At each of several one-day festivals held throughout the country, thousands of revelers unite in an epic clash of pulp, beer, and live music. Armed with a cache of 300,000 tomatoes, participants don protective bathing suits and goggles and hurl the fruit at one another during a two-hour battle. Throughout the afternoon, live music and costume contests offer an entertaining respite from the front lines, as bartenders dispense drafts of beer to attendees older than 21, refueling soldiers' morale before they resign to writing goodbye letters to their produce vendors back home. All tomatoes used during the event are past ripe and already fated for disposal, making the battle an efficient means of tossing them before their cursed transformation into singing Muppets.
The patter of gloves against heavy bags and the paced breathing of circling sparring partners fills The Boxing Club with energy. That's amplified by trainers, who lead classes in everything from cycling to kickboxing. There's muay thai, for example, an MMA fighting style that torches calories with flurries of flying elbows, knees, and fists, or jiu jitsu, which focuses more on grappling.
Martial arts are, in a way, just one more way of working towards physical fitness for many at the studio. Fitness goals are helped along by a full weight room, cardio area, and pilates studio. There's also a full locker room for cleaning up afterwards.
Colossal cuisine portions tip the scales of both locations' menus. The fresh spring rolls ($5.50) burst at their rice-paper seams with vegetables, tofu, and shrimp and come served with a peanut sauce, perfect for dipping and liquid-diet elephants. Poultry patrons can cast a vote for the panang curry chicken ($7.50), which mixes coconut milk with sweet, spicy, and thick curry, adorned with plump bell peppers, sweet pineapple, and affable basil. In the realm of classic tastes, the pad see iew ($7.50) allows noncommittal noodlers the choice of thin rice noodles or flat noodles with a savory synthesis of chicken, broccoli, carrots, egg, and sweet black sauce. The kitchen team can spicy up your dish as sweltering as your devil-may-care tongue can handle, and in emergencies, smoldering stamp-lickers can be extinguished with a tasty Thai iced tea ($1.95).
The Salvation Army Family Store collects and resells donated items ranging from vintage clothing to antique furniture. Patrons can search for wardrobes, tables, and couches to fill out their home, plates and silverware to stock their empty kitchen, and VCRs to feed their pet robot. All proceeds from the Family Stores support The Salvation Army's San Diego Adult Rehabilitation Center, a 12-step work therapy and faith-based residential and transitional rehabilitation program for men and women dealing with alcohol and substance abuse. The six-month to two-year program is offered to program participants at no cost.
Though the best way to contribute to the organization's mission, especially following natural disasters such as the recent wildfires, is with monetary donations, the Salvation Army accepts donations of used goods and clothing to sell in the network of Family Stores. All sales of these donated items support the funding of the organization's programming. To donate goods, call (800) 728-7825 or visit www.SanDiego.SATruck.org; for monetary donations, call (866) 455-4357, visit www.SanDiego.SalvationArmy.org, or send to The Salvation Army Divisional Headquarters, SD Fires, 2320 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101.
When Larisa Hall was born, the doctors were not sure she'd ever be able to walk. She was born with severely clubbed feet and spent the next nine months wearing casts on both legs. But within six months, Larisa was up on her feet; and by the time she was five, she had discovered dance and never wanted to stop. Dancing proved to be a useful physical therapy—helping her gain coordination and overcome ankle pain.
Spurred on by her own triumph, Larisa founded Tap Fever Studios with the belief that everyone—no matter their age or level of ability—should have the opportunity to dance. To that end, she holds workshops for the hearing and listening impaired, as well as those who are developmentally disabled. Larisa also recently created a new method of dance called hand tap, which allows people with limited mobility to use special gloves and a wooden board to tap out rhythms while seated.
The founders of Plant With Purpose began the organization in 1984 after noticing the connections between poverty and the environment. Those connections live on today—deforestation forces poor, rural communities into even more intense poverty by hindering their abilities to live off the land. In an effort to meet the needs of their families, subsistence farmers engage in slash-and-burn agricultural practices that only facilitate the process of deforestation. Plant With Purpose aims to restore tree cover to deforested areas in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America, thereby reviving the environment and benefiting the subsistence farmers who rely on it. The organization has also expanded its work to include other community-building services, such as providing loans, sharing agricultural techniques, and training communities in peace and reconciliation.