Blog Archives

miamifeatureOne of my favorite places in America is Picher, Oklahoma, a highly toxic ghost town in Oklahoma near the Kansas border. There weren’t any opportunities to volunteer there (at least none that would be safe for me to do). I stopped in Miami, Oklahoma–the next closest town–at the Stonehill Grill where I spoke with Madison who pointed me in the direction of a local park. Another day outside, picking up trash, enjoying nature, and feeling good about the world.

springdalefeatureWhile hanging out in the Fayetteville, Arkansas area I saw a call for blood donations in neighboring Springdale. To tie together separate trips, the Community Blood Center in Springdale was instrumental in supplying blood to the residents of nearby Joplin, Missouri after they were hit by the tornado of 2011.

You might not ever know who is going to need your blood, but it’s safe to say somebody will, and it’s better to have it ready to go when disaster hits.

Back in 2011, Joplin, Missouri was the scene of a horrific tornado that leveled massive sections of the town. Many volunteers from all over the country rushed to the area to help with the rebuilding. Three years later we stopped by to do some clean up in Ewert Park. As luck would have it, there was also a local farmers market happening.

Was supposed to volunteer at the Salvation Army in Iowa City, but my contact there was out sick today unfortunately. Without her being in the office, I wasn’t able to volunteer there. So, I headed to Goodwill, bought backpacks, filled them with socks, hats, toiletries, food, and water. I passed out one of the bags to somebody in need, and, after talking to the gentleman, I also picked up a phone card for him. Still have bags in the car, something I encourage others to always have on hand if they’re so inclined. You never know when you’ll be able to make a difference, so it’s best to be prepared.

Amazing time volunteering with Girls Rock NC 10 Year Rally. So much music, art, design, and an astounding sense of community. It was an absolute joy to help document the day.

From the Girls Rock NC website –

GIRLS ROCK NORTH CAROLINA is a non-profit organization in central North Carolina that empowers girls and women — through creative expression — to become confident and engaged members of our communities. We accomplish this by focusing on the “three Cs”: creativity, confidence and collaboration.

In our ten years of programming, GRNC NC has held over forty music programs for girls in Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh. Our campers have gone on to perform in successful bands and even take on leadership positions at camp. GRNC has roughly 80 active volunteers and a growing number of partners, sponsors, musicians, parents, activists, and mentors working together to build a strong community.

GRNC is committed to social justice and seeks to amplify the voices of those traditionally marginalized. GRNC is a LGBTQI inclusive and affirming organization, and strives to provide a safe, visible atmosphere for all.

When we started this project, one of the goals was to make sure to work with our existing framework of friends scattered across the country. Today we rolled into the Charlottesville, Virginia area and met up with Raven Mack. Together, we collected supplies for The Haven, a homeless shelter and services provider in Charlottesville.

From The Haven’s website —

The Haven works to end homelessness. We do this by incubating collaborative efforts across the system of care and operating a multi-resource day shelter for the homeless in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia. We facilitate transformation for the ready and provide respite for the weary. We exist because everyone needs a place to start.
The Haven is a dynamic, multi-purpose community space. It enhances our city by providing a centralized location for resource providers, a commercial kitchen, a day haven, a community garden, and a cultural and arts space in downtown Charlottesville. The Haven is in a beautifully renovated church and annex building, across from Lee Park and one block from the public library.

We stopped by Manna Meal to help serve lunch with the absolutely awesome team there. Huge thank you to Leslie, Camellia, and Jean for all of their graciousness and love and for all of the work they’re doing in their community. We’re so blessed to have spent time with them.

From their website –

Manna Meal soup kitchen serves meals to anyone that is hungry, no questions asked, at no cost, 7 days a week. Founded in 1976, Manna Meal Inc. is an independent nonprofit organization located at Saint John’s Episcopal Church on Quarrier Street in downtown Charleston. For the past 37 years we have fed over 1.30 million people serving approximately 380 people 2 meals every day. Countless in-kind food donations from local proprietors and individuals, as well as produce from the Manna Meal Garden, 4 full-time employees, 6 hourly workers, and 130 loyal volunteers keep Manna Meal Inc. operating daily. Our doors are never closed.

We stopped by Northern Kentucky University to discuss books, publishing, and current events. Thanks to all three classes for their participation and great conversation.

stvincentfeaturedI headed to St. Vincent de Paul in Cincinnati, Ohio to help with the food pantry. Joining me for the day was author/musician/Cincinnati native and one of my closest friends, Nathan Singer.

From St. Vincent de Paul of Cincinnati’s website –

For more than 140 years, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has quietly cared for those in need throughout Cincinnati and Hamilton County. More than 900 volunteers care for people in their own neighborhoods, visiting the homes of people in need more than 7,500 each year. In addition to providing immediate help with pressing needs such as food or utilities, we operate southwest Ohio’s only Charitable Pharmacy; seven thrift stores that provide furniture, clothing and household items to people in need; a comprehensive social service office; seven food pantries including the Edyth & Carl Lindner Choice Food Pantry in the West End; and the Ozanam Center for Service Learning.

We had a few extra hours in the Boston area so we headed to beautiful Providence, Rhode Island where we picked up trash at India Point Park with our social media turned real life friend, Emily and her daughter Bridget. It’s such an easy way to make a difference, enjoy nature, and have a great conversation.

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