Omaha, Nebraska

Open Door Mission

The organization is doing a lot to help those in need from clothing to food to housing to life skills–they’re doing it all. Thanks for letting us see your operation! Big thanks to Steve Frazee for discussing the Mission and to Hannah who showed us the ropes!

More about Open Door Mission (from their website):

Open Door Mission is a Gospel Rescue Mission founded in 1954 committed to breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty. Each day, Open Door Mission’s campus offers 816 safe, shelter beds to homeless men, women and children, serves over 2,000 hot, nutritious meals and provides preventive measures to more than 275 people living in poverty. Staff would love to give you, your family, your co-workers, or your church a tour of Open Door Mission Campus. You will be able to see first hand how lives are being Changed.

Open Door Mission on the web:


Denver, Colorado

Denver Rescue Mission

I had an opportunity to help prepare and serve lunch with a dedicated team of volunteers. It’s a beautiful thing to see a community come together and bond over service.

More about the Denver Rescue Mission (from their website):

Denver Rescue Mission is changing lives in the name of Christ by meeting people at their physical and spiritual points of need with the goal of returning them to society as productive, self-sufficient citizens.

Denver Rescue Mission on the web:

Las Vegas, Nevada

Clean the World

We stopped by Clean the World (Las Vegas) to hear all about their operation, how they recycle soap from the hospitality industry, and why it’s so important to do what they’re doing. Thanks to Shae and the team for hosting us!

More about Clean the World (from their website):

Clean the World was founded in 2009 by Shawn Seipler. As the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for an e-commerce technology company, Shawn traveled several days a week. The idea for soap recycling came about after Shawn learned the barely used bars of hotel soap he left behind each morning ended up in a landfill. That led to Clean the World, a Florida not-for-profit corporation under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Clean the World has a two-part mission:

Collect and recycle soap and hygiene products discarded every day by the hospitality industry and other sectors that generate environmental waste.

Through the distribution of these and other donated products to impoverished people, prevent millions of hygiene-related deaths each year, reduce the morbidity rate for hygiene-related illnesses, and encourage vigorous childhood development.

Clean the World on the web:


Fairbanks, Alaska

Fairbanks Community Food Bank

We stopped by the Fairbanks Food Bank to see how the organization and volunteers were serving the community in one of the farthest flung stops from home. I found an energetic and compassionate group dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of others, especially those spread out in communities with geographic accessibility challenges. Thanks to everybody in Fairbanks for being so warm and inviting!

More about the Fairbanks Community Food Bank (from their website)

Founded in 1982, the Fairbanks Community Food Bank collects and redistributes donated food to individuals and agencies. Food donations are received from the local community and about 100 commercial vendors. Food is distributed through many programs including Food Boxes, Bone Builders, and Agency Shopping.

The Fairbanks Community makes a difference in the lives of neighbors by sharing resources. The people of Fairbanks truly live the lessons taught by the Stone Soup Legend –– Fairbanks Style. The vision of the Fairbanks Community Food Bank is:

  • To have no one in the Tanana Valley die of starvation
  • To have no child in the Tanana Valley go hungry
  • To provide food assistance to everyone who meets federal poverty guidelines, if it is requested

Fairbanks Community Food Bank



Portland, Oregon

Oregon Food Bank

We visited the Oregon Food Bank 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.

More about Oregon Food Bank (from their website):

We’re probably not what you expect when you think of a food bank. In Oregon, we do things differently.

We started off like most food banks did back in 1988. That’s when Interagency Food Bank and Oregon Food Share merged to become Oregon Food Bank, and we distributed USDA Commodity Supplemental Food to over 200 hunger-relief agencies.

Today, Oregon Food Bank collects food from farmers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, individuals and government sources. We distribute that food through a Statewide Network of 21 Regional Food Banks and approximately 970 partner agenciesserving all of Oregon and Clark County, Washington.

It seems like a big job, and it is. We absolutely couldn’t do it alone. But, distributing food is not the entire job. Like we said – we do things differently in Oregon.

St. Vincent de Paul on the web:

New York City, New York

St. Paul’s House

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.

More about St. Paul’s House (from their website):

St. Paul’s House is a multifaceted ministry located on NYC’s West Side. It is an independent training center for Christian leaders who feel called to work in ministry. It has been at the crossroads of America for over 60 years for many lives. In 1945, Rev. J.J.D. Hall and Creighton Dunlap purchased a brownstone tenement in Hell’s Kitchen. Because of their appreciation for the ministry of the Apostle and their Episcopal background, they chose to name the building St. Paul’s House.

Rev. Hall was a fiery street preacher who had already earned the title “Bishop of Wall Street” because of his street meetings held daily in the financial district. Creighton Dunlap was a former real estate agent who heard “Dad” Hall preaching and committed his life to Christ and evangelism. He served with Rev. Hall as a co-founder. Together in 1939, they started the first sermon telephone ministry in America.

St. Paul’s House began as a training center for believers who wanted to learn and experience inner-city ministry. Over its 60 year history, St. Paul’s House has helped educate and train hundreds of student workers preparing for ministry life. Because of today’s needs, the house now serves as a mission house with providing services with food, adult and youth to those in need that live in the neighborhood. We also provide internship opportunities for young adults who are passionate about building the Kingdom of God.

The St. Paul’s House cross has become somewhat of a novelty on New York’s Westside. Photographed by tourist and newspapers alike, it has been a part in the opening credits of a popular Saturday night variety show and appeared in a recent Hollywood movie. When the mission has closed it’s doors for the evening the cross continues to shine it’s message into the night.

St. Paul’s House on the web:



Norwalk, Connecticut


Red Cross of Fairfield County

One 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 about the Red Cross (from their website):

Each day, thousands of people – people just like you – provide compassionate care to those in need. Our network of generous donors, volunteers and employees share a mission of preventing and relieving suffering, here at home and around the world.

We roll up our sleeves and donate time, money and blood. We learn or teach life-saving skills so our communities can be better prepared when the need arises. We do this every day because the Red Cross is needed – every day.

Red Cross on the web:

Rockville, Maryland

Lucky Dog Animal Rescue

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).

The above photo is of me and my canine pal, Cream.

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

More about Lucky Dog Animal Rescue (from their website):

Lucky Dog Animal Rescue is a volunteer-powered nonprofit dedicated to rescuing homeless, neglected, and abandoned animals from certain euthanasia and finding them loving forever homes.  We educate the community and all pet parents on responsible pet parenting, including the importance of spay/neuter, obedience training, and good nutrition.

Lucky Dog Animal Rescue on the web:



Newark, Delaware


Little Sisters of the Poor

I was fortunate enough to speak with many of the residents, help with serving lunch, and even made some great new friends.

More about Little Sisters of the Poor (from their website):

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.

Little Sisters of the Poor on the web:

Salt Lake City, Utah

Direct Action

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’d known Ben and Chels 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.