Blog Archives

We visited the Oregon Foodbank in Portland, Oregon where we met a dedicated group of volunteers that not only work hard together, but also spend time together outside of the warehouse. They were a truly welcoming and loving community and it was hard not to immediately share in their spirit.

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St. Paul’s House is an NYC institution (you might remember their sign from the opening credits of SNL) and on the last Tuesday of every month (September – May) they have pizza and movie night. My friend Aegina and I were able to help out (and I might have snagged a slice of pizza along the way) and make new friends.

Here is an interview with Shandra Velez discussing what St. Paul’s House does and how the community can help.

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withtroyOne of the things I resolved to do this year in conjunction with the Be Local Everywhere project was to give blood, when able, wherever I am. Back in March I donated in Clark County, Washington. By the time I got to Connecticut, the requisite 58 day waiting period between donations had passed.

And that’s how I found myself (along with my good friend, Aegina) at the Red Cross of Fairfield County in Norwalk, Connecticut. I’ve given blood plenty of times (though not as much as I should have, especially in the last few years), but I have never had a more skilled Red Cross worker than my new friend, Troy, in Norwalk. Everybody should go visit her!

More Red Cross on the web:
Website
Twitter
Facebook

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I was fortunate to hang out with the folks from Lucky Dog Animal Rescue in Rockville, MD over the Memorial Day Weekend. The volunteer request asked for people to hang out with a shelter dog for the afternoon, become friends with the dog, and answer any questions prospective adopters might have (breed, age, philosophies towards children and cats).

This is me and Cream.

withcream

As you can imagine, it’s a nice way to spend an afternoon going on walks, lying in the grass, feeling the sun, and just generally being outdoors in the company of a loving dog. It was also a bit tough to say goodbye at the end of the day. But it was also nice to know that a lot of families were interested in Cream and I am confident she’ll end up in a nice home.

Thank you to Sue for giving me an overview of Lucky Dog and all of the good things they’ve done in the MD/VA/DC area.

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Delaware was one of the states that I could technically say “I’ve been there,” but only because I’d driven through it on the way to somewhere else. Now I’ve got a real Delaware experience. My friend Kiri drove down from Pennsylvania to join me.

Yesterday I had an opportunity to visit The Little Sisters of the Poor in Newark. The mission there is:

“As Little Sisters of the Poor we care for the elderly poor in the spirit of humble service we have received from our foundress, Saint Jeanne Jugan. We welcome the elderly as we would Jesus Christ himself and serve them with love and respect until God calls them home.”

I was fortunate enough to speak with many of the residents, help with serving lunch, and even made some great new friends. For more information please visit their website, here.

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kirifeaturedI love nature. It’s something relatively new in my life to go out on long hikes to appreciate wildlife and the quiet. It has become essential to me. And that’s why it was such a natural opportunity and a blessing to do trash pick up along the banks of the Little Neshaminy Creek at Kemper Park in Warminster, Pennyslvania. My friend Kiri and I walked between four and five miles and were treated to birds, squirrels, the easy current of the creek as we went. We worked with the Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania (part of the larger Keep America Beautiful). Anybody can go out and pick up garbage, but if you want trash bags, gloves, vests, and a group of others to go with you, be sure to check out your local chapter.

More Information:
Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania
Keep America Beautiful

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newjerseyteamMy friends Bill Gordon and Thomas Pluck joined me at the New Jersey Veterans Home in Paramus where we played Bingo with the residents. The experience was real and joyful and heartbreaking at the same time. It was great to hear some fantastic stories of lives lived, and it hurt to hear the stories of lives lost. It shifted my perspective in a meaningful way and I am sure I won’t forget it anytime soon.

We worked with Jersey Cares to find the opportunity–an excellent resource for narrowing down volunteer opportunities by interest and availability.

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One of the things I wanted to explore when I started this project was the differences between “online friendships” and those people we know in the “real” world. I’ve known Ben Bailey and Chels Meacham through Twitter for more than a year, but I’d never met either of them in person.

Until now.

Ben, in his professional capacity, manages a Smashburger restaurant in Draper, UT. He was able to secure permission (and food!) from corporate headquarters for the three of us to distribute to the homeless in Salt Lake City. It’s great to see companies acting responsibly in their communities. Big thank you to Smashburger, Ben, and Chels.

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I had an opportunity to visit the Idaho Foodbank in Boise to see their operations. Within that massive warehouse, there’s a lot of magic going on. In addition to sorting donations, I also had a chance to learn about their innovative backpack program that helps fight child hunger in school kids. This was such a beautiful experience and I won’t soon forget it. Such a loving and dedicated group of people.Big thanks to Teena, Mike, and everybody else there!

Idaho Foodbank on the web:
Website
Twitter
Facebook
Pinterest
Youtube

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I had an opportunity to visit the Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama in Mobile with my friend Michelle. Public Relations Director Katie Emer gave us a tour of the facilities and explained the philosophy behind the organization. We then joined some of the kitchen staff to help prepare and serve dinner to those in need.

More about the Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama (from their website):

The Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama provides spiritual, social and emotional assistance for men, women and children who have lost the ability to cope with their problems and provide for themselves.
Our centers offer emergency shelter, job training and placement, social services and seasonal assistance for families in need.

We also provide work, group and individual therapy for men who are recovering from addictions. The physical and spiritual care that program participants receive prepares them to re-enter society and return to gainful employment. Many of those who have been rehabilitated are reunited with family and resume a normal life.

Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama on the web:
Website
Twitter
Facebook

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