About Cotton Rohrscheib

Cotton has a diverse business background and a passion for helping the homeless. He has been involved in several start-ups over the years ranging from software to agriculture to hamburgers, and has been known to think outside the box. Cotton can’t swing a hammer and has full-blown ADHD, in fact he has been told that he could tear up an anvil with a feather, but he hopes to make a difference by lending his creative talents and oversight to the vision and mission of The One, Inc.You can learn more about Cotton at his blog & podcast at cottonrohrscheib.com.

Make Plans to Attend Field Hands on Saturday, August 18th!!!

Please make plans now to attend the first annual ‘Field Hands’ Event / Fundraiser for The One, Inc. at the White Water Tavern on Saturday, August 18, 2012 at 8pm. The cost to get into the show is only $10 @ the door and the proceeds go to benefit “The Field”.  The headline artists include: The Salty Dogs, Monkhouse, and Jody Evans plus other friends and guests. Watch for details and announcements regarding the event as well as how you can have your own, limited-edition Field Hands T-Shirt!  Just keep your eyes on the website…

By the way, you can RSVP for the event on Facebook. (Please share the event page with as many people as you can so we can have an awesome turnout!!)

Sneak Peak at the Field Hands T-Shirt Design:
Stay tuned to our website for details on how you can get one!!

 

Sync Weekly Does Great Story on The Field…

Recently Sync Weekly did a great story on The Field, you can read the story on their website here…

If you plant a seed, it will grow. It’s not a concept that’s beyond Aaron Reddin, though he admits to not being much of a gardener. It’s also not a bad metaphor for Reddin’s

efforts to help the homeless and impoverished, which once included him handing out food and supplies from his Yaris. Then there was The Van. Then there were more vans and more cities with vans. Now there’s The Field.

As dark storm clouds promise the first rain in what seems like ages, high winds kick up the finely tilled dirt of The Field, filling shoes and blinding eyes out on North Little Rock’s Faulkner Lake Road. Reddin can barely contain his excitement, not just over the imminent and much-needed downpour but over the day’s haul of squash — The Field’s “first fruits.”

The idea here isn’t exactly rocket science. The plan is to use The Field’s two acres (and potentially five more next door, if dreams come true) to grow fresh produce to be handed out to the homeless. The plan is twofold, though. First, it provides food for those without any. Second, it also provides work for those without any, because those benefiting from the field often will also be those working it.

“With this whole thing, the options are really endless,” said Reddin as he led a tour of the grounds, pointing out rows of green beans, purple hull peas, okra, corn, squash, tomatoes, peppers and … well, something. He’s not a gardener. But he does know that over a small rise toward the back of the property there are watermelons.

“Imagine you live outside here in Arkansas. And it’s summer and it’s hot as hell. Now imagine someone rolls up to give you a fresh-grown watermelon that’s been on ice overnight,” said Reddin. “It’s not going to fix every problem in your life, but it’s sure going to help you forget how crappy it is for just a few minutes.”

Maybe that’s enough, at least for some. But as Reddin has taken his relief efforts directly to the homeless — whom he calls friends, not homeless — over the years, rolling The Van into woods and camps and hand-delivering food or clothes or offering a ride or a shower, it’s not uncommon for the first question to be about a job.

“I would say 50 percent of the people on the street, the first thing they ask is do you know where I can find some work,” Reddin said. “Now I can say, yeah, dude, I do. You want work? Come on.”

At least, it’ll get to that point. The Field, which is a cooperative effort between Reddin’s The One Inc. and The People Tree Inc., is still in the building phase right now, and missed out on much of the spring planting season. Long-term plans call for hoop houses and irrigation for year-round planting and harvest. Chicken coops will offer eggs and fertilizer. A tree on the edge of the property already has a bee colony living in it, and one project will be enticing them to move into a hive box that’s going to be built. Even a tree house will offer shelter and a wage for a night watchman. There’s room at the front of the property for produce stands and maybe a farmers market — or, if not on site, then in conjunction with one of the many operating in the metro. Workers can grow what they need and sell the rest. The larger fields can support the charity efforts. A seed bank could generate some extra income. Those other five acres, if they can be purchased, could support livestock. Reddin’s ideas go on and on.

