Thursday, May 29, 2014

Missy's Corner: Maternity Clothing Swap

In trying to be a good steward of Mother Earth, I have been doing my best to come up with ways during my pregnancy to be more green and “consume more, buy less” as I like to say.

Pregnancy only lasts 9 months but during that time your clothing needs change so rapidly. What you need at the beginning is not the same as what you need at the end. Clothing can be expensive and it can be especially expensive in the maternity department. I am very fortunate to have many friends whom have already had children and live somewhat close to me. Instead of going out and spending tons of money on a new wardrobe, that I would only wear for nine months, I decided that maybe some of my friends would be willing to lend me some of their old maternity clothes.


Check out our video from What You Can Do featuring ideas about starting a clothing swap.



Sure enough my friends were more than happy to lend me all of their maternity wear. Between three different friends, I now have an entire wardrobe of options that I can use throughout my entire pregnancy. I also have my own small collection to add to the mix. Most of the items I have purchased for my bump have been from thrift stores. It was pretty easy to find oversized shirts and maternity specific wear for a very cheap price if I just took the time to look hard enough. 

I plan on offering my collection up to these same gals (If they have more children) or offering them to other close friends who become pregnant. Maybe it would become something kind of like the "sisterhood of the traveling maternity clothes.”   

This was one of the shirts I got at the thrift store for a couple dollars.
It was not maternity specific but it fit and was inexpensive.  This way
I don't care if it gets stretched out and it didn't break my wallet.
Borrowing and returning clothes only worn by mothers for less than a year has been such a great adventure (and easy on my pocket book). When so many things meant for pregnancy/babies etc. are expensive this is a great way to recycle, reduce and reuse. I have also been trying my best these days to buy gently used or recycled items for my new baby. By cleaning them up and making them usable, I consume more than I buy. Of course this can help keep items out of landfills and reduce our carbon footprint.  

Since sometimes times you can be the first of your friends to have a baby, you might not always have the option to borrow clothes from friends. However, there are many groups on the internet that are all about swapping maternity clothes, baby items etc. etc. Take a moment online to google your local area and see if there are other mothers around you that might be willing to participate in a clothing swap. It can never hurt to take a chance at finding ways to better our green lifestyles.

Since I live in a highly populated, urban area, I am also exploring what my options are for greener ways to live with a baby. More ideas and thoughts to come as I venture into this “baby” journey all while trying my best to be a good steward of the earth. What are some of your green baby ideas? We want to hear from you. Please write comments below!

Until Next time,

Missy

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Countdown to Summer


With a tough winter behind us (unless you live in Colorado!), we’re dreaming of our favorite things about summer here at What You Can Do. Here are a few reasons we’re ready to trade in our boots for bathing suits: 
  • corn on the cob
  • nautical prints
  • watermelon
  • fireworks
  • family bbqs
  • ice cream
  • long walks
  • potato salad
  • star gazing
  • sunsets
  • sun dresses
  • swimming in the ocean
  • being outside
  • fresh seafood
  • looking for sand dollars on the beach
  • waterskiing
  • backyard games
  • fresh berries
We're kicking off summer with the giveaway of a tray designed by Boris Bally, an artist known around the world for transforming found materials such as recycled street signs and weapon parts. For more info about the artist, visit: http://www.borisbally.com/

Enter for a chance to win a Boris Bally Pentatray through May 31 at: http://www.ontheleesh.com/whatyoucando/borisbally.html 


We would love to hear your favorite things about summer!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Missy's Corner: There is still time to do something great for Earth Day.

Next week’s Earth Day is fast approaching (Tuesday April 22nd).  If you haven’t already done so there are still many chances to find and participate in events around the country that will be celebrating Earth Day.  Too busy to participate in a local event?  Make up your own Earth Day celebration activity.  Learn how you can conserve more water during a drought.  Take 20 minutes to pick up trash on the sidewalk or street.  Cut back on your greenhouse gas emissions by walking or carpooling to work or pledge to participate in things like Meatless Monday which can also help your impact on our planet. (You can tweet out or Facebook the Meatless Monday pledge here)  You can also see our WYCD video with Meatless Monday here on youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ik2LxfTCVTM

If you need help finding an Earth Day event here is a good starting list that the Earth Day Network has provided on their website:  http://www.earthday.org/greencities/earth-day-events/#united%20states.  For those of you in the New York City or San Francisco areas check out these two great websites for information about their Earth Day programs:  http://earthdayny.org  or http://www.earthdaysf.org/earth-day.html

