Refugee Development Center

Announcing our second contestant at SoupGrant on Thursday: the Refugee Development Center’s summer camp! Compost Katie–a weekly, curbside food waste pickup service in Lansing–will also be joining us, as well as past winner Lansing Soccer Club.

Refugee Development Center

Tell us about your project.

The Refugee Development Center (RDC) runs an annual summer camp for 4 weeks that serves 80 youth, middle and high school aged. The students are all new arrivals to the country (within 18 months), and the camp is designed to support core-curriculum standards for science as well as foster growth in English as a second language.

If you win, how will you use the money?

During our camp we go on many field trips, and some of the destinations involve swimming in pools or lakes. Many of our students come to this country with very little and often are not equipped with proper swim suits come summer, which results in them not being able to participate in the activities. We hope to use the money to buy some simple swim suits for our students and provide them the opportunity to enjoy a summer swim.

Why is the project important? How does it benefit Lansing?

The RDC works to welcome newcomers to Lansing, their new home. Our clients are members of the Lansing community, and the work we do has a direct impact on the city. Our summer camp helps acclimatize students to American life and their new home, simple things such as swimming in the summer in a swimming suit is all a part of that experience. And while a small piece, it will improve the summer for many children.

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Compost Katie

Announcing our first presenter at SoupGrant on May 21!

Tell us a little about your project.

Compost Katie is a weekly curb side pick up of all food waste. This includes cooked meats, bones, all produce, pizza boxes, corrugated cardboard and news print. Compost Katie also picks up all lawn debris, leaves, twigs less than one inch in diameter and untreated grass clippings. Our objective is to reduce the amount of organics in our landfills and return them to their proper home in the food chain. We vermicomost all of our organics.

If you win, how will you use the money?

Money would go towards my lease of $930 a month as well as to marketing this concept. This idea is very new to Lansingites and must be explained in mailers and the press.

Why is this project important for Lansing?

Simply put, we are running out of landfill space. Not to mention the methane gas that is created through the anaerobic of which organics are placed under in landfills. The EPA has pointed to landfills as being the number one man made contributor to methane gas which is 23x more dangerous than CO2. Much of the vermicompost created will be donated to the Garden Project which oversees 90 community gardens that feed over 7,000 people.

For the latest info on May 21 SoupGrant, join our Facebook event!

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Get Your Application in for May 21!

Got an idea for the Lansing region? Want a platform to share it? How about the chance to win over $100 to fund it?

SoupGrant Lansing is a monthly crowd-funding event that takes place every 3rd Thursday at Grace Lutheran ELCA near the corner of MLK and Saginaw in the heart of Lansing. We fund diverse projects including start-ups, mom & pop ventures, neighborhood initiatives, school projects, and more. Our only requirement is that your project must, in some way, benefit the Lansing region (generally considered Eaton, Ingham, and Clinton counties).

We are currently looking for folks interested in presenting their project at our May 21 SoupGrant. Want to apply? Applications are due May 1 and our contestants will be announced May 4.

How much money can you raise at SoupGrant? Well, part of that’s up to you! The more people you invite, the more donations we’ll pool together for our “SoupGrant.”

Got more questions? Take a look at our FAQs page. If you still can’t find the answer you’re looking for, e-mail us at SoupGrantLansing@gmail.com!

We look forward to seeing you May 21 and sharing soup with you!

Soup: best shared with friends.

Soup: best shared with friends.

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Woman Behind the Mask Wins SoupGrant

Congrats to Woman Behind the Mask on winning $130 at SoupGrant!

Our Soup Family – powering change in #LoveLansing one bowl of soup at a time.

Congrats to Woman Behind the Mask on winning $130 at SoupGrant!

Woman Behind the Mask meets every week at NorthWest Initiative to provide women a safe and secure place to gather for mutual support. WBM would like to use the money towards purchasing a van and getting a logo designed for their group. Know someone with a van or graphic design skills who might be able to donate their time or give a reduced rate? Let us know and we’ll pass on the word to WBM!

Who’s next? Apply by May 1 to present your locally-rooted, Lansing-minded idea on May 21!

HerBlends

Kirk and Patti from HerBlends of Plenty came back again to talk about their new venture – Abundance at the Avenue Cafe. Join us April 27 at the Avenue for a preview pop-up dinner at 6:30.

Woman Behind the Mask

Elizabeth Collins-Jones and Danyele Evans from Woman Behind the Mask talk about their work to provide a safe and supportive place for women in Lansing to meet weekly.

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Recap of March 19 SoupGrant

On March 19, about 30 Lansingites gathered in the basement of Grace Lutheran ELCA to share a hearty, healthy, and delicious meal – and, at the same time, to support a great cause. Two very different groups came to present their ideas, both hoping to make the Lansing area a healthier and happier place to live – and eat!