“There’s no model that I know of that we’re trying to follow in what we do, so every day is a new day,” he said.

Though without a model, Reddin is not without expectations. He noted a news article he read about a one-acre urban farm in Illinois producing three million pounds of food in a year. The Field has twice that much land already.

“If we can pull six million pounds of food a year from this, there’s no reason we can’t whack into that nasty number we have here in Arkansas that says we’ve got more hungry kids here than in a lot of other places,” he said.

That it’s all possible is thanks to a handful of partners. Among them are Reddin’s co-organizers of The Field, a nonprofit called The People Tree, which has a hand in a number of community gardens in the area. They’re the ones who know how and what to plant, said Reddin.

“I have not a green thumb one,” he said.

The land itself, and its associated buildings, came by way of a friend who leased it for a business that didn’t work out. A 15,000-square-foot warehouse on site was slowly given over to storage for The One’s outreach and the tons of donated clothing it receives. Eventually, the building’s space was converted into useful rooms for laundry and a community room, but there’s also room for classes on growing and planting. A grant being pursued by People Tree would fund the installation of a commercial kitchen. Another will fund irrigation systems. Even though plans are in place to harvest rainwater and nearby standing water (it’s been tested and approved for watering), Reddin said the water bill is the most daunting obstacle right now.

But help may also come from unexpected quarters, too. Reddin said he’d been contacted out of the blue by producers representing P. Allen Smith, well known locally and nationally for his gardening programs. What may develop is yet to be determined.

“Our producers have inquired about this project, but we have not decided to participate,” wrote Mimi San Pedro, chief operating and marketing officer for P. Allen Smith, in an email. Still, the helping hands, wherever they come from, are most welcome, said Reddin.

“The only things I’m confidently able to do are see, drive and break things,” he said. “I broke a water hose the other day. How does that even happen?”

A tractor is the answer. That, and a failing on the “seeing” and “driving” part.

But despite the Green Acres-like moments, the hundreds of volunteer hours already put into The Field are going to pay off in a long-term goal that many people may not realize is a problem. Among the homeless and impoverished, where having food is a priority, the quality of the food is often overlooked. A study by Harvard Medical School in Boston and the University of Oxford released last month indicated that obesity is becoming the new face of malnutrition among the homeless, owing in part to reliance on cheap foods with higher fat and sugar content and lack of access to fresh, quality food. It predicts as much as a third of the U.S. homeless population is obese.

“This study highlights the importance of the quality, as well as the quantity, of food that the homeless are consuming,” study co-author Paul Montgomery, a professor of psycho-social interventions at the University of Oxford, said in a news release. “Interventions aimed at reducing obesity in the homeless, such as improving nutritional standards in shelters or educational efforts at clinical sites, should be considered in light of these findings.”

Reddin hopes to do just that by offering something other than leftovers and “bad food.” The answer, he said, is to bring the hungry directly to the source.

“I’d never realized, but it’s food. Just food. It’s not hard,” he said. “You put crap in the ground, and crap comes up. It just makes sense.”

Our Current Needs in Atlanta…

One question I never get tired of hearing or answering is “What does The Van Need?” Well. I’m glad you asked.

The Van needs clothes. As Summer approaches, specifically we need colored t-shirts (with and without pockets) shorts, socks, underwear, belts, hats, bug spray, sun screen, water…..

It’s a good thing I made a list.

  • Clothes
  • Beanie” caps
  • hooded jackets
  • coats
  • socks
  • long johns
  • shorts
  • pants
  • t-shirts
  • dress clothes (for when our homeless neighbors have job interviews

As Summer approaches, we need

  • shorts
  • colored t-shirts
  • water (gallon jugs and individual bottles)
  • belts
  • hats
  • socks
  • underwear (new and unwrapped)

Hygiene Items

  • shampoo
  • soap
  • toothpaste
  • toothbrushes
  • combs
  • mouth wash
  • pads and tampons
  • deodarant
  • bug spray
  • gallon zip loc bags

Camping equipment.

  • sleeping bags
  • tents
  • camp stoves
  • portable heaters
  • ice chests
  • folding chairs

Your financial contributions

  • Wal-Mart gifts Cards
  • Lowes/Home Depot gift cards
  • Jiffy-Lube Gift Cards (Oil Changes for the van)
  • Kroger Gift Cards (Gas)
  • Gas station gift cards

If you want to help out with The Van Atlanta, drop us a line @ thevanatl@gmail.com, tweet or facebook us.