The living wall.
Cardboard Recycled Art.
As for my Earth Day celebrations, I have weddings on the next two Saturdays so I couldn’t make a lot of the larger Earth Day events.  Since I knew I was going to miss those I chose to check out a smaller event that happened near me last weekend.  My friend here in San Francisco owns a sustainable and organic granola company that decided to have a booth at the San Mateo Peace Love and Green event in Bay Meadows.  I decided that this was a great way to get out and see what people are doing to celebrate Earth Day and in the process I got to help my friend with her Granola Booth.  The event was small but everyone seemed to be having a great time. There were a lot of kids running around and some great recycled art around the property.  A recycled card board art piece and a large wind chime made of recycled aluminum cans.  They were highlighting a new sustainable living area in the City of San Mateo that is focusing on positive green living, biking, carpooling etc, etc.  It was a great way to get out and celebrate Mother Earth.  They also wanted to show off a very large living wall that is in the center of this new development.



Also on my list to celebrate Earth Day was at the beginning of this month I pledged to help conserve more water, since the state that I live in is currently in a bad drought.  I blogged about my pledge earlier this month.  So far I think I have been doing a pretty good job at not wasting as much water as I had been before.  The easiest one has been my shower usage.  I realized that I really don’t need to take as long a shower as I had been and that if I stay focused and get into the shower as soon as the water is decently warm I don’t get distracted and let the water run for long periods of time.  I also pledged to not run so much water while I do dishes in my sink.  This one has been a harder habit to break.  I am doing much better but I still have to remind my self to not let the water run on the dishes and walk away.  I have also made a larger effort to not leave water glasses half empty lying around my house.  If I do find an old water glass I have been taking it directly to my plants for watering.  This way nothing is going to waste.  Changing your habits is not always easy but with a little practice we can all make little differences each day that can help our plant.

Here is a list of some great ways that you too can conserve more water via Earth Easy:  http://eartheasy.com/live_water_saving.htm

Remember that it is not too late to get out and help Mother Earth in celebration of Earth Day 2014.

Cheers!
Missy

P.S. Don't forget to join our Twitter Chat on Earth Day, April 22nd, at 3pm EST!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Missy's Corner: Making the Pledge to Conserve Water During a Drought

Most of the U.S. is experiencing a drought.  However, where I live in California is one of the most series locations where this drought is causing major effects.  And unfortunately for the United States as a whole, and California specifically  there is no relief in sight.  

I try to be a good steward of the earth.  I compost and recycle whenever I can.  I try to buy used or recycled materials etc. etc.   But even I have bad habits that could be fixed.  Especially when it comes to my water use habits.   I want to be a part of the change and a part of the culture that is helping to conserve and not waste the precious water that we do have.  I try my best not to let the water run for no reason or to not flush my toilet if it doesn’t need to.  However, I could do better. 
Turning off the water in my kitchen sink.
I am pledging to use the water more efficiently while doing dishes. 

I need to hold my self and my actions to an even greater standard.  I need to be better about not running the water while I am doing the dishes and I need to be better about not letting so much water run in the shower before it gets hot.  Often times I will turn on my shower and than get distracted by walking out of the bathroom.  This month, in honor of Earth Day, I am going to pledge to not walk out of the bathroom while getting my shower ready.  I am going to pledge to be better about turning off the water while I do my dishes. I am going to pledge to use some of the cold water from my shower on my plants on the balcony.  Even these tiny changes can help conserve water during a drought.  If I can change my shower time from 10 mins to 5 mins I could help save an average of 12.5 gallons of water.

My shower in my apartment.
I pledge to not let the water run longer than I need to.
And to take shorter showers whenever possible.


I don’t have a lawn or a dishwasher but for those of you that do by cutting your sprinkler use by 3 to 5 mins you could save an average of 2 to 5 gallons per watering session.  By running the dishwater only when it is full you could save an average of 15 gallons of water.

These little changes maybe not seem like much but in a drought as serious as California is seeing, even these little acts of conservationism can help make a difference on a large scale if we all make the choice to change our consumption habits.  It is so easy to just turn on the tap and have clean, fresh water.  And we want that feeling to last for centuries.  Let’s all pledge to mother earth that this month (and the months to follow) that we will try even that much harder to make big steps to cut back on our  water wasting consumption habits.