The first, HerBlends of Plenty, has been joining us faithfully month after month since late 2014, every month treating us to delicious, locally-sourced tea. We look forward to having them with us every third Thursday, especially this month where they joined us to present their idea for an accessible and affordable farm-to-table community kitchen and tea house on Lansing’s Eastside. The night of SoupGrant, they also announced the location for their new brick-and-mortar establishment: Avenue Cafe at 2021 Michigan Ave.

HerBlends

Kirk from HerBlends of Plenty.

Our second contender was Team Playmakers from St. Vincent Catholic Charities. This group of volunteers works with foster children in need of support and stability in their lives as well as a healthy, physical outlet. As Ann shared with us, what the kids at St. Vincent need more than anything is the constancy of a reliable adult presence in their lives. Everyone, I think, was deeply impressed by the stories of kids who have gone from exhibiting indifference or resistance to the running program to enthusiastic participation as they see their mentors return faithfully week after week.

St Vincent

Ann from Team Playmakers at St. Vincent.

Those who have been to SoupGrant before know just how hard it is to have two great presentations on the same night and to be forced to choose which one to support. (I myself never vote because it’s just too hard to make up my mind!) Unfortunately, everyone gets only one vote, and only one can win. Maybe Kirk (from HerBlends) encouraging everyone to vote for Team Playmakers made the decision a little easier this month.

In the end, Team Playmakers won your votes and, in doing so, your generous donations totaling $152. Team Playmakers will be able to use this money to pay for registration fees, training clothes, and program incentives for the kids. You can find more info about them here.

If you would like to support HerBlends of Plenty, be sure to like them on Facebook and follow the developments as they launch their crowd-funding campaign. Having an affordable, farm-to-table option sounds like a great addition to Lansing’s Eastside and we can’t wait for them to open their doors!

Finally, we got to welcome the Clinton County FFA back this month. We were thrilled to not only hear about how business has been going for them since they won SoupGrant last October, we also got to see the fruit of their dedication as they followed through on their promise to collect donations for the Lansing Area AIDS Network pantry, a pledge they made after beating out LAAN to win that month’s SoupGrant.

LAAN

FFA of Clinton County donated a lot of great items to LAAN as well as over $140!

FFA LAAN

Clinton County FFA joined us to update us about how business is going for them five months after winning SoupGrant – and also to drop off all those bags of donations for LAAN that you see on the stage!

Thank you again to everyone who joined us. Since 2013, you have helped raise $2153 – and that’s not including the numerous second-hand donations that have been made by those who have given additional time, funds, and resources to folks who presented at SoupGrant! We are working to partner with past SoupGrant presenters to create some volunteer events around Lansing in the coming months. If that interests you, be sure to join our Meetup page! It’s free and it’s a great way to see what our friends are up to around town.

See you April 16 for our next SoupGrant! We still have room for YOUR application, so head on over to the application page and fill one out! Got questions? Check out the FAQs or e-mail us (SoupGrantLansing@gmail.com) if you can’t find the answer to your question!

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SoupGrant in the News!

Check it out, folks! Heather and I (Joel) had the chance to sit down with Paige from East Lansing Info! She wrote a very nice story about us.

Read, share, spread the #SOUP movement!

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March 19 SoupGrant Contender: HerBlends of Plenty

Tea

HerBlends of Plenty

Tell us a little bit about your project.

HerBlends of Plenty is looking to open up a brick & mortar, including a tea house, community supported kitchen, and a small fresh market.

If you win SoupGrant, how will you use the money?

Towards the down payment on the space.

Why is the project important? How does it benefit Lansing?

Lansing currently has zero tea houses, and now the city proper has zero farm-to-table restaurants. This is a shame. We are looking to address this deficit, while supporting local farmers and creating healthy food that people can afford. We feel that Lansing needs motivated entrepreneurs to partner with local farmers and find creative ways to make food more accessible to those who need it the most.

For all the details on our March 19 SoupGrant and to RSVP, check out our Facebook event page!

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March 19 SoupGrant Contender: Team Playmakers at St. Vincent’s

Team Playmakers

Team Playmakers at St. Vincent’s

Tell us a little bit about your project.

Team Playmakers at St. Vincent’s is a running and walking program at St. Vincent Children’s Home in Lansing. The home houses up to 40 abused and neglected kids at a time, ages 5 – 18. We train with the kids three days a week, and go to races once or twice a month.

If you win, how will you use the money?

We use donations to pay for race entry fees, training clothing (such as shorts in the summer, and gloves in the winter), and program incentives (the kids get a small toe token for every five miles they complete, and when they get to 50 miles they get to dig in the Treasure Box!). Playmakers donates gently used shoes for all the kids.

Why is the project important? How does it benefit Lansing?

