My blog post on October 1st described How a Bike, Books, and the Homeless Inspired a Challenge and since then, I’ve been on a mission to bring more purpose and passion back into my life by way of making and finding goodness in my community.
How has my quest for goodness been going so far? Well, here’s an update…
PERKING UP A COMMUNITY GARDEN
I drink a lot of coffee—and since I live in a townhouse without a backyard or residential composting my coffee grounds go into the garbage—and ultimately into the landfill where they produce methane and leachate pollutants. Not good news…I knew that I needed a solution. I recently spotted a community garden in the back of a preschool near my home and approached them about taking my grounds—and to my delight, they said yes! My coffee grounds are now being used to make nutrient-rich soil for a wonderful community garden.
- Cost: Nothing
- Takeaway: Out-of-box-solutions are out there, you just need to find them. A community garden is a great way to connect with your neighbors, grow your own produce, and even be a repository for coffee grounds!
When checking out the community garden, I noticed it had a Little Free Library nestled in the back. Little Free Library is a gathering place where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories, and are encouraged to “take a book, return a book.” Given the generosity of the school taking my coffee grounds, I wanted to add to the library’s collection.
- Cost: $6.12 – I went to a thrift store and bought 10 children’s books (including one of my all-time favorite kids books, The Velveteen Rabbit).
- Takeaway: A Little Free Library is just plain cool and if you don’t have one in your neighborhood, you should build one! The Little Free Library website has resources to get you started.
If I’m not at work, chances are you’ll find me running in Forest Park, the largest urban forest in the United States. Given that I regularly use the park, I consider it my duty and responsibility to take care of it. So, I recruited a couple friends to help me pull ivy on the Wildwood trail this past Saturday as part of the Forest Park Conservancy’s Fall Day of Stewardship.
- Cost: $9.77 – I bought a few snacks for my friends—after all, I couldn’t let them go hungry while on the job!
- Takeaway: Our parks and wildplaces don’t take care of themselves. If you use them, it’s also your responsibility to support and maintain them—and it’s a great way to spend time with friends.
A CATALYST FOR CHANGE
It’s no surprise that Portland makes many “best” lists (best place to live, best craft breweries, top bike-friendly city, etc.), which is what makes it such a desirable place to live. However, perhaps lesser known is the fact that Portland has a very high homeless population (on any given night, about 4,000 people sleep on the streets or in shelters).
Street Roots provides income opportunities for people experiencing homelessness and poverty. In Portland, there are approximately 70 active vendors and more than 250 vendors that sell the newspaper during the course of a year. Collectively, more than 20,000 newspapers are sold each month. Vendors purchase the paper for $0.25, which goes towards printing, and sell the paper for $1.00, keeping all profit and any tips.
- Cost: $1.00 – I purchased the latest issue from Skip, my favorite Street Roots vendor
- Takeaway: Street Roots and similar programs are a viable option for those in need—chatting with Skip I learned that he makes about $100 a week selling papers. Contributing a small amount of money can be a catalyst for positive social change for these vendors – my mom said she always gives the vendor $2.00—next time I will.
21 DAYS OF INSPIRATION
When I started October Social Goodness Month, my goal was to find inspiration in my community and hopefully encourage someone out there reading my blog to get more engaged in their community and perhaps even consider social entrepreneurship. While my bits of goodness may not be overly grand, I’m encouraged by a quote I recently came across:
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop
What’s up for the rest of the month? I have a few things planned including phone banking this Thursday to support the “Yes on 92” campaign. I also have a growing pile of old running shoes that could benefit from a new home.
Budget as of Oct. 21: $16.89
Budget Remaining: $18.11