Southern California has a website called www.bewaterwise.com that can help you become more water wise.  Learn about water saving tips, ideas, programs and water saving devices via their website.    The also have information about their rebate and incentives programs for certain water efficiency improvements for homes and business.  

This is a map of the current u.s. drought taken from www.http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu
The EPA website also lists some great ways that you can help save and use water efficiently.  http://epa.gov/watersense/pubs/res.html

Be the change you want to see in the world.  I am making the pledge to help conserve more water.  What will you pledge?   Please comment below about ways you help conserve water or how you are making a difference.  We want to hear from you.

Until next time,
Missy

Monday, December 23, 2013

WYCD fans answer our holiday questions


We love our fans here at What You Can Do! Every day when we see likes on Facebook, views on YouTube, hits to our blog and RT’s on twitter - we feel grateful to all of you who join us in the mission to change the world, one minute at a time. 

This holiday season we reached out to fans on both Twitter and Facebook to find out what you had to say about some holiday topics. We got so many great answers that we wanted to share a recap here on our blog:

1.  During this season of giving what organizations do you give to most?

WYCD:  This year What You Can Do is matching "likes" with meals donated to Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen we will match up to 1200 likes with meals. You can click here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.phpfbid=10152087886858606&set=a.240442418605.137875.94542848605&type=1&theater

WYCD FANS:

Buick Audra Nashville CARES (AIDS org.), Nashville Humane Society, and Safe Haven shelter for homeless families.

Charlene Miller Toys for tots

Sara Summers pennys by the inch

Donna Rush-Grant Food bank and the angel tree

Michele Parvis Children Inc, Komen, gifts for those in need and helping animals.



2.   What are simple ways that you can help fight Hunger?

WYCD: Donating to a local food drive or volunteering at a local food bank in your community is a great way to help the fight against hunger. Don't know of a food bank in your area?  Go here for a location search: http://feedingamerica.org/foodbank-results.aspx#

WYCD FANS:

Dee Richards Donate money, time, to your area food bank.


Sara Summers Share. we have enough to feed the planet

Tiffany Luvz Yuh be like katniss everdeen and start an uprising!

Colleen B. Guillot Have free food drives and hand out flyers for ppl in need to see.

Carol Barrett Jackson When you buy groceries, buy a couple of extra items and donate to your local food pantry.

Margaret Payne Sponser a dinner in your home or in the community once a week 


3.  Do you practice any eco-friendly holiday wrapping or decorating? If so what do you use? 

WYCD:  Consider using newspaper, recycled wrapping paper, subway maps, old fabrics, past child artwork or sheet music. Maybe choose a Charlie Brown Tree or a potted tree that you can plant after the holidays.  You can get more ideas from our Holiday Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TL9KuKCvYgc



WYCD FANS:

Buick Audra I recycle all wrapping paper and tissue - and definitely ribbon. We planted a memorial tree in our yard for our beloved kitty last month, and we intend to decorate it in coming years, in lieu of having a tree inside.

4.  Have you ever volunteered at a food bank/soup kitchen in your area? If so which one? 


WYCD:  We interviewed the Worcester County Food bank you can learn about volunteering there.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4U2GFWJ2wA

WYCD FANS:

Dee Richards Yes my son and I volunteer about 3 times a month at our church Word Spirit and Life Ministries in Chester VA food distribution program.

Brenda Hammerman once a month I do

5.  If you make New Year’s resolutions what will they be? Share with us we want to know!

WYCD:  You can go green for a new years resolution. Here are some ideas:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAuI43k-5-0   AND Volunteering is a big top 10 resolution that many people make in the new year. Why not try it!

Kayleen Dunlap  My New Years resolution is to begin to make decisions based on love and not fear!

Amanda Church Talbott To be a better mom, wife, daughter, and friend. #resolutions


Bonus Questions:  What are other ways that you try to help others during this Holiday season?

WYCD FANS:

Buick Audra Bake and knit for shelters!

Brenda Hamilton  Donate your time ..take cookies to nursing homes some of the ppl are all alone also donate to sober houses & rehabs..take cold weather gear to shelters this always helps ppl in need

Michele Parvis   making sure some of the people in need get a gift this year...

Thank you to all our fans who wrote in to give us answers to our holiday questions. There are so many ways to help fight hunger in your communities, go green for the holidays and make earth friendly resolutions. We hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday season and look forward to helping to make this world a better place together in the coming new year. 

