Cleveland Foodnotbombs regrets that as a group, we will not be serving on Public Square this Sunday and it might take as long as one month until we are able to return to regular -+-food distribution. During this time we will also not be distributing food within the shelters. This will be an unprecedented break of serving for the group but it is necessary so that we can reestablish our donation supplies of food to distribute and move into a new kitchen location. Cleveland Foodnotbombs has been serving consistently at Roadway and Superior for almost the last year, every Sunday between 5 and 7pm. This winter was especially difficult because of a lack of resources to distribute, let alone the inhospitable weather.
Historically, Cleveland Foodnotbombs has received produce donations from Nature's Bin and it is usually enough to provide for our distribution needs. However, for about the last twelve weeks our supply has become dramatically cut (down to about a tenth of our usual donations). Last month, we learned this was because the West Side Foodnotbombs has also begun picking up from the same locations that we have depended on for donations. Currently the Westside Foodnotbombs is picking up twice a week (Thursday and Saturday afternoon), leaving little or nothing on Sunday in remaining produce for when we make our scheduled pick-ups. Over the last three weeks we have directly requested the Westside Foodnotbombs not pick-up the food resources that we have been using and that they work on obtaining some other donation sources, specifically because our group is getting left with insufficient amounts of food to serve and accomplish our serving tasks. Their response has been that they needed the produce for their own distribution purposes because other donation sources weren't working out for them. In trying to work out this situation, we have found that the Westside Foodnotbombs has been entirely uncooperative regarding the this conflict over donation resources and has been unwilling to leave a few boxes of produce behind so that we too have at least something to distribute in the interim.
The only specific response regarding the situation given by the Westside Foodnotbombs group and they have had numerable opportunities to communicate with us is that they would like to take a vote on the matter as a foodnotbombs group amongst their membership. However this vote gets worded, we feel this would be a divisive and conflictual manner to express and employ their group consensus in order to claim control over actual resources that affect others, outside of their group sphere. This decision making process which they seek to use would go directly against the interests, affairs and efforts of Cleveland Foodnotbombs and the individuals that we serve (none of whom will have a voice or be included in said vote). Further, the Westside Foodnotbombs is expecting Cleveland Foodnotbombs to wait until they hold such a meeting and actually take a vote. Cleveland Foodnotbombs under no terms should be expected to wait out such a vote and given that it's a decision by consensus that process could take an inordinate amount of time. Additionally Cleveland Foodnotbombs would find this group decision making process being taken by the Westside Foodnotbombs inherently unfair.
After three weeks of discussion and poor treatment which we have received, we have made the decision to take a decisive step back from the conflict. We will fall back to a temporary plan of action to see this situation toward a solution. For a temporary period Cleveland Foodnotbombs is requesting that the Westside Foodnotbombs distribute the food they are picking up from Nature's Bin at our Public Square location on Sunday from 5-7pm at Superior and Roadway on at least 3/6/2011 and ideally the next two Sundays also. The Westside Foodnotbombs being unwilling to allow us enough resources to take care of the situation ourselves needs to step up and make sure that at the very least, the people on Public Square are served on Sunday. Further, we request excess food be dropped off to one of the Shelters in Downtown Cleveland (We have been doing drop-offs to 2100 Men's shelter, the Spot/Northpoint and 2400 Women's shelter)
During this period of hiatus both groups will need to be seeking and obtaining new donation sources so that conflict at this level will not occur in the future. As long as both parties agree not to interfere with each others donation resources it possible to work at acquiring enough donations for all of either groups food needs. Cleveland Foodnotbombs also requests that both groups work together at understanding and resolving the issues between them and move forward together toward open discussion and mediation with someone qualified in conflict management to mediate between the two groups. Cleveland Foodnotbombs will return to distribution before April to it's traditional site on Public Square serving a Sunday communal meal from 5-7pm.
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