free soul food, or the Atheist food kitchen
Would it be possible to run an atheist soup kitchen? (This isn’t an entirely idle question…)
A soup kitchen needs some fixed assets (space, pots, plates), and a reliable supply of three resources:
- Perishable goods, aka groceries.
- Modest finances to cover operating costs.
Let’s assume we have an intitial investment to cover fixed costs (from municipalities, foundations, etc.). The main challenge is sustaining a flow of resources over time. So –
- Use http://www.freecycle.org/ to allow businesses and individuals to contribute borderline dated consumables. There’s more going down the drains than you need, and you’d be helping the environment at the same time. Might need to liaise with the http://www.freecycle.org/ guys to tweak their terms of service, but I don’t see a problem there.
- Use http://www.timebank.org.uk/ to recruit and time-manage volunteers.
- Use facebook causes, http://www.justgiving.com/ and similar to raise money. You can also use these and other social-net’ing tools to recruit and promote.
Now, for some administrative health:
- Use a wiki (such as wikia or google sites) to share organisational knowledge among kitchens.
- Maintain a public facing blog, with at least 2 posts a day: one informational, one opinion.
- Use google app engine to construct and manage your operations database.
- Use ZohoCRM to manage supply chains.
- List locations of your soup kitchens on http://www.google.com/local/add/businessCenter
And some PR:
- Get the right people to blog about you.
- Get some good viral videos out there on youtube.
- Publish a constant flow of heart-warming stories of champion volonteers and some heart-breaking stories of your clients.
Make a habit of innovation. Make your core service 5% more eficient each year, and use the residue to develop new services.
By the way, here in the civilised world we have an atheist soup kitchen, its called a welfare state. Not as streamlined, not as sexy, but it does keep people from freezing in the streets.
Written by yishaym
December 1, 2008 at 3:37 pm
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