Blog Archives

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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We volunteered at the CureSearch Walk for Children’s Cancer in Boston, Massachusetts at the Franklin Park Zoo.

From their website —

CureSearch for Children’s Cancer is a national non-profit foundation that accelerates the cure for children’s cancer by driving innovation, eliminating research barriers and solving the field’s most challenging problems. We fight every day to make treatment possible and a cure probable for the 42 children diagnosed with cancer daily. We do this in three ways:

  • We accelerate the cure for children at greatest risk of losing their battle with cancer by posing essential challenges to scientists and inviting teams to overcome them with novel research approaches.
  • We support children’s enrollment in clinical trials that have the potential to save their lives today.
  • We provide resources and education, so no child faces a cancer diagnosis without a fully equipped support team behind them.

Ultimately, CureSearch is working to change the odds for those children most at risk.

 

 

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We stopped by Second Harvest Heartland in the Twin Cities to help prepare food for distribution.

Before beginning our shift in their warehouse, we were given a brief orientation including a powerful video about hunger, the challenges faced, and how Second Harvest is addressing the issue in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Videos can sometimes be dry, recalling filmstrips from our elementary school days. The Second Harvest video was as far from that as it gets.

Here it is for your consideration —

From the Second Harvest website —

Second Harvest Heartland works to reinvent hunger relief through leadership and innovation. As the Upper Midwest’s largest hunger relief organization, our goal is not only to help our hungry neighbors today, but to provide the means for everyone to be fed tomorrow. We’re known for distributing great amounts of food quickly and efficiently; in 2012 alone, we collected, warehoused and distributed more than 76 million pounds of food—but we’re also constantly pioneering ways to reduce waste and better use the abundant resources available in this land of plenty.

Second Harvest Heartland is a member of Feeding America, a national network of more than 200 food banks serving every state in the United States. Membership means access to millions of pounds of surplus food and grocery donations from manufacturers and producers throughout the country.

Thank you to Kate, Megan, Brenda, and Dan for joining us!

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Today’s trip to River Keepers in North Dakota was a first along this journey. To help create educational materials for the upcoming Red River Water Festival we spent time putting together gimp bracelets and cutting stickers that will ultimately end up with fourth graders. We also had a chance to hear about how important the Red River is specifically, but also how crucial it is that we keep our waterways and their surrounding habitats free from pollution.

From their website –

River Keepers is a non-profit organization established in 1990 to protect and preserve the integrity and natural environment of the Red River of the North in the Fargo, ND – Moorhead, MN area. In addition, River Keepers is interested in the recreation and sustainable development uses of the Red River. River Keepers promotes a renewed vision for the Red River of the North through workshops, youth service-learning projects and advocacy. The primary goal of River Keepers is to demonstrate to the public that the Red River is an underutilized resource. River Keepers works “hand-in hand” with civic, corporate and political leaders, local watershed groups and the public at-large.

We stopped by to help them with preparation of educational materials for the Red River Water Festival.

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The mission of Sioux Falls, South Dakota’s THE BANQUET is:

Our mission is to equip volunteers to provide food and fellowship to those served through the ministry of The Banquet. We provide a safe place where people can gather, receive nourishment and experience love in action.

On paper it sounds nice. In action, it’s even better!

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