You can donate here. If you have material donations and are in the Atlanta area, contact us via email, facebook or twitter.

Thank you very much,

The Van Atlana
Terry Smith

I will be updating this list in the future with more specific needs. Keep an eye out.

If you have any more questions, please feel free to comment here.

Current Needs: Atlanta, Georgia

If you are in the Atlanta, Georgia Area and would like to help out, please find our current needs list below. If you’d like to volunteer yourself or organization, please leave a comment below and let us know or send us an email to: TheVanAtl@gmail.com

  1. Your Prayers.- Oh that is such a Christian thing to say… Blah blah blah… Seriously. The one thing The Van needs more than your money is your prayers. Prayer works.
  2. Clothes.- Any article of clothing without holes or stains, we will take. Please no “used” underwear, although lightly used bras are usable. “Beanie” caps are very useful, hooded jackets, coats, socks, long johns, shorts, pants, t-shirts, dress clothes (for when our homeless neighbors have job interviews), etc.
  3. Hygiene Items- Shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, mouth wash, pads, deodarant, etc. (Also, gallon size ziploc bags for hygiene bags to give out)
  4. Non-Perishable Food Items. Anything that comes canned, pop-top soup cans, protein bars, bottled water (tons of it), etc.
  5. #10 Cans. If your coffee comes in a large #10 can with a plastic lid, the Van Atlanta, would love to take your old coffee cans off your hands. We can use them for “Can for the Van”s for people to put their spare change in.
  6. Camping equipment. We can use away sleeping bags, tents, camp stoves, portable heaters, ice chests, folding chairs, etc.. for out homeless neighbors who do have “camps” where many of them sleep.
  7. Your financial contributions. If you want to contribute financially, you can buy The Van Atlanta a Home Depot or Lowe’s gift card. You can donate at http://theoneinc.org or you can purchase t-shirts, arm bands or vehicle decals at http://theoneinc.org/merchandise. Every dollar helps.

I will be updating this list in the future with more specific needs. Keep an eye out.

If you have any more questions, please put them in the comments and I will answer them here. For now, I’m going to work. Peace unto you

KATV: The Field to Feed Arkansas’ Needy

Local News Network KATV recently did a story on our latest project, The Field.

You can read the story below or on the KATV Website…

(KATV) A Little Rock man has made it his goal to help the homeless, but he also wants them to learn basic skills to help themselves. For about a decade, Aaron Reddin has been on a mission to help those who need help getting their lives together, something he knows about all to well.

Behind warehouses on Faulkner Lake Road in North Little Rock, two acre of land has been turned into “the field”. The idea is simple, plant it, water it, watch it grow and then give it away to anyone in need.

Aaron Reddin says, “We realized we had a lot of homeless friends eating junk, junk being served to them with good intentions but they just didn’t have access to any good food. We always knew we wanted to do a garden, we just didn’t know how.”

Reddin has partnered with The People Tree Inc, non-profit community cultivators. “They know what needs to go where, what needs to be planted, what should be beside what, what needs this much sun. I don’t know any of that.”

They’re growing squash, corn, tomatoes, okra, watermelon, peppers, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans and pumpkins.

Volunteer, Lisa Harrison calls The Field, a miracle. “To know that God gave us the ground and that we can just put a little work into it and give something back to the people in need. It’s just a good feeling, a really good feeling.”

Through research, they estimate when all two acres of The Field produces fruits and vegetables, they can grow about six-millions of pound of food a year. Reddin adds, “It is simple. I’ve been pounding my head thinking why didn’t we do this sooner. Why do we have kids all over the world dying of starvation everyday and we’re complaining about hunger in the world… food comes out of the ground.”

Chickens will soon arrive and provide eggs. Their next goal is to educate kids and homeless on getting a green thumb and profit off selling produce at farmers markets. “All of Central Arkansas, they’re great. We have folks out here we know, we have folks out here we’ve never met. Folks come out and support it and… it’s going to make me cry if I talk about it so I’m just grateful to our community, we are a great community.”

Big Thanks to Hot Dog Mike!!!

