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Life Feel Good Program

"No More Hunger Project"

 

From the Desk of Mark Studin DC

      When I was on the Executive Board of Directors (President) of the New York Chiropractic Council, as an organization we decided to make a difference in our state by feeding the hungry. We raised 100,000 lbs. of food for the hungry and got a tremendous amount of press in recognition of our efforts. When I retired from politics, I decided that I wanted to continue locally and created a "No More Hunger Project" in my county (Suffolk County, New York) and raised 100,000's lbs. of food for the hungry at the local level.

     It was easy and fulfilled the spirit. I first had to identify who the recipient of the food would be and how to get it there. As in any business, the infrastructure is the key to success and failure, and I had to create a system to make the "end game" work. How to manage the logistics once the food was collected was where I started. I chose a food pantry that helped families on "workfare." These were people that worked, but had to make a choice of feeding, clothing or sheltering their families. These families were below the poverty level, but worked and had to make a decision, as they could only afford 2 of the 3 necessities in life. Food was the variable and over 13,000 families monthly used this pantry to survive. Therefore, I choose Smithhaven Ministries as my recipient for food after I did a background check to ensure the validity and integrity of this organization. Transportation was the next challenge. I approached Davlen Associates who builds office components for chiropractors (front desks, report of finding modules) nationwide, as they had to use trucks to get their products delivered. They agreed to pick the food up locally and deliver it to the food pantry on my schedule (I am getting to that).

    Now that I had my infrastructure in place, I could initiate the "No More Hunger Program." This program was designed for the children in our community to realize their power as individuals and integral parts of the solution to a worldwide epidemic. It was about fixing the world one community at a time by effecting powerful changes locally. I went to the school systems in our county and created a competition to see which school district could raise the most food per student and then offered a reward to the student government of the high school in the winning district. Every school district has elementary schools that feed into junior high or middle schools that feed into high schools. Eventually, every child in the district ends up in their respective high school. Therefore, everyone in the school district eventually benefits from winning by giving the prize to the student government in the high school. I started with a local college and went to an education fraternity to recruit volunteers to go to each high school and talk to the student government representatives. I spent 1 hour with the college students explaining the program so they could be my ambassadors of good will. College fraternities and sororities have requirements to participate in community services and you are helping them by giving them a project to participate in.

    Once I had my army prepared, I went to the mayor, state assemblyman, state senator and any other locally elected officials, and got them to endorse the program in writing. With this information, I went to Newsday, the most widely circulated daily newspaper on Long Island, and submitted a news release that said: The "No More Hunger Project" is looking to recruit every school district in Suffolk County to raise food for the hungry. The food will be distributed locally and there will be a prize of $5,000 to the student government of the high school in the winning district. This program has been endorsed by New York State Senator's Ken LaValle and Cesar Trunzo and is coordinated by Dr. Mark Studin, a local chiropractor. To sign up your school, call Dr. Studin at 631-786-4253." The newspaper carried the article and my phone literally "rang off the hook." I used my own funds the first year for the prize money; you don't have to. Go to local merchants and organizations and get them to donate the funds.

    During my second year, I went to every lawyer that I did business with and got them to collectively donate the prize money. The prize doesn't have to be $5,000, it could be $1,000, as the money is the not the goal; it's to raise the food. The money simply gets people's attention. Once I got the school systems lined up (I had 14 school districts to participate), I created a schedule to keep the food pantry full the entire school year. Each month of the school year, a different district was responsible for raising food. As I had 9 months and 14 districts (I omitted December because during the holidays the community was very giving and the pantry full), I divided the districts into each month, allowing May and June to be the multiple districts months to overload the pantry to help during the summer months. I then sent my college fraternity members to speak to each district's high school student government. They instructed the students to go to each junior high school and elementary school and make presentations to the PTA's and the students directly, to teach their district how to raise food.

They were very creative and each school created their own competition with the best of:

  1. Poster to raise hunger awareness
  2. Song to raise hunger awareness
  3. Program to raise food
  4. Story to raise hunger awareness


     These were just a few of the programs that the individual schools created to raise awareness to collect food. The student government gave awards in the form of certificates to the winners. As each school does not have the same student population, we had to create fair criteria for the prize. The formula was that the most pounds per student would win the prize. Therefore, we suggested that the math club of the school be responsible for weighing the food and then calculating the lbs./student and submitting to me a report for public record to determine the winner. This gave me not only a verifiable way of determining the victor, but also an independent accounting of how much food was raised. Once the schedule was set, the student government representative was given the number of the trucking company and it was the responsibility of each school district to have 2-3 pick-up sites for their month. The trucking company would pick up the food and deliver it to the food pantry for distribution... Simple. At the end of the year, 100,000's lbs. of food were collected and families survived. This was all accomplished because children in kindergarten and 1st grade and 2nd grade and 3rd grade, etc., made it happen. A 7-year-old changed the world...Yes they had help with the 12- and 15-year-old children and their parents, but it was a very simple solution when everyone worked together.

    Regarding your time, this should take very little of it. Beyond a few phone calls and a meeting with the college students, there should be little for you to do outside your office, other than calculate the food collected and determine the winner. Initially, you only need to get endorsements and raise the money if you choose not to fund it yourself. On a much lesser note, I unexpectedly received a lot of press in the local papers that brought attention to my practice. This was a good thing, yet not the goal. If you need help, call me or e-mail me.

Mark Studin DC
631-786-4253

drmark@teachdoctors.com

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