Monthly Archives: September 2014

Ram Pantry updates


The first Ram pantry sampling was successful :) One of our own team members hasn’t even tried zucchini before! We wrote the twitter handle on the whiteboard as they walked in as well. I wasn’t able to stay past the initial cooking because I had to get to work, but the others are hoping we will be able to catch more students when we do the sampling later in the evening this Wednesday. I tweeted the recipe that was used and live tweeted through the entire prep process.

IMG_0060While I am constantly at work I have to multitask! I clocked out with 43 hours this week so its safe to say it gets hard to manage all my work! Thats why i was happy to be running the twitter for Ram Pantry because I knew It was something I could attend to while at work! Last Sunday, I received the e-mail from Terrence about soapbox soaps! I imidiatley started opposing a tweet from the pantry account. I was perched up against the bar talking to one of the regulars I’ve become pretty good friends with. It turns out he’s really good friends with a majority of the VCU basketball team. I was telling him what I was doing and how I was trying to gain followers for the pantry and he sent this text to Bradford Burgess who’s playing b-ball in Italy now. He responded saying he personally didn’t have a twitter but he’d talk to his brother and some others to see if they’d shout it out or something so we’ll see! Whether this happens or not…. It was a very nice gesture and shows ow networking has tons of potential!


As you noticed, Michael Rao followed the account! Now I just need to get him to retweet something to push out to his followers!



While the woman about the baby formula never responded back (probably because I hesitated to hear from Terrence before tweeting her back) Soapbox Soaps responded to our appreciation tweet!



The follower count is up to 73! and steadily gaining!! If i’m on my phone in class just know i’m following accounts I think relevant, network worthy, or students!! I love all the feedback from organizations and Terrence. I’ve been following local marts hoping they would see the pantry and try some networking or vice versa!


Here’s to another week!


Point of Participation Assignment: What we like, How we participate, What we dislike, and How food happens

My partner in the participation project is Elizabeth Jorgensen and the social media we are exploring is Pinterest. Things we like about Pinterest are the recipes one can find on the website, the crafts that one can make off Pinterest, and we also like the activities and party ideas one can get from the website. We both participate on Pinterest by pinning pins that catch out eye, are things that we relate to, or pins that we just like. We organize these pins to certain boards that are categorized/named based on what pins are under that board. Some of the boards I have on Pinterest include, Yummy Desserts, Pastaaaaa<3, Healthy and Delicious :), Yummy and Delicious, Fitness, Dream Home, DIY, and several others. Check out all my boards by clicking the link to my Pinterest –>

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 4.08.05 PM


Some things we do not like about Pinterest is the fact that some pins do not send you to a website to get whatever recipe, craft, product, etc the pin was advertising. Another thing we dislike is the fact that sometimes when you click on a pin the pin takes you to some website that isn’t even associated with that pin. For example, one might click on a pin that advertises a picture of a yummy looking cupcake thinking they’ll get sent to a website with a recipe for the cupcake, but instead they get directed to a exercise tip website.

food 4 thought participate



Food is incorporated on Pinterest by recipes, health tips about food, and non profit food organizations who have active Pinterest accounts and boards.

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 4.29.30 PM Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 4.26.15 PM Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 4.25.33 PM Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 4.25.13 PM

Working Ram Pantry – AM week

10-11 11-12 12-1 1-2
Eliz. + Yes Yes Yes Class
Zach  + Yes Yes Yes Class
Alex.  + Work Work Work work
Elle  + Y
Kyle  + Y Y Y y
Tori + Y Y Y -

On Wednesday, September the 24th our group did our first volunteering at the Ram Pantry. Overall it was a good experience. Everyone who said there were going to come did show and we had plenty of food for cooking. unfortunately not as many people showed up as we had prepares so we had left overs to last into the afternoon. People didn’t show up until almost 11 but I don’t think that really presented a problem because there was only so much stove top space. People enjoyed the samples except for one person and in general people took our samples to try. We were unable to see if people actually got the food that we prepared but we provided recipes to go along with our samples. Hopefully next week more people will be at the pantry in the afternoon. (Pictures are me cooking, our samples, and some of our cooking food.)









Volunteer Orientation

On September 23, we had our second meeting with Kimberly from ReEstablish Richmond. In addition to Kimberly hosting the meeting, Lauren, an intern for ReEstablish Richmond, and another VCU student group that will also be working with the organization attended the meeting. We all met in a room in the library for the orientation. We started off by introducing ourselves and then Kimberly presented a PowerPoint to the group with more information. We discussed the background history of refugees, what ReEstablish Richmond does for the community and how my group will benefit the organization.

We first talked about what a refugee is. A refugee is one that has migrated from one country to another to escape persecution. The United States requests refugees to flee their countries to come and obtain a legal status here. Our group will be working with the Iraqi and Afghani populations. However, ReEstablish Richmond caters to the Bhutan, Burmese, and Cuban populations as well. We also brainstormed ways to overcome language barriers since we will be working with individuals with limited proficiency in the English language. This activity was helpful and I learned new ways to adapt to this obstacle.

