“Musical Plates” May 1991

May 1991

My entire family gathered together for dinner last month—my parents, brother and two sisters and myself and our respective spouses and children. It is a rare enough occasion since one of my sisters and her family live in England. It had been more than four years since we were all together in one room.

It was during this dinner that I noticed my brother-in-law and his two sons trading plates. It was obvious what was going on. They had each ordered something different and they all wanted a chance to sample what the others had ordered. “Musical plates” was the way my brother-in-law explained it.

The analogy to the children’s game was obvious. I smiled and went back to my dinner.

But I was struck by one fallacy in the analogy. In the game musical chairs, there is always one fewer chair than players. Then, of course, when the music stops there is a mad rush to get a chair, and the one who is left chairless is cut, another chair is removed, and the next round begins.

But at my family gathering, there were enough plates to go around. When the music stopped, there was still food in front of each person. If we were really going to play musical plates, we would have had to remove one of the dinners from the table, and the one without a plate when the music stopped would go hungry.

Unfortunately, we live in a world that is all too willing to play musical plates, and we play it for keeps.

The game is played on a world-wide scale with grapes from Chili, chocolate from Africa, and pineapples from Mexico. And when the music stops, most of the food ends up on our plates.

I like the game better the way my family played it, with lots of sharing and nobody getting up from the table hungry. If we must live in a world that insists on playing musical plates, can’t we change the rules?

(reprinted from pages 5-6, Rheto-Rick-ally Speaking: Celebrating 30 Years of Service by Project Understanding, by Rick Pearson)

Tenderlife Maternity Home Walk-a-thon 2017

Please join TenderLife Maternity Home on Saturday, March 4, 2017 for a WALK for our annual
“Tenderlife Maternity Home Walk-A-Thon”

River Community Church
889 E. Santa Clara Street, Ventura, CA

Registration time begins: 9:00am
Walk begins: 9:30am

If you can’t come but would like to donate to Tender Life or a specific walker…
• Sign on to the Project Understanding website, click on the “donate now” button…
• Scroll down the page, to “Designation” “Tender Life Walk”…. and then at the “additional Information” field type the sponsor’s/walker’s name.

Proceeds to benefit: Tender Life Maternity Home

Tender Life provides pregnant women with safe housing and supportive services in an environment that instills dignity and promotes self-sufficiency.

“Tender Life, where courage meets compassion to build new lives.”

Download sign up and pledge forms here

2017 Hope Worth Giving Breakfast

Project Understanding of San Buenaventura is pleased to announce its 6th Annual Hope Worth Giving Breakfast which will be held on Thursday, March 30, from 7:30 – 9:00am at the Pierpont Inn located at 550 Sanjon Rd., Ventura.

• Listen to testimonies of lives we have and continue to transform
• Learn about our programs: The Food Pantry, SHORE, Homeless to Home, Tender Life Maternity Home and our Tutoring Centers
• Learn how to get involved!

Guests will be given an opportunity to make a financial contribution at the event.

This event is generously sponsored by: The Oxnard Monday Club, On Q Financial – The Jaffe Team, Bill & Elise Kearney, Trinity Lutheran Church, The Fred Evans Team – ReMax Gold Coast Realtors.

Hope Worth Giving is free to attend; however, a RSVP is suggested. All those who plan to attend may do so by visiting www.hopeworthgiving2017.eventbrite.com

Table sponsorships are available and start at $600. For more information, please contact Lisa Marquez (805) 236-4583 or email lisamarquez1@allstate.com.

Shining Star Awards 2017

Enjoy the photo gallery from Shining Star Awards…

This month Project Understanding will serve 1,300-1,500 neighbors in need. Because most of them will be served by a volunteer, at the Shining Star Awards last week, we honored outstanding Volunteers and Community Partners! Award recipients are pictured to the left.

The “secret” awards announced on Thursday evening were: Shining Star Volunteer of the Year – Lynn Geller; Shalom Award – Karol Schulkin; Donors of the Year – Larry and Carol Dawes; Board Member of the Year – Kellie Meehan and Charleen Morla; and Employee of the Year – Janine Dykstra.

The pre-announced awards included program volunteers of the year: Food Pantry – Joanna Norstedt; First Step Center – Nita Perkins; Tutoring – David Ensminger; Tender Life – Karen Collier and Carolyn Tabor; Administrative – Gina Norstedt and Meg Perry.

Other pre-announced awards were for: Collaborating Partner – CAPS Media; Community Partner – Bejune Foundation; Business – MortgageCouch; House of Worship – St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and Ventura Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Ventura Councilmember Cheryl Heitmann served as Master of Ceremonies. Many community leaders presented awards, including several government officials: Michael Powers, Chief Executive Officer, Ventura County; Matt LeVere, Ventura Councilmember; Patti Quiroz, representing Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson; and Jeannette Sanchez-Palacio, representing Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin. County School Superintendent Dr. Stan Mantooth presented on behalf of the educational community.

Other presenters included Betsy Chess, Limoneira; Dave Schulze, Ventura Church of Christ; Sheldon Brown, Ventura Breeze; Lisa Anglin, Fidelity National Title; Rick Pearson, North Oxnard United Methodist Church (former E.D. of Project); Kevin Clerici, Downtown Ventura Partners; Aaron Shiah, ServiceMaster Restoration & Cleaning by Integrity; Suki Sir, Turning Point Foundation; and Dan Stevens, namesake of the Dan Stevens Shalom Award (former pastor of Orchard Community Church).

“When Santa Claus Dreams”

An Ode to Volunteers

Santa Claus envies me,
He dreams of riding in my van.
All he drives is a sleigh,
I volunteer for a Food Pantry!

Santa sneaks into houses.
I am invited into grocery stores.

He crawls down the chimney.
I march in at the loading dock.

Santa leaves behind a few toys.
I wheel out carts of life-giving food.

I carefully steer treasure down a long ramp
And park by my van.

I carefully transfer each item:
First, boxes of fruits and vegetables,
Next, cases of salad, hummus and pasta,
Then sausage and luncheon meats.
I chauffeur boxes of bread,
Then I will pursue pumpkins,
And embrace bouquets of flowers.

Already I can see neighbors walking through our front door:
As they come in, some will be smiling,
Some will stare at the floor, too nervous to look up,
Some will look wooden,
Some will look wounded.

Each will receive a warm hello.
They will hear questions with respect.
They will choose fruits and vegetables,
Salad, meat, bread, a pumpkin,
And flowers.

They will walk out with more than they can carry.
Smiling, they will return home
On a bus or in a car.

I feel bad for Santa Claus,
His toys run out of batteries
Or break or become boring.

The treasure in my van evicts fear,
And renews hope.