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Fresno, it’s time to rally our hunger-fightin’ troops again

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UPDATE: John Arnold, the Grand Rapids guy who said it would be “humiliating” to lose to Fresno, responded to what I wrote in this post via e-mail. Read it at the bottom of this post.

ORIGINAL POST, 12/13: Fresno still sits atop the voting for Walmart’s Fighting Hunger campaign — but it’s time to rally because No. 2 is gaining on us.

One city — determined by the most community support — will be given $1 million to feed its hungry. Five other cities will get $100K from Walmart. Voting runs until Dec. 31.

Two weeks ago, Fresno sprung to a huge lead over No. 2 Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI. In the middle of last week, we were still up by as much as 6,000 votes.

This weekend, the gap closed to just about 2,500. There’s still a lot of time left, so it’s time to rally again. Tell your Facebook and Twitter friends, your e-mail list — even your MySpace peeps, if you’re still using that.

If you need some bulletin-board material to motivate you, Grand Rapid has given us some.

John Arnold, the executive director of their local chapter of Feeding America, told a Grand Rapids reporter recently: “To lose to New York City would be expected but to lose to Fresno would be humiliating.”

Mr. Arnold, if I may, both our communities are sorely in need of help to feed our hungry. If Fresno beats Grand Rapids, and more of our hungry get fed, that’s not humiliating. Hungry people are getting fed, right? Isn’t the mission of your organization? Shouldn’t you be happy either way? Even if it’s not in your backyard?

Our food hardship rate (24.1%) is higher than Grand Rapids’ (19.4%) and our populations are pretty similar — so if you’re trying to imply either we don’t need the help or somehow we aren’t on par with your community, well that’s just rubbish.

We’ll just take that jab as a bit of No. 1 spot envy.

RESPONSE FROM JOHN ARNOLD

He e-mailed this earlier today:

Good morning,

Nobody should be taking any of this personally. I’m sure Fresno is a very nice city. So is Grand Rapids. We’d each like our city to win. Hungry people will get fed. It’s all good, and we’re all doing cheer-leading for our city. The point I was trying to make was that we expected to lose out to a city or cities much bigger than ours is, but that if the competition is a city about our same size, there is no good reason for us to not win, especially because of how creatively the funds are likely to be used if we do win.

Within the anti-hunger community, the Grand Rapids area is known for its research, innovation and free sharing of more efficient and more effective approaches. Few communities in the U.S. have not copied and benefitted from our work. So anti-hunger dollars here do more than just feed needy people here; they feed people here and help improve charity food services nationwide.

Just as I have always been a fan of the Green Bay Packers and rejoiced in their beating “big city” teams, I am thrilled that this Walmart competition has come down to a horse race between two of America’s smaller cities. I think that says a lot of good about both Fresno and Grand Rapids. I just hope that in the end one of the two of them does win it.

John

VOTE: Fresno, CA: Walmart Fighting Hunger

PREVIOUSLY: Fighting hunger and making Fresno better through your online votes

Responses to "Fresno, it’s time to rally our hunger-fightin’ troops again"

kiel says:

Fresno will buttdrag Grand Rapids and they say it will be humiliating.

Wow says:

“To lose to Fresno would be humiliating,” he says.

Well, at least they’ve heard of us in Grand Rapids.

I think this link should help the nice folk of Grand Rapids:
http://bit.ly/FeedGrandRapids

MsJoey says:

Awesome.
So when we win, we can utilize their more efficient and more effective approaches.
win-win.

Genevieve says:

MsJoey, I love your response LOL.

kiel says:

Since when are Grand Rapids and Fresno similar size cities? According to Wikipedia and 2000 Census, Fresno is the 35th largest city in the US. Grand Rapids is the 114th largest city in the US.

Mike Oz says:

The metro areas are closer than the populations in the cities themselves.
Approx: 780K vs. 1m.

bradley says:

that dude still sounds snotty.