ReEstablish Richmond provides resources in order for the refugee community to get on their feet in America. ReEstablish Richmond has four major programs to assist the refugees, Job Preparation, Housing, Education, and Agri-Culture. The organization provides various resources associated with each program. Housing, bus orientation/navigation, driver’s education classes, English classes, job fairs, and job preparation are some of the resources offered. ReEstablish also maintains a garden at a local church that the refugees are able to tend.

I think the meeting was very productive and overall helpful for what we will be doing with the organization. It was also beneficial to hear Lauren’s perspective on working with the refugees. She provided tips that we will be able to use especially during the interviews. Our next step will be getting the dates for the workshops, once everything is finalized. We are all excited to work with the refugees!





ReEstablish Orientation

On Wednesday September 3rd, Kelly, Cathryn, Jason, Haley, and I, met with Kimberly to go over material in the ReEstablish Richmond orientation.  Within this hour long orientation, she presented that their are four programs within ReEstalbish Richmond, which include the following: housing, agriculture, transportation, and job preparedness.  We also discussed that Bhutan, Iraq, Burma, and Cuba, were the four main countries the refugees are from, that are in this program.  We also discussed that most of these individuals are LEP (Limited English Proficiency) and ESL (English Second Language).  We were informed that this non-profits focus is on “lovingly and patiently sharing information.”  We learned that that we need to be a tour, not a case manager, and to be aware of culture that we our selves have, along with the culture the refugees have.  It was in total, a really great meeting, that gave a clearer idea of what our team will be doing.  On Sunday, we hopefully will hear from Kimberly about future dates.


Excited for this Wednesday!! About to send out an email to Mr. Walker about our recipe for this week! I’m trying to think if it should be a repeat or something different this week and then alternate. Hmmmm…IMG_2095

Volunteer Orientation

Our group had our second client meeting for ReEstablish Richmond on Wednesday September 23rd. We met with Kimberly, the director of ReEstablish, Lauren, an intern, and another group of VCU students also doing work for a class in a reserved room in the library to discuss a plan of action for the semester and have a standard introduction/orientation for volunteering. We also got a more in depth understanding for what ReEstablish Richmond specifically does for the refugee community.

There are 4 basic programs the organization focuses on: Job Preparation, Housing, Agri-Culture, and Education. ReEstablish Richmond is a non-profit organization provides culturally competent programs that meet the needs of refugees in our community. This means essentially filling in the gaps between what the government is providing for refugees and what refugees still feel they need. These things range from ESL classes and driver’s education classes, bus navigation, etc. (Education Programs). Job Fairs and community engagement events also give the refugees an opportunity to network and work on establishing a career here in  America. ReEstablish volunteers help with workshops and integrate the refugees in the community by gardening and having conversation. Kimberly provided a powerpoint slideshow elaborating on each of these things ReEstablish does for the community which gave our group a better sense of what the organization actually does.

We also discussed some useful tools for when communicating with the refugees, and for the struggles we may face because of the language barrier. I found it very interesting and important to note that the refugees are considered having Limited English Proficiency (LEP), meaning they don’t speak english or that english is not their primary language. As a room we talked out different ways it could be useful when either speaking to someone who speaks another language and also when yourself is the one who speaks the minority language. Some tools the groups suggested were gestures, patience on both sides, using a translator, finding familiarities in both languages, being educated about their culture and customs, having visuals to explain things, applying emphasis on certain words, exhausting words and rephrasing them so that the person really understands what you mean. Kimberly also went over how both groups could utilize these tools with the jobs she has given us. We are assigned to interviewing the refugees about their origin stories and experience coming to America, so we all agreed that all of the communicating tools will be useful and that we would definitely keep them in mind when conducting the interviews.

Kimberly’s powerpoint included a slide titled ‘Who is a refugee?’. We went around the room giving our perceptions of this question. A refugee is someone who has migrated from another country due to religious, ethnic, or political persecution. They are usually fleeing some sort of fear. Something I wasn’t aware of was that being a refugee is a completely legal status. They are someone that is an invited guest who has been requested by the U.S. to come over. Richmond is part of this placement and the city is actually at overcapacity. The different kinds of refugees here in Richmond, VA are all made up of Bhutan, Iraqi, Afghani, Burmese, and Cuban populations. Like Kimberly said before, we will mostly be working with the Iraqi and Afghani community.

To get a better idea of the typical day of a refugee or what it’s like when they first arrive here, Kimberly and Lauren explained the resettlement process. The refugees are provided housing , entry-level jobs, and ESL classes by the government. ReEstablish Richmond is a non-profit organization, meaning they are not paid or funded for helping the refugees. Like stated before, ReEstablish is filling the gaps of things the refugees still need, for example the non-profit provides Bus Orientation, which is a day volunteers go to the clients’ home to meet and take them on bus routes to appointments and teach them how to get around. Lauren described a refugees days as never really being typical, because in the first months getting here they are so busy with appointments and settling into their new lives. Kimberly stressed that knowing our roles at the agency was important, because you don’t want to make promises or get a client’s hopes up for something we can’t fulfill.

