FYSOP 24 Hunger Volunteers…get ready for an a-maize-ing week!

Dear Hunger Volunteers,

 Welcome to FYSOP 24! We hope you’re excited to pull up your chair and dig into the feast of knowledge and community service that we have cooked up for you.  The theme of the menu we have prepared centers around our viewing of the food system as a whole, following the journey from seed to fork, and focusing on the parts of the system we can improve. 

 Our work this week will range from harvesting Swiss chard in a community garden to organizing furniture in a thrift store that serves to provide funding for a community food pantry.  Your educators will include experts from the Boston area who are dedicated to solving problems related to hunger, your wonderful staff leaders, and even each other, as you open your minds to new experiences. 

 We hope these experiences plant the seed for a lifelong commitment to nourishing positive change in your community.  The friendships and memories that you create are some of the leftovers you will take far beyond this week of service.  Now the table is set and it’s time to serve our community.

Peas and love,

Laura and Ben 

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Travel Itinerary!

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Moving off to college is so exciting but can be hectic with all the packing and traveling. Fortunately for you FYSOPers we try to make the transition as smooth as possible! Please take ONE MINUTE to fill out the mandatory FYSOP Travel Itinerary form. If your moving in from around the corner and just bringing one suitcase, or flying in from abroad and shipping all of your life’s belongings, we need to know your story! Where are you coming from? How are you getting here? Do you need a pick-up from the airport?

Help us make Move-In Day on August 26th a fun and exciting day by filling out your travel itinerary at http://fysoptravelitinerary.eventbrite.com/. This way we can welcome you to campus right when you arrive!

Site Visit: The Open Door

The Open Door is an amazing organization working to alleviate the impact of hunger on the greater Gloucester community.

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Their services include:

  • A food pantry, which provides an individualized experienced to those in need of groceries
  • The Community Meals program , which serves free dinner 5 nights a week
  • The Mobile Market, which distributes free, fresh produce to qualified households
  • Second Glance Thrift Store, which helps to fund the organization’s hunger relief programs

Other aspects of Open Door include a summer lunch program for kids, assistance in applying for food stamps, a food rescue program, a job training program, and an on-site garden.

One of the most powerful topics that came up during our site visit was the idea of viewing hunger from a public health perspective, meaning that individuals have the right not just to any food but to nutritious, fresh food as the basis of a healthy life. We will be sending volunteers to both the pantry site and the thrift store to provide a comprehensive view of how a small non-profit is able to run and fund so many great services.

Site Visit: ReVision Urban Farm

8847_10151737971462433_427932386_nAnother great site we visited recently is ReVision Urban Farm in Dorchester. ReVision began as a small garden in 1990 to serve individuals staying in Victory Programs’ nearby family home, a shelter for 22 homeless parents and their children. The project has since grown to include 3 abandoned lots that have been transformed into green space. The partnership of the family home and farm works to increase self-sufficiency and knowledge of nutrition, while allowing its residents to search for more permanent housing and build job-readiness skills.

ReVision Urban farm is an innovative community-based urban agriculture project that grows high-quality and affordable produce. It to provides access to affordable, nutritious and culturally appropriate food to its family shelter residents and the extended community. The three main goals of the farm are:

  • small-scale, green, economic development
  • community food security
  • job training and education for youth and Boston’s homeless


On the farm, we met our site contact, Jolie, and had a great morning folding produce boxes, weeding beds and harvesting turnips for the farm’s Community Supported Agriculture program.

Volunteers should be ready to get their hands dirty!

Get excited to be part of a powerful movement to bring fresh, healthy food to the city.

Site Visit: The Food Project

mosaicc88354adac750429f799b42613c2c85e06a34b0eOn a beautiful Tuesday morning in June, we excitedly boarded the 47 bus with Alex and Ashley, the FYSOP 24 Environment coordinators, for our second site visit. As we reached Dorchester, a luscious green landscape rose amidst the houses and paved streets and we could see volunteers hard at work beginning their day at The Food Project’s Boston farm.

We met our site contact, Elena, and one of the program’s farmers, Jess, before getting to work harvesting rainbow chard and collard greens for TFP’s first farmer’s market of the season. The four of us had a grand old time basking in the summer sun as we harvested, weeded, and generally got covered in dirt. It isn’t hard to see how the farm serves as a wonderful retreat from the everyday urban life and serves as an amazing resource for the surrounding community.


“The Food Project’s mission is to create a thoughtful and productive community of youth and adults from diverse backgrounds who work together to build a sustainable food system. Our community produces healthy food for residents of the city and suburbs, provides youth leadership opportunities, and inspires and supports others to create change in their own communities.” – The Food Project mision statement


The Food Project (TFP) farms 40 acres between its sites in Boston, Beverly, Lincoln, and Lynn, producing over 250,000 pounds of food annually. This food is grown with the help of teens and volunteers (including FYSOPers!) and distributed to hunger relief organizations and farmer’s markets in low-income neighborhoods.The Food Project engages local teens through its youth programs, and strives to improve access to healthy food for the entire community by supporting the construction of home gardens, promoting the purchasing of fresh produce at low cost, and running seasonal workshops about health and food.

