Thursday, August 19, 2010

Welcome to Higher Arky Street Friends Food Shelf, HASFFS, where all* are welcome.

At HASFFS, we pride ourselves in the finest and most healthful fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and proteins. The farmers we choose to buy from all have a bachelor's degree and most have advanced degrees. They use only organic farming methods and only non-violent techniques of conflict resolution with the people they hire to harvest their foods.

Our staff are even more highly trained than our growers are; some have their Ph.D. in fields like Sustainable Agriculture and Culinary Adventures. They are here not only to answer your most basic questions about food and cooking and healthful eating, they offer courses on Sustainable Understory Growing, Food Emotional Development and Off Grid Cooking.

But first, a few guidelines and a process for admission to our food shelf.

1. We accept applications continually throughout the year except November 15 to January 15, our busiest time of the year. Please fill out the required forms for each member of your family, including your personal chef. Be sure to provide the written references from previous food shelves and/or grocers and/or cooking instructors for everyone 7 and older, including your personal chef or cook, and send it to the address below with the non-refundable $75 application fee per person.

2. We require that children over 2 and under 7 get tested to be sure they are prepared for the rigors of healthy eating. You can find testing sites here, and it generally will cost $300-$500. All others in the family must take the Independent Food Shelf Standardized Entrance Exam, which costs only $89 for each person taking the test. Children under 2 need not be tested, but we do require they get the psychological test when they turn 2 and then when they are 7 take the IFSEE.  Personal chefs or cooks are exempted from testing if they are certified or have a degree from an approved culinary institute.

3. Once we've received all required materials and determine that you and your family meet all of our guidelines (we do not have the resources or training to deal with families who do not have a demonstrated interest or practice of eating well for good health), we will schedule a few site visits to your home to observe your eating and cooking practices, as well accompany you two times during your food shopping experiences.

4. Our goal is to ensure a good fit between your family and HASFFS and we will attend to your family's application with great care. After the site visits, we will meet with the admissions committee to determine, in the most worshipful way, whether your family demonstrates the necessary nutritional vigor we expect at the Higher Arky Street Friends Food Shelf, and will notify you within three months of your initial application.

Should you be accepted into the Higher Arky Street Friends Food Shelf, we request the first monthly payment thirty days before your grocery shopping can begin. Fees for food alone is approximately $1,500/month for a family of four. Additional costs you'll need to pay outside of the monthly fee include the cost of food, cookware, china, silverware (yes, real silver only here at HASFFS), table dressings, centerpieces and books for cooking classes, as well as transportation to and from the food shelf, and various fees for field trips to local restaurants, farms and food coops.

We understand that the average family of four in our city pays only about $1,000/month for groceries, but the quality food and cuisine we provide is far more expensive than what the average family can buy. You can't get this kind of bounty at your local free food shelf, or even at the highest end grocery store because they don't offer the kind of values-based cuisine that we can!

Also, we charge those who are able to afford this healthy bounty we offer so that we may make available some measure of financial aid for a few who are not able to afford such, including many middle class families who find our food out-of-reach. To apply for financial aid, go to the Food Shelf and Family Service website to fill out the family financial statement. Have ready all information about your assets before you begin including income; valuations for your: home, second home, third home, fourth home, fifth home, vacation home, boat, RV, private plane, private spaceship, original art and expensive jewelry; savings including retirement accounts and all that you've saved for your family's nourishment in a 589b-33 account; digital photos of your vegetable garden; a list of your available china, silverware, cookware and kitchen appliances.

Higher Arky Street Friends Food Shelf commits over $5,000,000 every year for financial aid, and over 23% of our families receive some assistance! Many of those are the middle class who don't have the resources they need to provide healthy nourishment for their families. While our food shelf doesn't come close to matching the diversity of our neighborhood, we have a diversity statement that comes from a diversity committee appointed by the board and we definitely value diversity in all its forms. Even socio-economic, which we measure only by income and assets because there aren't any other things to measure social class.

If you have any questions or concerns about the application process, financial aid, scheduling a site visit, or want to make a generous donation toward our efforts to bringing only the best to those who deserve it, don't hesitate to contact us at We at Higher Arky Street Friends Food Shelf thank you for visiting.

*By "all" we mean those who practice rigorous good nutrition and healthful eating, and strongly prefer values-based food shopping and cooking experiences. If this is not you, you might find a better fit at one of those free food shelves or warehouse food outlets.


Su said...

That statement at the Moses Brown site from the Director of the Friends Council on Education, denying that Sidwell Friends (or other Quaker schools) is an "elite" school, and that the Obamas chose it because of its values and not because it's "the Harvard of Washington, D.C. prep schools" almost made me cry--and I'm not kidding. It's one thing to be unaware, it's another to be actively denying these issues.

Jeanne said...

No kidding, Su. I'm really looking forward to the October issue of Friends Journal. In it is a piece from Irene McHenry on why we should continue to support Friends schools, as well as a piece about shutting them down--because I'm curious about what both pieces say, and I'm sure I'll want to respond.

Kathleen said...

Hmmm... thanks for the link to the FJ site. I see that they are doing the point/counterpoint thing, but not providing anything in the middle. This will essentially help people dig their heels in on the perspective they already have. I constantly see people just throwing up their hands and saying, "But there's nothing we can do!" I wish FJ had a piece in there with a specific call to action for us as Quakers. We are not going to close the schools but perhaps we could put some requirements on schools that are under our care. (Sidwell, Penn Charter, and many others are beyond this reach, but many, many of these schools have a board with a majority of Friends from the Meeting that has the school under its care.) I would love to hear some systematic thinking about how those of us with Quaker schools under our care could go about examining whether that school is a true expression of our faith and what to do about it if they aren't.

Jeanne said...


Thank you so much for commenting.

I also don't think a call to close Quaker schools will be well-met. At all. I don't think they should close--especially after talking with (and this summer visiting) folks at Wellsprings. There are MANY things we do really well. And I'm disappointed in myself for taking my FJ submission back because I don't go that far and propose we really ask ourselves questions about our faith and the schools.

Interesting that you pick out Penn Charter as "beyond our reach" because they were one of the first schools I talked to, and they were the only school I talked to that had parents who were actually working class or poor. They track the education levels of the families and think it is important to provide their elite education to kids who are the first generation going to college. After talking to them, I added a question not on my published survey about education level of parents.

It gave me one idea about a beginning step for schools and school boards too: track education level of parents, and give financial aid preference for kids whose parents never went to college (not just "has no degree" because that could mean 119 credits toward their BA, and *some* college makes a difference in financial success).

As for the FJ issue...I hope you'll find it in you to write something in response to what you read.

Unknown said...

I love the entrance requirements for your food shelf! Despite all the negativity concerning public education , it is charged with...
"All children are entitled with a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.." That means children with disabilities are included, children with behavioral difficulties are included, ALL children are included. How many children with autism or intellectual disabilities are welcome in larger Friends' schools?