Overall, I think the meeting was very informative and answered a lot of the questions our group had from the first client meeting. Kimberly told us that Sunday she has a community meeting where she will get the dates for the upcoming workshops that our group will be participating in. From there, she will also inform us on things we can do leading up to the interviews. We have drafted interview questions and are emailing Kimberly with those to look over and give us feedback on so that we are prepared when the time comes to conduct the questionnaires.

Class on Tuesday Sept 23!

In class today, we did a version of a cocktail party but instead of talking about anything, we picked three characteristics about our social media habits and went around the room to find others that picked the same ones. The three things I picked were “I use Snapchat”, “I follow celebrities or famous athletes on Twitter”, and finally, “Social media is essential for a business.” The characteristic that I found to be most common was following famous people and athletes on Twitter. I think this is because of the fun and excitement people get from finding out what your favorite celebrity is thinking/doing. It is awesome to see what they do and think on a regular day. Professor Boaz and myself both think that social media is very important in a business setting because there is not better way to get your name out as quickly and as easy as social media. Finally, I found that not as many people as I thought use Snapchat. I think that Snapchat is fun and easy to use and it is a lot better than texting. Also people can post cool videos of things that they do that most of the time goes unnoticed.  All in all I thought today’s activity was fun and informative on where people stand on certain social medias.

Peter Paul Development Center: 1st Food Distribution

On Wednesday September 17th, 2014 Grettie, Tiara, and I went to help out at Peter Paul’s food distribution from 7:45 am to 11:45 am. While there Tiara and I worked with other volunteers to unload the food trucks, organize the food onto the different tables, and we also helped distribute the food to the members of the community who had came that morning. While Tiara and I did this Grettie worked more on the administrative and paper work end. She helped register all the citizens who came that day and help distribute their numbers to them. People could only be registered if they had a certain zip code and each person who was registered had to state how many adults and children were in their household. The food distribution kind of seemed unfair to me because no matter how many people lived in one house there was a set amount of food given to everyone who came in for the distribution that morning. For example, a household of ten people would get the same amount of food as a household with only one person. Another aspect of the food distribution that upset me was the fact that we had to turn people away due to where they lived and because we ran out of sources to give them.









Some of the food they got donated to them that day included whole chicken, lemon slices, lime slices, tomatoes, red peppers, green and red bell peppers, carrots, macaroni salad, lettuce heads, a lot of cantaloupes, a lot of bread, and a plentiful amount of various desserts. Every time a shipment comes in it is determined how much of each food item each family can have. On this distribution day the members of the community were allowed to receive one chicken, either one bag of limes, one bag of lemons, or one bag of carrots. They were also allowed to get one tomato, one cantaloupe, one pepper, one head of lettuce, three bags of bread, and two desserts of their choice. Since there was a limited amount of chickens not everyone who came was able to get one. Also, after everyone went through the line the first time there was still a lot of cantaloupes, multiple bags of lemons and limes, a ton of bread, and a good amount of desserts. People were then aloud to come in who were not registered for the food distribution pick up. Also, the people who were registered and already came in the first time were allowed to come in again and take more of what was left over. After all the food was gone we then helped as a group to clean up the room where we distributed all the food.






Things we can work on for bettering Peter Paul’s food distribution is to try and partner up with more food banks and food donators so less people get turned away. Also, getting more suppliers would help with the fact that they could get more meat to supplies for the people who come to the distribution, because the chicken was the first thing to go. Not even half of the people there for the distributing of the food got chicken. I honestly think that is the only thing we would need to improve, because they have an ample amount of volunteers who run the food distribution it’s just there is not enough food for everyone that comes. If we could get more food suppliers maybe we could then work on making the food distribution happen every Wednesday instead of just every first and third Wednesdays of every month. If you think about it these people truly need help with getting their food and although two distribution days do help I’m sure they run out of food before the next food distribution and that is really concerning. This is especially concerning for families who have young children whose development depends on having a well balanced diet.

Email Notes

As a reference point for the Group and Mr. Walker I have been taking and emailing notes of the emails and sending them to our group. I will include them on here too.

  • If you can, please take a picture of your group with the produce so that we can put the picture on our facebook page along with a notice that you will be offering tasty cooking treats at Rampantry.
  • I spoke to Nic, the building manager and he

said that you can use their kitchen to cook the food and you can also use their pots/pans. Nic request that we make sure that the

kitchen is cleaned before the pantry closes at 5pm on Wed.

I like the pairing example. The building manager will not allow us to pre package food because we don’t have a license to offer cooked meals.

  • There are about one/two students who are taking a Service Learning class who want to help put together a cook book, etc..What’s the best way to connect your group with the students? Thanks.
  •  I left my camera at the pantry so that you can take some pictures of the tasty samples and of

your classmates. If you decide to take pictures of anyone using the pantry, please ask their permission firs