These kids have no one. They have no voice. They’ve been mistreated and have lived in many homes. Running and walking gives them a healthy outlet for their anger and frustration. But exercise isn’t what’s most important about our program, it’s that we show up consistently, and listen without judgement. When kids leave St. Vincent’s, they take new, healthy habits back into the community with them. We plant a seed, and in most cases, we’ll never have the opportunity to see if it grows, but we know some will.

For all the details on our March 19 SoupGrant and to RSVP, check out our Facebook event page!

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A Quick Look Back at February

In February, we took the month off from our usual format to focus on some of the work that our partners do in the Lansing community and to thank them for their continued support. Chief among them have been Grace Lutheran ELCA and the NorthWest Initiative. We invited Aliza to come talk to us about NWI’s continued work around town – more specifically, the Food Systems Project – and we also asked Pastor Dan to come talk to us as well.

NWI has been with us every step of the way since we set out in the summer of 2013 and they have provided us with a wealth of great projects like the Little Free Libraries and the Food Systems Project. Aliza in particular has been an enormous asset to SoupGrant, not only by competing for a SoupGrant on several occasions, but also making delicious food to share! (Any time you want to make that kale salad again, we won’t say no!)

Grace Lutheran ELCA has been exemplary in seeking to participate in and love the community around them. When we held our first fundraiser in the winter of 2013-2014, one of our goals was to get enough money to give a little back to them for all of their generosity towards us in allowing us to use their kitchen and basement facilities. They refused, insisting that they saw supporting us as a part of their way of giving back to the community. In January, we were upset to hear that one of the refugees housed on their campus had her car damaged during SoupGrant, so we decided it was time to do something to help them out. We raised $130 to go towards the repairs on the vehicle in question; in the event that the money is not needed, we have asked Grace Lutheran to keep it and put it to another good use.

This month we also took some time to talk about our new Lansing Soup on the Move Meetup Group! We are hoping to use this new meetup group as a way to give you more ways to participate in the community, make new friends, and solidify our partnerships with folks around town. Check it out and let us know if you have any ideas for events that you would like to see happen in the future!

Special thanks to Mark from the Lansing Photo Meetup Group/ImageForte for these great photos! All photos are property of Mark Chamberlain. To see the full gallery, click here.

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Soup: best shared with friends.

Soup: best shared with friends.

Getting set up.

Setting up.

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We raised $130 for our friends and gracious hosts at Grace Lutheran ELCA.

We raised $130 for our friends and gracious hosts at Grace Lutheran ELCA.

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Joel talking about the new Lansing Soup on the Move Meetup Group.

Joel talking about the new Lansing Soup on the Move Meetup Group.

Aliza talks about NorthWest Initiative's Food Systems Project.

Aliza talks about NorthWest Initiative’s Food Systems Project.

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Pastor Dan from Grace Lutheran ELCA.

Pastor Dan from Grace Lutheran ELCA.

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Showing the Love and Shaping the Future

This month we have a special SoupGrant planned to (roughly) coincide with Valentine’s Day!

We love Lansing and we know a lot of folks who love Lansing, too! What better Valentine could we give Lansing than offering our friends and partners in the community a chance to speak out about their work in the region?

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First, we will have a representative from our great friends at Grace Lutheran share a little about some of their programs, including their refugee program!

Second, we are also inviting our long-time friend Aliza from The Food Systems Project to talk about her ongoing work promoting healthy living and eating in Lansing.

Speaking of healthy eating, we will feature our regular assortment of delicious soup from Chef Terry! And, good news, we already have the menu for this month!

  • Kale (vegan)
  • Tuscan bean
  • Potato
  • Onion (gluten free)
  • Venison chile

As always, if you want to bring a pot of soup, a loaf of bread, dessert, or anything else to share, let us know by sending us an e-mail at SoupGrantLansing@gmail.com!

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While we show some friends a little love, we are also going to start talking about shaping our future together! As some of you may have noticed, we started a Meetup group recently.

Let us clarify: Nothing about SoupGrant will be changing as a result of the Meetup group! Rest assured that our monthly dinners will remain the same.

Over the last year we have been privileged to have a phenomenal range of presenters join us at SoupGrant and we have had a lot of our friends go on to get involved with various volunteer opportunities after hearing some of these presentations. We are creating this group in part to help our Soup Family connect with the ongoing work of our friends and partners in the community, but not only that! We are also about bringing people together and so we would like to provide more opportunities for our Soup Family to get together, make friends, share ideas, and grow together in community.

We are going to be asking for your input regarding future events and plans for the Meetup group on February 19, so don’t miss out!

What? Show the Love and Shape the Future SoupGrant
When? Feb 19. Doors at 6.30. Presentations after 7.
How much? Suggested $5 donation for Grace Lutheran
Where? Grace Lutheran ELCA’s basement (528 N MLK blvd near Sparrow Hospital)
Don’t forget a bowl, a spoon, and a friend!

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