Food Canvassing

By Mason Inumerable - TOLA Fall 2019

People fuel a movement. We can stress the importance of planning agendas and strategies, but what good are those without people? A movement will not move forward without people. But how do we fuel, or incite these people to come out? Belief in our project, enjoying the team, and trying to gain experience are all possibilities. It could be all those things, but let’s not forget food. I like to think food is fuel to the movement.

I grew up enjoying food of different kinds. In college, I would search for club meetings that offered free food. I’ve learned that food is a source of happiness for many people. It brings people together and can be a great tool to use in community organizing. 

We started “food canvassing” for our Coke Boycott Rally, and ended up being wildly successful, making sure all of our attendees and volunteers were well fed. The feeling of being able to provide for everybody was immeasurable except in terms of the smiles visible on everyone’s faces. 

It has been over a month since that first food canvassing. As I go food canvassing for a new project, I feel more prepared. What especially resonated with me was our curriculum on ‘Cultivating Relationships’ which helped me focus not only on securing food donations, but also on getting to know Stockton restaurant owners. They all remembered me from when I first reached out to them. I realized these owners are an integral part of the Stockton community because they have built their niche through relationships with their customers. I now see food canvassing as more than just a way to provide for others, but also as a way for effective community organizers to cultivate relationships.