I noticed that on our community “Like” page there is a list of organizations to contact regarding “More Ways to Help”. I wonder if they are directly involved in this campaign in any way? Anyone know?

Conlan says:

I accept the dude’s explanation. Obviously hunger is a serious issue, and a lot of cities are going to “lose” in this promotion, but I don’t see anything wrong with some friendly competition. So, that being said, let’s beat the pants off those Grand Rapidians.

Claire L says:

Well, La Tee Da….

Perhaps Mr. Awwwwe-nald should meet Mike McGarvin: A man who knows how to be proud of what his city has done to feed the hungry and be kind and considerate in the process. I don’t think Mr. McGarvin would know how to be such a pompous arse if you paid him.

Joy says:

A challenge:

Anyone who has a band page, or a public person page, or a community organization page, share the link on that page to get the word out to all your “fans” and “likes”. Use your notoriety for the good of your community, and say a little something encouraging all your friends and fans to pass the link on and comment as well.

FresnoBeehive has done it. I did it to my limited capacity. Every public person and organization in this community should be doing it, no matter how you personally feel about Walmart, or whether or not your organization has anything to gain from it.

Fresno can beat Grand Rapids. And should.

Chi says:

Hello,

As a resident of Grand Rapids I can honestly say that I wish you luck, I also hope my city wins, I think there is a significant size difference between our two cities in terms of population, but I also agree that people everywhere are starving.

We in Michigan have taken many blows in the last 10 years to our manufacturing industries along with other jobs being outsourced. Not only that but in Grand Rapids Public Schools has over 80% of students in the area receiving free or reduced lunch due to the income levels of the families in the area (There are news stories that can confirm this; my sons’ old school actually was at about 98% free or reduced lunches and that was with just over 400 students).

With that said, I honestly can’t blame Mr. Arnold for wanting to get our community involved and fired up to try and win this. We do need it, but to say that any of these cities are more deserving than the other is wrong. Yours or ours. Though I will say “friendly” competition is welcome!

Thank you for your time and good luck to Fresno as well!

Sincerely,
Chi

Claire L says:

“Friendly” competition has nothing to do with low level put downs and jabs. Which is what your Mr. Arnold pulled with his biting statement and pompous followup email.

“Chi” in a round about way you JUST stated that your city is more worthy…
and you ‘came’ over here to do it. You assume that we have not taken our “blows” as well. I take it you don’t read/watch/know about current events outside your area. The fruit basket of the world is going to bed hungry.

Don’t you think your time would be better spent rallying your city? Luckily, our beehive readers have started, already, for ours.

Chi says:

Claire,

Actually, I am quite well read and do read news articles, blogs and other things outside of my area (Or why would I be here) and truthfully worldwide on a daily basis. I think you have misunderstood me and that is why you decided to reply in the manner that you did to me. I was sincerely wishing Fresno luck because I got sick of the below the belt bashing from BOTH sides. I was trying to show some goodwill and initiative by coming here and chatting with those of you in the Fresno area.

To quote you: “Chi” in a round about way you JUST stated that your city is more worthy…
and you ‘came’ over here to do it. You assume that we have not taken our “blows” as well. I take it you don’t read/watch/know about current events outside your area. The fruit basket of the world is going to bed hungry.”

I never “JUST stated” anything of the sort in a roundabout way or otherwise. You are implying an awful lot from something very innocent and not intended to be offensive or demeaning. I did give some statistics of our area to possibly shed light on why Mr. Arnold decided to speak the way he did as he seems to be passionate about what he does even though I think he has a bit of Foot-in-Mouth syndrome judging from the news articles he has been quoted in (Which most interviews I take with a grain of salt, because I know sometimes things said get cut out by reporters) but I DID state:

“We do need it, but to say that any of these cities are more deserving than the other is wrong. Yours or ours.”

and

“I also agree that people everywhere are starving.”

You also finished your biting retort with: “Don’t you think your time would be better spent rallying your city? Luckily, our beehive readers have started, already, for ours.”