As many of you in Central Arkansas might have already seen, our good friend and mega-supporter, Hot Dog Mike, recently created the world’s most expensive hot dog and he sold it to help us out here at The One, Inc. In case you missed it, here’s a great writeup on it from the Arkansas Times:

Hot Dog Mike Juiliano stood proudly at his cart on Friday, May 11 as he prepared to make the World’s Most Expensive Hot Dog. There was a roll-away table in front of the cart, lined with a white table cloth, which was topped with five silver platters and a vase of roses. It was clear that a world record was about to be broken.

Juiliano said he had the idea about a month ago to sell an expensive hot dog to raise money for homeless support nonprofit The One, Inc., also known as “The Van.” He tweeted his idea about a month ago, and his followers instantly started bidding against each other on “theONEdog.” In an hour and a half, the price was up to $1,500. Juiliano said that he made it $1,501 because we are in Little Rock, and he is “clever like that.” Previously, Canada held the record for the most expensive hot dog, but he thought it was time to bring the title back to America, intending no offense to Canada.

Juiliano had to buy the supplies for the hot dogs. He knew some local bakeries used gold flakes in fancy wedding cakes, so he tried some and decided that would be a perfect topping for The World’s Most Expensive Hot Dog. The dog – made with a quarter-pound of premium beef – was also topped with lobster tail and saffron aioli.

Sharon Bennett Goodson, one of “The World’s Most Expensive Hot Dog” buyers, chose to buy the hot dog because the money went to a good cause. She said The Van helps people meet their real needs. “I’m a little nervous,” she said, “I’m not a big lobster fan.”

By noon, fans and media crews had crowded around Juiliano’s cart. Old bumper stickers such as “New Price,” and “How Much Is That Hot Dog In The Window,” made for a perfect backdrop as he readied the eagerly-awaited hot dogs.

Reaching into a Ziploc bag full of lobster meat, Juiliano said, “I’m not going to be stingy.” He then invited the cameras to the table with him and said “Ladies and gentlemen, a very expensive hot dog.” He presented the first hot dog to Goodson, noting that he would give her five complimentary napkins to go with her expensive charitable meal.
“It is very good,” Goodson said, “Is this gonna be a regular menu item?”

Bystanders questioned whether the condiment covering her face was mustard or gold. At the same time, Juiliano assured everyone that the gold was “American gold.”

Four other ONEdogs were bought by anonymous donors and given to passersby, Mike’s colleagues and the owner of The Van, Aaron Reddin.

“It was good,” Reddin said. “I was skeptical. I’m not gonna lie.” Reddin said he was going to start saving up his money for another, but noted that it would probably be about $2,000 next time.

After the hot dogs were delivered, Juiliano stood next to The Van and wrote the $6,000 check. “I thank Little Rock because you guys did it. I am just the hot dog guy and he is just the van guy,” he said, before going back to his cart and asking viewers if anyone was hungry for a hot dog.

The remaining hot dogs were sold for the usual $3-$5, as the remnants of the mustard-gold sat unused at the back of “Little Rock’s Coolest Hot Dog Cart.”

In case you are wondering what goes into a $1501 Hot Dog, here’s a great video from Today’sTHV…

Some Folks Don’t Understand What We Do…

And that’s okay.

This loveable and well-meaning person asked me this morning-as I allowed some homeless folks to go through what jackets, blankets and personal items I had-if I was afraid that they might steal from me or take more than they needed.,

My response was “All of this was given to me and I’m giving it away.  I give up my right to regulate who gets what when I say, ‘I give it away’.”  Most of these folks won’t take more than they can carry or more than they need.  They have packs that they carry and they absolutely don’t want unnecessary weight.  Our very slogan is “No rules, no apologies, just help.” And I’m going to abide by that statement, for ever.

Another question or concern I often hear is, “If you give them all they need, then they use what money they do have on things they don’t need (like beer or drugs).”

My mission is not to enable an alcoholic or drug abuser.  My mission is to give to anyone who asks.  I don’t give away much food and I don’t give any cash.  But what I do have I give.  I do that because that’s what Jesus tells me to do.  And I help others do that as well.  I give others a chance to give.  What happens after I give is not my concern.  I do what Jesus tells me to do.  And if that’s “enabling”, so be it.  I’m doing right by God and I sleep perfectly well at night.