All the best,

The What You Can Do Team

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen Offers More Than Just A Hot Meal

Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen is the second largest soup kitchen in the country, but they provide their guests with so much more than food.  Listen as their guests describe the vast array of services and how they have helped them get back on their feet.



Produced by - On the Leesh Productions
Featuring: Rev. Glenn Chalmers, Barbara, Joseph, David, Jay, Gerard, Norman, Patricia, Samuel, Juanita, Elizabeth, and Guests of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen
Directed by: Alicia Arinella
Shot by: Amanda Blohm, James McGann and Alicia Arinella
Edited by: Amanda Blohm and Alicia Arinella
Music by: Buick Audra
What You Can Do Logo Created by: SCG Siddharth Creative Group

Special Thanks: Yvonne Cassidy, Jordan Rubenstein, Rev.Glenn Chalmers,  Barbara, Joseph, Jay, David, Gerard, Norman, Patricia, Samuel, Juanita, Elizabeth, and everyone at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, and Dennis Arinella

For more information on What You Can Do, please visit:
Facebook - www.Facebook.com/whatyoucando
Twitter - www.Twitter.com/whatyoucando
Website - www.whatyoucando.com
Blog - www.whatyoucandoseries.blogspot.com
Vlog - www.youtube.com/unstoppableminute.com
Pinterest - www.pinterest.com/1minette

For more information on On the Leesh Productions, please visit:
Website - http://www.ontheleesh.com
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/ontheleesh
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/ontheleesh
Blog - http://www.ontheleesh.blogspot.com

For more information on Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, please visit - 
Website - www.holyapostlessoupkitchen.org
Facebook - www.facebook.com/holyapostlessoupkitchen
Follow them on Twitter - www.twitter.com/HolyApostelsNYC


For more information Buick Audra, please visit:

Facebook - www.facebook.com/buickaudramusic
Twitter - www.twitter.com/buickaudra
Instagram - www.instagram.com/buickaudra

Website - www.buickaudra.com

Spotlight on Hunger: WYCD Interviews Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, in New York City.



This holiday season, What You Can Do is teaming up with Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen to help raise awareness and fight hunger in New York City. As 1 in every 5 New Yorkers face hunger, Holy Apostles plays a crucial role in providing food, support and hope to people in need.  

The What You Can Do team is based in New York, so we have the opportunity to collaborate with many organizations inspiring change throughout our city. Since fans watch What You Can Do from around the world, we thought this holiday season would be a good time to highlight different perspectives on hunger. More than 49 million Americans face hunger today, with over 15 million of that number being children. 

We interviewed representatives from food banks and hunger organizations across the country and in Canada, asking about involvement in their communities, services they offer, trends they are seeing in their communities etc. 

Our seventh and final spotlight is on Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, a hunger relief organization servicing the NYC region.

An interview with Yvonne Cassidy, Social Media and Direct Mail Officer for Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, in New York, NY.





WYCD:  Please tell us a little about your organization and the community that you serve.

Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen is the largest in New York City. We serve an average of 1,200 meals every day, with the help of 50-60 volunteers. More of our guests are homeless today than ever before. Almost 60% of our guests are homeless. 10% of our guests are in a temporary housing situation; staying with a friend, sleeping on a couch or house sitting. These people are at risk for becoming homeless. Coming to Holy Apostles can be looked at as a homeless prevention program because this way our guests do not have to spend money on food. We have all different types of people here; women, men, children, and a lot of veterans visit the soup kitchen. In over 30 years of service, no one has ever been turned away.


WYCD:  How long have you been in operation?


Holy Apostles has been in operation since October 1982. We are the longest serving soup kitchen in New York, as well as the largest.


WYCD:  What types of services do you provide to your community?


At Holy Apostles, we not only want to provide food to the body, but we want to provide food for the soul.  In addition to providing lunch every weekday, we provide an array of services including, blood pressure checks, HIV tests, toiletries, chiropractor, yoga, movie nights, and the writer’s workshop. Our newest addition is a small computer lab and computer class to help people learn to use the computers and work on their resumes to get back in the workplace. Every day, we have a team of four counselors on site who work with our guests on a variety of practical ways to help them on to a more manageable way of life off the soup kitchen line. Services our counselors provide include connecting guests with jobs, benefits, shelters, family members, offering haircuts, assistance with housing, food stamps, Metrocards and providing picture ID cards.


WYCD: Which services are the most popular and why do you think that is? 