You are assuming that I haven’t been asking my Facebook friends to vote or talking to news organizations and other groups in my city. As a matter of fact I probably had some of my family voting for other communities, probably in your area too (As I do have family and friends in CA and in some of the other communities that are in on this challenge). So I know a bit of the “blows” your community and CA in general has had also.

I have looked at Fresno’s statistics too because I was curious and wanted to educate myself on what is going on in your neck of the woods. I figured it might be interesting to come here and read up on stuff and maybe converse. I am all for people getting involved in their communities! We need more of it EVERYWHERE! I think it is wonderful that Fresno is also in the running, you guys deserve it too!

You called Mr. Arnold a pompous arse in one of your earlier posts. However, judging from your reply to me, I would say you are no ambassador of goodwill for Fresno either. Maybe when someone tries to show a little goodwill and initiative you should sit back and actually read it with an open mind instead of constantly looking for hidden meanings or agendas.

As a side note to other readers, I am sorry to the readers of the Beehive for the length of this post and the tone it has sadly taken. I was actually wanting to come here to chat with you all. Apparently, I am not welcome and I am sorry to have bothered anyone with my presence. Again, good luck and have a good night!

Sheesh. One person comes over to The BeeHive to try to offer and olive branch and people bite their head off. Really? Can we just say: “here’s to a spirited and healthy competition” and leave it at that?

Brian L Baker says:

Grand Rapids, where even the rich folks aren’t smart enough not to come in from out of the cold.

Claire L says:

I had something rather long typed out and realized it would be a complete waste of others time to read.

So I will state that you back peddle beautifully.

Claire L says:

The shame is that this became a ‘competition’ at all. It’s a shame that Mr. Arnold had to make a dig instead of just rally the troops.

I’m quite proud of how Mike handled his response. It shows what the masses SHOULD be feeling “Let’s feed people… I want to feed the people I share my living space with… but let’s just feed people” …
and not put down an entire community in the process.
I hope following comments will take his lead.

My response to Chi comes from a place of exasperation with the put down of a community that IS trying, yet continues to be the butt of jokes. I also did not read a sincere emotion in the statement…only the defense of a mean comment.

I still think Mr. Arnold is a jerk based off of his comment. I still think Chi wasn’t offering an olive branch so much as a bare stick… but I don’t see Grand Rapids in a bad light because of them.

Heather says:

I agree with Angel.

I think what’s getting lost in all this is that hunger is a real problem, and people need to be fed. In all cities. This discussion is getting way off-topic, with people arguing about population stats and some guy’s tone of voice in an email.

This competition isn’t about ego or pride or winning. It’s about recognizing that folks need help. I hope those who are arguing on here take the time to give a couple of cans of food to the many organizations around town who are collecting this season, whether or not Fresno gets this money.

Chukknob says:

I think most commentors on this blog care way too much about how other people feel about Fresno and spend way too much time discussing it. Fresno has been picked on my whole life and always will. The more people try to defend ignorant remarks about Fresno the more attention is drawn to the comment and the possibility others think it’s true. If your prideful of your hometown or where you live do yourself a favor and ignore the haters.

Also, people are so sensitive to any remark about Fresno that all ability to determine if it’s actually meant as an insult is pushed aside and immediately were on the defensive. Clearly he was drawing the comparison of New York City’s population in comparison to Fresno.

Conlan says:

Yeah, we’re all on the same anti-hunger team. I don’t think anyone was out of line, really. In the grand scheme of things, this barely warrants a blip on the radar of “Questionably Rude Things Someone Said About Fresno.”

Now, I think it’s time we put aside our differences and started really hammering on San Antonio. Just who do those SOBs think they are?

Travis says:

Chi, Claire does not speak for Fresno. Let’s feed the hungry. I sincerely hope Fresno wins…but I also hope this effort raises the awareness in both communities. Feeding the hungry is more than a simple “like” button. Let’s use the money (whether $1m or $100k) to make real change.

Claire, your soapbox is…never mind. Just help spread the word. I will not say anything more.