If you believe in what we’re doing here in Atlanta, you can give at Http://theoneinc.org.  You can follow us on twitter and like us on facebook.  Email us at thevanatl@gmail.com.

If you have material donations, email us or contact us on facebook or twitter.

Thank you all and may the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you from now and unto the end of the age, amen.

Why? (The Van Atlanta)

This morning, I (Terry) woke up at 7 am.  I had breakfast and I went to the storage unit for The Van Atlanta.  I made sure the van was packed and I drove to the old Big Lots parking lot in Douglasville and started giving stuff away.  Around 9:30, the wonderful people from Daily Bread Ministries (a ministry of The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Douglasville) showed up and started giving out sandwiches, coffee, and groceries.  A few of them saw what I was doing and came over and stirred up conversation.  A lot of them praised “The Van” and what we do.  One lady asked me if I was “one of those Occupy people” because of my 99<the One Bracelet (http://theoneinc.org/merchandise).  I assured her I was not.

Later, as I was preparing to leave and come home, one of the elder men with the church came up and asked me, “Why the Van Atlanta?”

That was an easy question. Because Jesus told me to.  And I don’t mean, “Jesus told me especially to do this.”  i didn’t hear a voice.  There was no rumble of thunder.  It’s right there in Matthew 25.  When you feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, visit the prisoner, you care for me.  Jesus told me to.  He told you to.  He told us all to.

My friend, Aaron is The One, Inc(http://theoneinc.org). I am The One, Inc.  You could be a part of it too.  We are doing the Gospel in the best way we can.  We’d love your help.  Connect with us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Van-Atlanta/291230277602033#!/pages/The-Van-Atlanta/291230277602033

Follow us on twitter: http://twitter.com/thevanatl.

Donate here: http://theoneinc.org

We have a list of needs here: http://thevanatl.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/the-van-atl-needs/

Thank you and God bless.  #TheVanAtl

What Does The Van in Atlanta Need?

The number one question The Van gets is “How can I help?”  Here’s some answers.

The Van could use your material and monetary donations.

When/ Where to send donations:

If you’re donating monies, go to http://theoneinc.org and click donate. If you don’t feel comfortable donating online, please feel free to buy us a gas card or Lowe’s or Home Depot gift card. If you have material donations, contact The Van at 678-369-3109 and we will either come pick them up or give you shipping information.

What does The VanLanta need?

1. Your Prayers.- Oh that is such a Christian thing to say… Blah  blah blah… Seriously. The one thing The Van needs more than your money is your prayers.  Prayer works.

2. Clothes.- Any article of clothing without holes or stains, we will take.  Please no “used” underwear, although lightly used bras are usable.  “Beanie” caps are very useful, hooded jackets, coats, socks, long johns, shorts, pants, t-shirts, dress clothes (for when our homeless neighbors have job interviews), etc.  Don’t forget about belts and suspenders….

3. Hygiene Items- Shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, mouth wash, pads, deodarant, etc. (Also, gallon size ziploc bags for hygiene bags to give out) (We are low on hygiene items especially deodarant and shaving cream this week)

4. Non-Perishable Food Items, especially pop-top soup cans, protein bars, and bottled water.  We can never have enough bottled water..

5. Camping equipment.  We can use away sleeping bags, tents, camp stoves, portable heaters, ice chests, folding chairs, etc.. for out homeless neighbors who do have “camps” where many of them sleep.

6. Your financial contributions. If you want to contribute financially, you can buy The Van Atlanta a Home Depot or Lowe’s gift card, a gas card or you can donate at http://theoneinc.org.  You can also purchase t-shirts, arm bands or vehicle decals at http://theoneinc.org/merchandise.  Every dollar helps. Our biggest expense is keeping VanLanta on the road.  That includes fuel cost and maintenance (oil changes, tires, replacing bulbs, etc.).

Armbands Coming Soon!!

Since we posted some photos on Facebook of our The One, Inc. Armbands we have had several people ask if they could purchase these bands online. We are happy to announce that they will be available online soon! We are currently working with PayPal to get everything setup so that you can purchase armbands online! Stay tuned…

The proceeds from the sale of these armbands will be put to good use! We promise!!!