Once you have made the decision to start a local Food Not Bombs group, pick a meeting date, time, and place and gather together everyone interested to talk about what you would like to do. You might start with a group of friends, or members of an existing group, or it could be people who respond to posters and emails announcing your intentions.
The following is a step-by-step process to get your food operation up and running. Because of your unique situation, you may need to add, ignore or reorder steps. Follow the path you feel will work best for your group.
Start by getting a phone number, email or postal address. By using a voice mailbox you can have an outgoing message with information about the next meeting time and place, and receive messages so that you never miss a call. You can also post a MySpace, Facebook, Twitter or other website for your group. Many chapters also create listserves on sites like Riseup, Google or Yahoo. Some groups use a commercial mailbox or post office box for their physical address. After initially setting up your chapter's contact information, please share the contact details with us using this form so your details can be added to our site.
Make flyers announcing the existence of your new local Food Not Bombs chapter with your contact information and time, date and location of your planning meetings. By handing out these flyers at events, posting them around town, emailing the announcement of your next meeting to friends, classmates and other local organizations, you will get additional volunteers and donations of food and supplies. It is helpful to have regularly scheduled weekly or monthly meetings and always know the date of the next one to share at the end of each meeting. Encourage people who may rely on the food to participate in the meetings. Post the time, date and location of your meetings on your websites. We provide sample flyers that you can down load on www.foodnotbombs.net. The agenda for your first meetings can include a.) food collection b.) location for cooking c.) locations to deliver your food. d.) consider a location to share your meals in the future e.) outreach to people who may want to volunteer and join the meal.
Arrange for the use of a vehicle. Among the members of your group, there might be enough vehicles of the right size for your needs, but if not, you might be able to borrow a van or truck from a sympathetic church group or similar organization. If none of the above succeeds, you can always hold fund-raising events specifically for the purchase of a van or truck. Some groups use bicycles and bike carts to pickup the food and take the meals and literature out to share. Other groups use shopping carts and travel on public transportation.
With flyers in hand, begin looking for sources of food. The first places to approach are the local food co-ops, produce warehouses, farmers markets, organic food stores and bakeries. These types of stores tend to be supportive and are a good place to practice your approach. Tell them you plan to share the food with the hungry, delivering food to shelters and soup kitchens as well as providing a regular meal once the chapter is established, and if they are interested and willing, arrange for a regular time to pick up the food each week or as often as is practical. Where it is appropriate, leave literature which explains the mission of Food Not Bombs.
Start by delivering your collected food to housing projects, shelters and local meal programs. It is important to get to know the food pantries and soup kitchens in your area. Learn where they are located, whom they serve, and how many they serve. This information will help you plan your delivery route and distribute the appropriate types and amounts of food to each program. This will also give you an idea of when and where your chapter should start to share your regularly prepared meals. It is usually desirable to arrange a regular delivery schedule with each location. Building relationships with the other food programs is valuable.
Once this network becomes established, start to skim some food out of the flow without disrupting the program. With this food, prepare meals to serve on the streets with literature about Food Not Bombs as well as current issues and related events. It can be very helpful to share meals at rallies and demonstrations first; there your group can recruit more volunteers, collect donations, as well as lift the spirits of those participating in the action. Giving out meals at a protest can build community and supports the cause in a very direct way.
Once enough people are involved, consider sharing meals in a visible way one day a week to the hungry on the streets. Cooking and serving food there builds community within the group and is hard work, but this is also great fun. Choose a time, day and location where you will reach the most people. Always be on time. Pick highly visible locations where a diverse population is likely to walk past your food and literature.
One aspect of our mission is to help make the "invisible poverty" more visible. Your meal is not a Food Not Bombs meal if you don't provide literature and display a banner. Otherwise the public will think you are a church and have the impression your group believes that our political and economic system is fine and that all we need to do is care for those who are not able to make it.
We are not a charity, we are seeking to build a movemnet to end the exploitation of the economic and political system. If you are not interested in changing society so no one needs to eat at a soup kitchen then you might want to volunteer with a church or government food program. We are seeking to end hunger and poverty not just feed it. When so much money is spent on the military we know it is possible to create a world where no one is required to stand in line to eat at a charity. The meal and literature can be a powerful way to reach out to the community with the message of "food not bombs."
THE PRINCIPLES OF FOOD
Volunteers participating in the 1992 and 1995 gatherings came to consensus that we would have three principles that would make us FOOD NOT BOMBS. 1.The food is vegan and free to all. 2. We have no leaders and use the process of consensus to make desisions. 3. That Food Not Bombs is dedicated to nonviolent direct action towards creating a world free from domination, coercion and violence.
FOOD SAFETY FOR FOOD
Our food is always vegan or vegetarian and is one reason our food is safe and that no one has been made ill eating with Food Not Bombs. If meat or dairy is included in the food you recover you can donate it to a food program that does provide meat and dairy. Many people that want to contribute to Food Not Bombs are not informed about our principle of only sharing plant based foods.
SOLIDARITY NOT CHARITY - REMEMBER - LITERATURE AND A
BANNER AT EVERY MEAL -
We encourage all Food Not Bombs groups to have a stack of these flyers on their literature table at every meal. This is very important to do if your chapter is in the United States where the governmnet has taken measures to reduce our meals to just another charity.
This flyer is an effective way to let everyone in your community to know about your Food Not Bombs group. You can post two or three copies on top of one another and cut the tags so people can take your contact information. You may have a volunteer that is not able to help your group the day of your meal but thay could post these flyers all over town once a month. (Again cut the tags for best results)DOWN LOAD THIS FLYER
DOWN LOAD THIS FLYER
ON SEVEN STEPS TO STARTING A FOOD NOT BOMBS GROUP
THE GOOD SAMARITAN ACT - You can give this flyer published by Second Harvest to grocery and bakery staff to show they are protected from liability.
If you would like to donate more than $1 please feel free to add any amount you want to the Paypal form.
If you are interested in making a larger donation of more then $100 or more and request a tax deduction for your contribution, please contact us at 575-770-3377.