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Life Arts    H3'ed 4/27/11

Catching Up with Syd Mandelbaum of Rock and Wrap It Up!

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My guest today is Rock and Wrap It Up's CEO and founder, Syd Mandelbaum. Welcome back to OpEdNews, Syd. I understand that you were just in Chicago. I'm sorry I missed you. What brought you to town?

Great to be on your radar screen. RWU had a very productive week in Chi-town. We were invited to present to the EPA Region 5, which covers Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Minnesota. RWU had nominated the NHL franchises in Detroit, Columbus, Minneapolis and Chicago for Environmental Quality Awards and they were presented on-ice in pre-game presentations. Each team had joined Sports Wrap!, where concession food is recovered and given out to the poor. Over 11 tons were recovered  during the 2010-2011 season, equalling 18,000 meals. 

RWU was highlighted last week on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, which generated huge interest throughout North America. RWU and the EPA will further coordinate their efforts in the future.

That's nice as well as high visibility for you. How did this collaboration with the EPA come about?

Our work with the EPA started 15 years ago. We developed a relationship with both Democratic and Republican National Committees.

This initiative was called "Everyone wins on Election  Night." It asked the parties to emulate the rock bands who have adopted our concept of contractual obligation. It spells out in a contract what you want done with your leftovers. I  developed this in 1993 for rock bands to include in their riders. We asked that all food from hotels where election night parties where being booked to use similar language. We were asked by the EPA to help find agencies in cities where political national conventions were being held. We kept up this relationship and I have presented at regional EPA meetings. In 2006, they published a piece on our work and again in 2009, attached. In 2010 we joined EPA's WasteWise Program to record poundage being saved out of landfill and also nominated our NHL partners to be recognized through EPA EQA awards, regionally. Regions One, Two and Five have recognized those area-based teams.

Clever move to team up with the national committees. What else do you have up your sleeve, Syd?

RWU is launching a new initiative, Hungerpedia, which will be a listing of anti-poverty agencies by their geographic locations and asset needs. Donors will be able to go to and find recipient agencies which have been vetted by RWU.

The NBC piece, which focused on Sports Wrap and Hotel Wrap!, elicited interest from Chicagoland-based hotels, to donate vanity items and toilet and tissue paper to agencies. Northwestern University is interested in possibly joining College Wrap!, where room and dorm assets are given to anti-poverty agencies upon graduation, to be used when placing women and families in crisis into new housing.

Preparing Thanksgiving dinner with wife Diane (kneeling) and volunteer Randi Scott for 400, 2010

Sounds great. Anything else you'd like to add, Syd?    

The Chicago Bears have joined Sports Wrap! this week, as have the Washington Nationals. Our relationship with the NHL has encouraged organizations, especially Delaware North out of Buffalo, NY that much more can be done. They are the largest arena and stadium food purveyor in the world. They have sent out memos to all of their sports partners to join our efforts to feed the hungry and not throw away valuable food. Their leader, Jeremy Jacobs, is a visionary. The Marriott Corporation sent out a link to the piece which ran on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. We have received calls from their hotel affiliates. We want to re-visit the opening of military bases to volunteers to recover food from their commissaries. Bases closed to us after 9/11. Those are our short term directions.

You and Jeremy Jacobs sound like a match made in heaven! How fabulous. Things are always jumping at RWU. Nice talking with you again, Syd. Thanks for catching us up.


RWU website

Excerpts from my previous two-part interview with Syd:
How Syd Mandelbaum and Rock and Wrap It Up! Fight Hunger   February 10, 2010 
That is the birth of Rock and Wrap It Up! [RWU] Wrap up what you want done in a contract rider and it will happen. We then wrote in band's rider: All edible leftover food, prepared not served cannot go into landfill but must feed the hungry. Rock and Wrap It Up! will arrange for the recovery.

Rock and Wrap It Up! is an anti-poverty think tank. Using greening tactics, we recover food and other assets to be given to agencies fighting poverty, increasing their operating budgets. This allows the agencies to hire more services such as tutors, social workers, job placement counselors and mental health counselors to attack the root cause of poverty.

Part Two: How Syd Mandelbaum and Rock and Wrap It Up! Fight Hunger  February 10, 2010

RWU is a way of life. We don't wait for government or corporations to facilitate change. We grow our own soldiers to fight this battle. It will take past my lifetime to win it. We know what needs to be done to reduce poverty in this country and we just do it. We are the change.

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)

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