I recently hung out for an entire day with four hundred fifty high school students in East Palo Alto to package one hundred thousand meals for our Something to Eat initiative. East Palo Alto is a suburb of San Francisco and is divided from Palo Alto by a freeway.
Jeremy Affeldt is not only a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. He is also a friend of Able Works. For the past two years, Able Works and his organization, Generation Alive, have partnered to host the Something2Eat Event. Something2Eat is an event where students raise money for and pack 100,000 meals in an effort to end global hunger. At this event, students learn that despite having limited resources, they can make a huge difference in the world. In his new book, To Stir A Movement, he mentions this event and the impression East Palo Alto left on him. You can read the excerpt of his book here.
“I recently hung out for an entire day with four hundred fifty high school students in East Palo Alto to package one hundred thousand meals for our Something to Eat initiative. East Palo Alto is a suburb of San Francisco and is divided from Palo Alto by a freeway. Palo Alto is a very wealthy area fueled by the success of the Silicon Valley. Apple, Google, and Facebook are some of the corporations connected to Palo Alto. East Palo Alto lies in stark contrast. About sixty-five percent of the residents of East Palo Alto are Hispanic/Latino, sixteen percent are African-American, and ten percent are Pacific Islander/Asian. Several years ago Michelle Pfeiffer starred in the movie Dangerous Minds, in which she played a teacher who taught at an East Palo Alto high school. In the movie the students’ lives were being destroyed by drugs, gang involvement, illicit sex, and crime. Living in East Palo Alto is still a dangerous reality for a young person. In the few months before our Something to Eat event, several young people were killed through drug and gang violence. However, on this day something truly unique happened. Many young people were being called out of the lives that they were trapped – in drugs, crime, gangs, violence – and suddenly finding themselves in a story of restoration and hope. They even raised money to provide food for those who were less fortunate than they. We worked hard all day, yet these teenagers didn’t want to take a break. We stopped for short five-minute breaks throughout the event to talk about and reflect on why we were doing what we were doing, exchange information about the world hunger crises, discuss the importance of taking care of each other, and share inspirational thoughts. Local artists performed street poetry that was uplifting and spiritually rich. It was amazing to see what was unfolding. The East Palo Alto Police Captain spent the day with us. He was so enthusiastic about what was happening that he was on the phone talking to the news media, reminding them that they were all at the recent murder scenes involving young people, and they needed to come see the good things young people were doing. Many of these young people found themselves caught up in participation of God’s movement of restoration and hope for the first time in their lives.
We’re dreaming now of hosting an event to package one million meals, to show teens and others that loving their neighbors and making a difference is an important part of God allowing us to participate in His movement toward restoration.”
Excerpt from Affeldt, Jeremy, To Stir A Movement: Life, Justice, and Major League Baseball (Kansas City: Jeremy Affeldt and Beacon Hill Press, 2013), p. 184-185