Merced County Times Newspaper
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New Year’s Resolutions: Find a local way to enjoy them

New Year’s resolutions are things we choose at the beginning of the year with a vision toward making an improvement in our lives.

Unfortunately, according to U. S. News & World Report, 80 percent of these resolutions will fail by the second week of February.

Recent studies suggest that both “enjoyment” and “importance” matter for how successful people will be at sticking with their resolution in the future. You may feel it’s important to lose a few pounds, but that’s going to be more difficult if you’re not excited about the new workout routine, or the new diet, or both combined.

An example of a community member who chose a meaningful New Year’s resolution that she is enjoying implementing is Erin Meyer, whose resolution is related to her career.

Erin Meyer is the coordinator of UC Merced’s Sustainable Food Programs.

She takes delight in networking in the community to help what she describes as Merced County’s food insecure population. Food insecurity refers to the lack of reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

This month, she implemented a fundraiser anyone can donate to, which will support programs like the People’s Fridge and Pop-Up People’s Pantry that provide food to Merced County residents.

Meyer thought of a way to add humor and fun to the fundraiser by making it a competition, while at the same time having 100 percent of the proceeds go to the United Way of Merced County to directly support the county’s food programs.

UC Merced partnered with Community Initiatives for Collective Impact, which is Dr. Steve Roussos’ organization. Roussos is a public health researcher in the area who partners with Meyer on community feed programs, such as the People’s Fridge and Pop-Up People’s Pantry.

Meyer promoted the fundraiser through a birthday competition with Roussos to see who could raise more money for the cause.

She put the following on her social media: “I am celebrating my birthday on January 8th by raising as much money as I can for our community feeding programs.  Please help me with any donation to my birthday fund.  All funds will go to the United Way of Merced County to support our community feeding programs.

“Please help me raise $5,000 by my birthday Jan. 8.  Any amount helps!

“If I raise $2,022 before my friend Steve (his birthday is Jan. 5), then Steve has to bake me a delicious birthday cake using our rescued food.  And, I get a $500 extra donation for my fund.

“Thank you for dough-nating and peas feel free to share with your friends. (I just had to include some food puns.)  Happy Holidays!”

During a recent interview with the Times, Meyer said, “Our birthday competition is still going on until Jan. 8, and I’m hoping to get more funds in the GoFundMe, which is https://gofund.me/47be566d.”

Meyer told the Times, “The last report I’ve heard said 15.3 percent of Merced County is considered food insecure and one in four children go hungry.

“Worldwide, 33 percent of food is lost or wasted.

“There a need to prevent food from going to waste.  When food goes to the landfill, it generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas, so it contributes to climate change.”

Describing one of her goals for the new year, she said, “On Jan. 1, SB 1383 is going to start requiring food businesses of a certain size that generate food waste to either start donating it or composting it.  We don’t really have the compost infrastructure in the area, so they’re going to be donating it, which is good because we have a lot of hungry people here.

“So, we can feed the hungry and not hurt the environment.

“I’m involved in the Bobcat Eats Food Waste Awareness and Waste Prevention program, and it’s one of my main programs.  It’s where we go to businesses, markets and other places and pick up surplus food and bring it to people in need.  For example, on the weekends, we go to the flea market and bring surplus food to the People’s Fridge.

“I think our services are going to be in higher demand because of SB 1383.

“I think in 2022, we will hopefully be picking up more food and feeding more folks.  I hope that we will have more community fridges in the area.  That is the goal.  So we have to start as many as we can.  If anyone wants to start a People’s Fridge, they can e mail me at [email protected]

Meyer told the Times she had just received an email from someone she had gone to high school with, thanking her for her efforts and for inspiring others to be more eco-conscious.  The unexpected gesture was touching and made her happy.

When asked what her hopes were for the future, she envisioned a kinder world that had more random acts of kindness like that e mail.

Meyer told the Times, “I picture a world where people are more thankful for others and for what they do.

“I want more people being good to each other like this, thanking folks and also people advocating for what’s right.

“I want more people to be fed and for us to waste less food.

“I just want there to be less suffering, as a whole.  I hope for less hungry folks, less fighting and more people being thankful and kind.

“If I had a magic wand, I would try and minimize suffering, not just for humans, but for animals too.

“I want more laughter too.  Personally, I’ve been doing virtual improv with a Virtual Improv Group, and usually I’m on Zoom but I’m in the background, working or doing volunteer stuff, and I’m not fully present.  In the new year, I want to be more present in the Improv group so I can laugh more, and celebrate more and use more food puns.”

Besides being devoted to celebrating all of mankind through solutions to hunger, Meyer loves animals, and she has a great dog, a Border Collie/Lab mix.

She told the Times, “In the new year, I hope to keep my dog, Sukha, pawsitively healthy and happy (pun intended).”

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