We love The Food Project and can’t wait you have you all volunteer there!



First Site Visit for FYSOP 24: The Greater Boston Food Bank

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Hello FYSOPers, FYSTAFF, and general online community,

Hope you’re all getting hungry for a hearty serving of FYSOP this year.  We certainly are and are thrilled to report to you all that we, your sensational coordinators, went on our very first site visit to the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB as the cool kids call it).  Making the daring journey was no easy feat.  We had to walk down stairs, open doors, and cross a street after the white walk signal disappeared, forcing us to take a gamble on our lives, crossing the street with only the blinking “don’t walk” signal guiding us across the four lanes of peril that is Commonwealth Avenue.  After arriving at the GBFB, we were quickly welcomed and went up to meet our wonderful site contact Amy, who showed us around the facility and gave us a thorough run through of what our volunteers would be doing on site this year.  We don’t to give away too much on what you’ll be doing (it’s better if it’s a surprise) but are thrilled to give you the low down and some stats on the functions of the GBFB.

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  • The mission of the GBFB is to end hunger in eastern Massachusetts
  • As a food bank, the GBFB stores and distributes food to smaller hunger-relief agencies that then serve hungry individuals.
  • Last year alone the GBFB distributed almost 41 million pounds of food.  If you do the math (good thing we had an abacus on hand) that translates to healthy meals for 545,000 people.

Hi FYve,

Ben and Laura


Welcome to FYSOP24 Hunger!

Hey ya’ll!

We are Ben and Laura, your FYSOP24 Hunger coordinators, and we are thrilled to be working for you this summer. We will share our progress with you as our issue area takes shape but we already have a lot in store for you. Hunger is an issue close to our hearts and we can’t wait to share this passion with you as we welcome you to Boston University this August.

Peace, love, nomz.

Benjamin Suehler and Laura Kakalecz

Finally, We Have Watched The Hunger Games

Hey FYSOPers,

There are seven days until FYSOP! The staff arrive for training in only two days and we can’t wait to get the ball rolling! We’re both amazed at how quickly the summer flew by and we can’t wait to meet all of you!

Any who, if you haven’t notice yet, the theme for the Hunger issue area this year is the Hunger Games. Kinda easy and a little cheesy, we know, but we couldn’t pass it up. All summer we’ve been typing things up in Hunger Games font and photoshopping our faces onto characters bodies… but the problem was we had never seen the movie. So I manned up on Saturday, went down to Newbury street, and picked up a copy of the Hunger Games. I gotta say, I was more impressed with the film then I thought I would be. There was so much suspense! Colin might have cried a couple of times, but wouldn’t admit to it. Maybe I’ll read the book (if I ever have time).

Now that we’ve finally seen the movie, we’re excited for our own Hunger Games, FYSOP 23 Style. It’s time for us to get our hands dirty. It’s time to plant some sustainable crops. It’s time for us to feed the hungry. It’s time for us to learn and grow more. It’s time for us to ride the pony. It’s time for FYSOP!

Food, Inc.


Hey FYSOPers!

So as you know, this summer Colin and I have been doing a lot of reading about the food industry in America (see The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Eating Animals). Yesterday, I decided to learn more about the food industry on the big screen. Food, Inc., a 2008 film by Robert Kenner, takes the stories and issues from Food Nation, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and Eating Animals and brings them to life. Part of the problem with the food industry is that no one actually sees what’s going on behind the scenes, so Food, Inc. aims to lift the curtain. The film covers a range of topics from the American dependence on genetically modified corn to the mistreatment of migrant workers in slaughterhouses. Almost every topic the film makers touch on has been something that Colin and I have been researching this summer and something that we’re trying to pass on to the FYSOP volunteers.

I was personally amazed at how well this documentary was done. I didn’t feel like the goal was to sicken people with grotesque images, but rather to provide hard-hitting facts that would make the viewer truly think about what they’re putting in their bodies.The movie ends with the optimistic point that we, the consumers, have the power to change the food industry. Every time we choose to buy healthier and sustainable food, we are voting to make these options the more affordable norm. Some people think that choosing to buy more sustainable won’t be enough, because how can one person change an entire system? But think about the tobacco industry over the past 20 years, a prime example of a large system with a lot of financial stability that was taken down by the choices of consumers.I think this film and FYSOP will help restore your faith in the choices of people. People are capable of doing anything… they just need to put the work in.

I highly suggest checking out the film’s trailer (posted below) or watching it online if you have a Netflix account!

Stay hungry for change,

Spotlight on the Greater Boston Food Bank

This week we wanted to write about another great site that we will be sending volunteers to. The Greater Boston Food Bank is the largest food relief organization in New England and their goal is to end hunger in Eastern Massachusetts. They use the help of over 14,000 volunteers (that includes you guys!) annually to help distribute food to over 545,000 people in Mass. Check out the video link above to learn some more mind-blowing facts about the Greater Boston Food Bank. Colin and I really like this video because it shows just how far the service we’ll be doing at FYSOP goes. Even if you don’t see the end result, it’s important to remember that even the small things that we do to help means that somebody can eat tonight.