume more than half of their daily calories at school.

Stephen Ornes – Science News For Kids

In January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed a plan to update school meal nutrition standards for the first time in 15 years. The proposal would ensure schools serve more fruits, vegetables and whole-grains while limiting calories, salt and fat.

Some members of Congress raised concerns with two key provisions.

The existing, outdated standards allow as little as two tablespoons of tomato paste to count as a serving of vegetables—making the sauce on one slice of pizza equal to one full serving of tomatoes. USDA’s proposal would have closed this tomato paste loophole. In addition, USDA had proposed limits on starchy vegetables like potatoes. Combined, these two requirements would have put the focus on more nutritious, whole vegetables and encouraged kids to eat a wider variety of them, as recommended by the National Academy of SciencesInstitute of Medicine and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

As part of the debate on the FY 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, Congress voted to restrict how USDA measures tomato paste, meaning one slice of pizza may still be allowed to count as a serving or half a serving of vegetables. The vote also bars USDA from requiring the limits on starchy vegetables in the cafeteria line.

This law could weaken the effort to make school meals healthier despite the fact that the American people support such efforts. More than three out of four voters—78 percent—believe that schools should be required to meet higher nutrition standards for all foods they serve or sell to students.

Ensuring schools serve healthful, well-balanced meals supports the efforts parents make at home to feed their kids nutritious food and teach them how to make healthy choices.  Thousands of schools across the country—in communities large and small, urban and rural—already are proving that they can serve healthy meals that kids will eat at an affordable price. They’re serving more fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy items, while featuring fewer fried foods on their menu, and it’s working. But thousands of other schools have not made these changes, so USDA’s stronger standards are urgently needed to help our kids.

Because kids who eat well aren’t just healthier; they also perform better at school. Ultimately, that affects all Americans—benefitting our economy while also reducing health care costs.

USDA must finalize the nutrition standards in a way that will not only improve school meals, but ultimately, the long-term health of our children and nation.

Take Action Now

ACT NOW: Medicaid Matters for Kids Month

The Children’s Hospital Association sent out this action alert regarding the importance of protecting Medicaid for young people. Medicaid funding is very important to protect. Young people can’t learn and prepare themselves for 21st century learning and jobs if they are not healthy.

Congress is making funding decisions that will impact children’s health. As various proposals are made public, it’s clear many lawmakers are still unaware of the critical

Children's Hospital Association

Children’s Hospital Association

importance of Medicaid to the health of our nation’s children.

With that in mind, the Children’s Hospital Association has declared March as Medicaid Matters for Kids Month – during which child health advocates will work together to raise awareness of Medicaid as a child health program by sharing patient stories, facts about the program and writing to members of Congress. You can follow Medicaid Matters for Kids month and read some amazing stories on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

We need your help in this effort. Please take just three minutes to send a letter to your legislators and let them know this is not the time to be cutting vital health care programs for kids like Medicaid.

The facts are these:

  • More than one in three American children receives care through the Medicaid program and children account for half of all Medicaid beneficiaries.
  • Approximately five percent of children on Medicaid have severe and complex medical conditions; these children account for approximately 45 percent of Medicaid spending on children due to the severity of their illnesses.
  • The role of Medicaid is especially critical to medically complex children, who often must travel across state lines to receive care from a limited number of pediatric specialists, while also receiving care closer to home from a wide range of health care professionals, often without clear coordination.

Therefore, it’s clear that any budget proposals in the 113th Congress must preserve Medicaid’s unique role in children’s health care and must not undermine the sickest children’s access to Medicaid or the program’s ability to provide care for these children.

Please take just three minutes to send a letter to your legislators and help them understand the importance of Medicaid. By following the link you’ll be taken to a pre-written letter to your legislators, which you are encouraged to customize with your words and stories.

We need to be the voice for our children – please send your message today.