Tuesday, April 15, 2014

ask, then listen.

Some of you will get this, some of you will not. I'm having problems with a relationship, big problems. I prayed for guidance. I went on about my business working in the back yard. We have a lemongrass plant in a pot that was in desperate need of water, so I watered it. The next morning I was on the back porch doing my morning thing and the lemongrass plant was standing up looking happy. I laughed and said thank you. The lesson? Throw some water on it. :) Relationships need to be nurtured, attended to, regular care and occasional pruning. I got it.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

the acceptance speech

Thank you, thank you.
Thank you Palm Beach County. My name is Allan Hendricks and I am YOUR Equality Florida, Palm Beach County Meet Up Organizer. At least that is what it says on my business cards.

First off, I would like to thank Equality Florida for bringing me along on this journey with them. They have been patient with me, supportive and always willing to give me a fair hearing when I had concerns or suggestions. That shows confidence and able leadership in my view. I’d like to thank Stratton for answering the phone many years ago and saying, “Yes, we have something for you to do.”

The journey has been awesome. I have received and education I did not know I wanted. I have had the chance to meet the most awesome people along the way. I’ve learned organizing, event production; political lobbying and I have had the great fortune to bring a message of hope to LGBT High School students. Just being in the fight has been rewarding. There were times when the journey included complete heartbreak. Loosing the amendment 2 fight by two points and the murder of Ryan Skipper were low points, but on the whole, I would do it all again.

I have had the unique opportunity to be an inside / outsider within the organization. I feel with that unique experience with Equality Florida, I need to give you all my findings. Having worked with this organization for eight years, these are my findings; I have found the organization and the people within it to be smart. Smart to the level of wise. I have seen them meet adversity with grace and maturity and a steely spine. They are energetic, and assertive. They are politically well connected inside of Florida and nationally. I have found this organization to be excellent stewards of every dollar that comes into the organization. They have patiently and persistently built the support base that covers Florida. This foundation is exactly what we will need to win equality in Florida.
We are doing everything we need to be doing to win, but we will not win without effort.

Most importantly, I would like to thank Javier, my spouse, the love of my life for being right beside me the entire time. Javier has been drug to more city commission meetings, more fund raisers, more rallies, town halls and pride events than he wanted to. He’s been coerced into more campaigns, including my own, than he wanted to, been the political widow many nights and has stood with me through it all and for that I am thankful. Thank you, I love you, Happy 10th Anniversary.

What a journey it has been. I would not change a thing.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Hunger in Palm Beach County? Who knew?

Florida is one of seven states with a significantly higher number of households with food insecurity problems than the U.S. national average.
In Palm Beach County alone, as many as 17 percent of residents - 1 in 6 people - do not know where their next meal will come from. More than 180,000 Palm Beach County residents rely on Food Stamps for survival (a 300% increase since 2008).
Hunger affects every dimension of a person's life - physical and mental health, employment, and additionally, for children, school success.
Can we eliminate or at least reduce hunger in Palm Beach County?

Who is Hungry?
The 211 Crisis Helpline has seen a 30% jump in the number of calls for food over the past 12 months.  A survey conducted by Feeding America reports that fully 17% of Palm Beach County residents are “food insecure” which means that close to 225,000 are unsure where their next meal is coming from. (Palm Beach County Food Bank information)
Recent data tells us why hunger in Palm Beach County is today at record levels:
• More than 2,000 homeless residents
• 190,000+ residents currently receive supplemental nutrition assistance benefits.  This represents nearly a 300% increase from 2008.
• 57% of Palm Beach county students receive free or reduced-price lunch.
What Are We Doing About It?
There are more than 100 agencies in Palm Beach County that help to feed the hungry. These agencies range from small churches that may distribute a bag of non-perishable food once every three months to larger organizations that serve hundreds of thousands of meals in one year. These organizations exist in every municipality within Palm Beach County from Boca Raton to Tequesta to the western communities of Belle Glade, South Bay, and Pahokee.
In 2012, the Palm Beach County Food Bank distributed over 5 million pounds of food to dozens of agencies in Palm Beach County that serve the hungry; at least 35 million pounds of food is needed each year.
For a complete list of those organizations that feed the hungry, please see 211 Palm Beach /Treasure Coast, Inc.

Palm Beach County
         16.26 percent of the Palm Beach County population is food insecure, with 212,530 people not knowing from where they will get their next meal. 
         61 percent of the food insecure population in Palm Beach County qualify based on income for SNAP (food stamps) and other federal nutrition programs, while 39 percent do not and often must rely on emergency food assistance programs and need better wages and employment opportunities to help them meet their basic needs. 
         $2.97 is the average price per meal in Palm Beach County.
         The food budget shortfall in Palm Beach County per person per week is $15.96, with a total shortfall of $102,905,240 or 34,648,229 meals.
                  23.9 percent of children in Palm Beach County are food insecure, meaning, 64,080 children go to bed hungry.  
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