It's hard to say as we have such a wide variety of people who come here with different needs. For those who are homeless, being able to use the soup kitchen as a mailing address or simply having access to a phone is important. IDs are also very popular as people living in shelters or on the street often have belongings stolen and you can't get ID if you don't have ID. For people who are unemployed, haircut vouchers, clothing and Metrocards are in high demand as these can help them in their job search.


WYCD:  Have the overall numbers of visitors changed in the last few years?

We served 34 meals on our first serving day in October 1982. At the time the soup kitchen was open 3 days a week. Within weeks, the numbers of meals served jumped to 300 a day. After a couple of months, we were serving 500 meals, 5 days a week. Today, we serve on average 1,200 meals a day. 1 in 5 New Yorkers are hungry, food stamps have just been cut - it's not surprising that our numbers are growing, but it's sad.


WYCD:  Has the demographic of your visitors changed over the last several years?

We've seen an increase in the number of people who are homeless coming here - we estimate about 60% of guests are homeless - as well as an increase in the number of people at risk of becoming homeless. Often this latter category will be college graduates who may be staying on a friend's couch or another temporary living situation while they are searching for work. Rent in New York is exorbitant, so they stay on a friend's couch and come to Holy Apostles to get a meal. It helps them get by until they can find a job. We’ve had business people who have been laid off, people who are hit with a medical expense, even a funeral. Holy Apostles helps people stretch their budget, because the alternative is homelessness.


WYCD:  What are the most prevalent issues in your community, and do you feel that this reflects the current trends around the region?


Homelessness is obviously a big issue in New York and it is on the increase here as it is in other cities around the US. Tonight, as you and I turn out our lights to sleep in our beds, 51,000 New Yorkers will be sleeping in shelters, not to mention the hundreds or maybe thousands more on the street. Hunger is a huge issue. 1 in 5 New Yorkers are hungry. Recent surveys show families in low income brackets cutting back on food to pay rent, utility bills etc. The recent cuts to Food Stamps are going to make things even harder for people all across America. We've already seen the impact here in the soup kitchen. Unemployment and underemployment are big issues for our guests. Our most recent survey shows over 90% of our guests are unemployed and the vast majority who come here are in their prime working years.



WYCD:  If you have volunteers, are you finding more people involved in helping out, and does it fluctuate throughout the year?

We have 50-60 volunteers every day. We have seniors, college students, school and corporate groups, people who come once a week, or once a month, or even every day. Thanksgiving and the holidays are especially popular. We start to book up in July for Thanksgiving and we usually have to cut this off a month or so in advance. It's wonderful to see such an outpouring of support at this time of year but hunger is a year round problem - you provide a meal for someone today and they are hungry again tomorrow. Our busiest months are actually during the summer when schools are out and more children and families come to the soup kitchen. Often we struggle getting volunteers in the summer as people are away on vacation so that's when we really need help.


WYCD:  Do you have special requests for the types of food/meals that you provide?

There's a huge focus among our chefs on providing a nutritious meal using local and in season produce. Many guests eat here every day so variety is important. In the last number of years we have revamped the menu and we no longer serve any processed foods. All grains on the menu are whole grains. For many guests, this is their only meal, so we ensure it is balanced to provide their nutritional requirements for a day. We provide a vegetarian meal for guests who don't eat meat. Unfortunately, beyond that we're not able to provide for special requirements due to the volume of meals we serve and the budgetary constraints under which we operate.


WYCD:  What are easy ways that your community can help out your organization even if they only have one minute of time to give? What if they have one hour to give?


In one minute you can "Like" us on Facebook - www.facebook.com/holyapostlessoupkitchen or follow us on Twitter - @HolyApostlesNYC.  This helps us get the word out about what we do and raise the profile of the soup kitchen. If you can only spare $1, that will cover the food costs for one meal for a guest. Over 90% of our donations are small donations from individuals. Every little bit helps..


Many thanks to Yvonne and her team at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen for sharing their insight on hunger in the New York City metro area with us.

We want to express our gratitude to all the organizations across the country and in Canada for sharing their perspectives on the fight against hunger. Though the holidays provide many opportunities to make a difference in our communities, we can continue to help our neighbors year round. By volunteering or donating to your local shelter or food bank, we can help erase hunger close to home and around the world. And remember even if you have one minute, you can help change the world.  

If you want to learn more about Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen and the work that they do, you can visit their website at:
http://www.holyapostlessoupkitchen.org
@holyapostlesNYC


To join What You Can Do in the mission to help change the world, one minute at a time,
please visit us at: