Birthday Soup Contenders: Food Systems Project

Our 1st Annual Birthday Soup is fast approaching! SoupGrant Lansing will be celebrating turning a year old before you know it!

As we talked about marking our birthday, we decided that we would like to bring back some past winners. We regularly try to bring back past winners to talk about what they have been able to accomplish since winning SoupGrant, but we wanted to take it a step further by giving them the chance to compete for a second SoupGrant. Back in June, we sent out e-mails, and Tweets and Facebook posts letting past winners know that they could re-apply. We had decided to limit the number of contestants to three and we received word from three past winners letting us know that they were interested!

As we approach August 21, we want to take a look at our returning contestants. This week, the spotlight will be on The Food Systems Project, our June ’14 winner. Next week we will take a closer look at D.A.N.C.E. and Aliza’s garden project.

The SGL team (Heather, Joel, and Terry) with June winner, Terra

The SGL team (Heather, Joel, and Terry) with June winner, Terra

The Food Systems Project – Terra

Describe your project.

FSP: The Food Systems Project is a school-garden based nutrition education program that provides classroom lessons, an after-school program, and a summer garden camp for youth ages 5-12.

How will you use the money from your SoupGrant?

FSP: The funds will be used to help pay for an Americorps member for our program to help build capacity and create a more sustainable program that can grow and thrive.

Why is this project important?

FSP: This program provides nutrition education classes and school-garden based education to over 1,000 students and over 50 classrooms in Lansing each year.

What is the time frame for your project? Who/how will you be accountable? 

FSP: We are fundraising in order to have an Americorps member at our program, which would be infinitely beneficial to the program. All funds raised will go towards this expense. We will update you via e-mail on how things are growing!

Tell us about yourself!

FSP: Our program was started in 2005 and continues to grow. We are a small team with a big vision, big mission, and big hearts!

RSVP

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STARS wins our July SoupGrant

July SoupGrant winner Angie took home $98 on behalf of STARS.

July SoupGrant winner Angie took home $98 on behalf of STARS.

We had a great SoupGrant last Thursday! We featured two awesome projects – Go Green Trikes and STARS - who competed for our SoupGrant. In addition to hearing from Yvonne from GGT and Angie, one of the STARS parents, we had some great soups: potato chowder, crushed lentil, and an amazing carrot soup. Aliza made a delicious kale salad – we’ve had a few requests for the recipe! Watch out, Aliza! You may have more than one SoupGrant attendee asking you to make it again sometime!

Both ideas were very popular – we had lots of questions for Yvonne in particular! In the end, though, STARS pulled through with the majority of the vote. The $98 we awarded will be going to help them send the team to a national dance competition in New Jersey this August!

If you want to hear more about STARS, we encourage you to check them out and consider giving a donation to help them realize this awesome, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for their dancers!

We are hopeful that Yvonne will make it back to talk to us again in September. Go Green Trikes is a unique, innovative project and something we feel privileged to get the chance to hear about firsthand at SoupGrant!

Yvonne from Go Green Trikes, LLC gave a great presentation - we hope you come back in September!

Yvonne from Go Green Trikes, LLC gave a great presentation – we hope you come back in September!

July SoupGrant Angie

See you in August for our 1st Annual Birthday Soup!

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The Contenders

This month, SoupGrant is featuring two fantastic local, #LoveLansing projects that you won’t want to miss! 

The first is Go Green Trikes, a very unique start-up here in Lansing that offers a green alternative for local deliveries.

If GGT wins the July SoupGrant, they will use the money “to wholly or partially offset delivery costs so non-profits can take advantage of our services. So far, the Homeless Angels and Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council have both expressed interest. Others that we plan to invite once a fund is established are the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing, the Allen Neighborhood Center, and the Greater Lansing Food Bank.”

Why is this project important?

Go Green Trikes, LLC operates under a “triple bottom line”. While we’re in business to make a profit, people and the planet are important to us as well. We’ve noticed that several local non-profits LOVE the idea of utilizing greener transport alternatives, it may be an undue hardship for them to do so.

The second is the S.T.A.R.S. Dance Company, a group of insanely talented girls who will be traveling to NY/NJ in August for a national dance competition.

Money raised at SoupGrant will be used to help offset travel costs for the dance team. The cost to send these 25 girls is $25,000 – you can check out more info on the team and their trip on their fundraising page!

Why is this project important?

We created our S.T.A.R.S. Dance Company (SDC) to allow our students the chance to compete, travel, take master classes and become accustomed to the professional dance world. Many of our dancers come from at risk neighborhoods and from homes where they would not be able to afford competitive dance training (almost 75% of our students receive financial assistance to participate).

Join us Thursday night to rally support around these two remarkable organizations that are making Lansing great.

Never been to a SoupGrant before? We raise money for community organizations one soup dinner at a time. The soup is free, homemade, and usually vegetarian or vegan. As we gather together to share a meal, we hear from members of the community who share projects and ideas that they are working on. Attendees donate $5 at the door for a vote. After hearing the presentations and having the opportunity to ask questions, you get to vote for the project of your choice. The winner takes home the SoupGrant to kickstart their work.

In the past, winners have taken home anywhere from $65 to $259. The more people you help bring out, the more money we can give to these great causes!

So come hungry – and don’t forget a bowl, spoon, and $5 to support the project of your choice.

RSVP

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Re: Indiegogo Fundraiser

For those of you who weren’t with us at our June SoupGrant, we wanted to give you a quick rundown of how we’ve used the $330 raised in our Indiegogo campaign at the beginning of 2014.

  • $150 awarded to Kaylee Fischer, the winner of our SoupGrant logo redesign contest
  • $50 to offset costs for our soup chef, Terry
  • $50 to print bumper stickers with local printer, Nudge Printing
  • $30 was deducted from our total in fees for Indiegogo
  • $10 in printing costs
  • $10 buying volunteers coffee

This leaves us…

  • $30

We will be replenishing our coffers through donations raised with our bumper stickers. If you would like one, we suggest a $5 donation. They can be picked up every month at SoupGrant. To continue supporting Kaylee, who has been wonderful to us ever since the end of the logo contest, we will be giving $1 from every $5 raised back to her as a small way of continuing to say thank you.

SoupGrant is as grassroots as it gets and we can’t thank you enough for your support! We couldn’t do it without you, and so we want to be accountable to you in how we invest our money.

If you are interested in making a donation to SoupGrant, send us an e-mail at SoupGrantLansing@gmail.com.

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Next SoupGrant July 17!

Our next SoupGrant is July 17!

Terry and Heather will be away on a much-deserved vacation, so Joel will be flying solo for the night.

We want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has stepped forward so far to help out by preparing food for us. (See below for the night’s menu!)

This month, SoupGrant is featuring two fantastic local, #LoveLansing projects that you won’t want to miss! 

Presenters:

  1. Go Green Trikes
  2. S.T.A.R.S. Dance Company
  3. Got an idea? Start filling out an application for our September SoupGrant!

The first is Go Green Trikes, a very unique start-up here in Lansing that offers a green alternative for local deliveries.

If GGT wins the July SoupGrant, they will use the money “to wholly or partially offset delivery costs so non-profits can take advantage of our services. So far, the Homeless Angels and Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council have both expressed interest. Others that we plan to invite once a fund is established are the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing, the Allen Neighborhood Center, and the Greater Lansing Food Bank.”

Why is this project important?

Go Green Trikes, LLC operates under a “triple bottom line”. While we’re in business to make a profit, people and the planet are important to us as well. We’ve noticed that several local non-profits LOVE the idea of utilizing greener transport alternatives, it may be an undue hardship for them to do so.

The second is the S.T.A.R.S. Dance Company, a group of insanely talented girls who will be traveling to NY/NJ in August for a national dance competition.

Money raised at SoupGrant will be used to help offset travel costs for the dance team. The cost to send these 25 girls is $25,000 – you can check out more info on the team and their trip on their fundraising page!

Why is this project important?

We created our S.T.A.R.S. Dance Company (SDC) to allow our students the chance to compete, travel, take master classes and become accustomed to the professional dance world. Many of our dancers come from at risk neighborhoods and from homes where they would not be able to afford competitive dance training (almost 75% of our students receive financial assistance to participate).

Join us Thursday night to rally support around these two remarkable organizations that are making Lansing great.

Never been to a SoupGrant before? We raise money for community organizations one soup dinner at a time. The soup is free, homemade, and usually vegetarian or vegan. As we gather together to share a meal, we hear from members of the community who share projects and ideas that they are working on. Attendees donate $5 at the door for a vote. After hearing the presentations and having the opportunity to ask questions, you get to vote for the project of your choice. The winner takes home the SoupGrant to kickstart their work.

In the past, winners have taken home anywhere from $65 to $259. The more people you help bring out, the more money we can give to these great causes!

So come hungry – and don’t forget a bowl, spoon, and $5 to support the project of your choice.

On the menu:

  • Vegan sweet potato
  • Crushed lentil (vegetarian)
  • Salad from Aliza’s garden
  • Corn chowder (vegetarian)
  • And one more vegan soup!

RSVP on Facebook for July SoupGrant

Updated 7/16/14

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Food Systems Project wins June SoupGrant!

Congratulations are in order to the Food Systems Project which won this month’s SoupGrant contest!

The Food Systems Project has been actively educating Lansing kids in nutrition and growing their own gardens since 2005. They reach over 1000 kids every year grades 5-12 in 50+ classrooms across the city!

Currently they are working to bring an Americorps member on board. The $67 they raised last night will go towards making this a reality!

The SGL team (Heather, Joel, and Terry) with June winner, Terra

The SGL team (Heather, Joel, and Terry) with June winner, Terra

As Terra said in her application, “We are a small team with a big vision, big mission, and big hearts!”

We wish Terra and the Food Systems Project all the best and wish them the best of luck as they continue to raise money to bring a new team member on board!

Love this idea? #LoveLansing? Want to share your own idea with us next month? Why not apply for a #SoupGrant yourself? It only takes 15 minutes to fill out an application!

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Next #SoupGrant June 19

Join us Thursday, June 19 for our next SoupGrant!

As always, we meet at Grace Lutheran ELCA at 6.30 to share a delicious, home-made soup meal, hear ideas from around the Lansing community in our SoupGrant contest, make new friends, and catch up with old ones.

Our soups this week:

  • Crushed lentil (Made with chicken stock)
  • Veggie minestrone (Vegetarian)
  • Sweet parsnip (Vegetarian)
  • Shilton (Vegetarian)

Don’t forget to bring along a bowl, a spoon, and your appetite! Presentations begin shortly after 7 and voting takes place around 7.30.

We’ll be featuring Terra and the Food Systems Project which has been helping educate Lansing youth (grades 5-12) since 2005 on raising gardens. The program provides nutrition classes to over 1000 students a year!

We’ll also be hearing an update from past winner, Aliza, and her little free libraries project!

We collect a $5 donation at the door. This money goes to fund our SoupGrant that will be awarded at the end of the night to the community-based project with the most votes. Your donation gets you a vote!

We’re excited to see you! Please let us know if you’ll be coming on our Facebook pageIf you would like more info, check out some of the essential info on what we do and what we’re about. If you are interested in presenting a community-based project in our SoupGrant competition, check out past winners who have competed and the application page. We still have room for presenters, but hurry! It’s less than a week away!

This month’s winner will also be eligible to compete in our Birthday Soup in August when SoupGrant celebrates turning 1!

UPDATED 6/19/14

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1st Annual Birthday Soup

Announcing our 1st Annual Birthday Soup!

It’s hard to believe, but it’s already been a year since our very first Soup! Grace Lutheran has been a gracious host this past year and we continue to meet there every 3rd Thursday from 6.30 to 8.30 pm.

Here are just a few highlights from SGL’s first year:

  • We’ve raised over $1,000 for a diverse range of community-based projects in the Greater Lansing area.
  • We raised $300 to support our ongoing efforts and sponsor a logo redesign contest.
  • Heather and Joel spoke with Mark Bashore on WKAR’s Current State back in February, sharing our vision and hopes for SGL and the Lansing community.
  • SGL partnered with Advent House to help distribute backpacks to homeless folks in Lansing thanks to our attendees’ donations.

In August, we’re going to celebrate the past year’s success with our 1st Annual Birthday Soup! As we do every month, we’ll feature three community projects to be voted on by our attendees. This dinner will be special in that we’re inviting past winners to participate a second time around, expediting the process for them and allowing them a chance to win more money to further their work!

We had three past winners respond expressing their interest in competing:

  1. Aliza and the Little Free Libraries
  2. D.A.N.C.E.
  3. Terra and the Food Systems Project

 

While winners are not obligated to present the exact same project, their presentations will be related to their past work and this second SoupGrant will help them as they continue striving to make a difference in the community!

Check back on our website, Twitter, or Facebook for the latest and see you August 21!

RSVP

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UPDATE: Homeless Backpack Care Kits

We recently received an update from Susan Cancro who came to speak to us back in February at SoupGrant. We’re very excited to have this partnership with Advent House and to participate in our community in this way. If you haven’t heard about our backpack project, this video will give you a basic overview – this project is still ongoing, by the way, so if you have something you would like to contribute, we invite you to bring it with you to SoupGrant on June 19!

Susan shared two specific stories with us in her e-mail.

First of all, two stories of how needed the backpacks are:

One man came to us after spending several months living place to place and under a bridge for much of the time because he didn’t want to be in a shelter (we have since convinced him to use the resources in the system and he is sheltered now). He was overjoyed at having the backpack, which he immediately used, as he transferred his clothing and important papers from a tattered, smelly backpack he had been using. He also put the personal needs items to use making himself feel “like a human being again” (he said).  A homeless woman came to us though our employment program and needing the new backpack, as well as the personal needs items, especially the feminine products.

We also got some feedback on what’s worked well and what we could rethink as we put together more backpacks in the future.

Overall they loved having the backpack itself (always useful as they wear out backpacks quickly). They also were so happy to receive the personal needs items–deodorant, toothpaste/brush, razors, feminine products, soap and facecloth, etc.; these items can be hard to come by on a regular basis.  Regarding the food items, they had some suggestions–the drinks were great, but some food items either didn’t stand up well to being in the backpack and moved around–such as crackers that would begin to crumble–or food items that were hard to eat–particularly a problem with things that are difficult to bite if a person has bad teeth, which is a common problem among our guests.  I’ll be talking with others on my staff this week to see if there are more stories or additional feedback for the project.

If you have anything you would like to contribute, let us know or bring it in on June 19! If you would like to put together a whole backpack yourself, that’s great. If you would like to bring in an empty, gently-used backpack or items that can be used to stuff a backpack, that’s just as important!

See you June 19!

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Hungry for change?

SoupGrant Lansing is always looking for ways to get folks involved in the Lansing community! Sometimes that means just being in the right place at the right time. We’ve had some great connections happen at our SGL dinners – and it all happens over a bowl of soup!

If you would like to get involved with SoupGrant, here are a couple areas where we could use your help!

New Logo

Photographer. Joel’s been handling most of the photography so far, but we could really use someone else who wouldn’t mind giving of their talent and time once a month every third Thursday for a 1-2 hour chunk.

Put up a poster! Does your place of work or worship have a bulletin board? Print out a poster and put it up for us! Need a poster? Let us know and we’ll make sure you get as many as you need!

How much do you love soup? Show us! We allow a limited number of folks to bypass our $5 suggested donation by making us soup every month! Send us an e-mail (soupgrantlansing@gmail.com) in advance to see how many spots are available – and be sure to note all the ingredients in what you make in case of food allergies. Plan to make enough for 8 – 10 people.

Propose an idea for a micro-grant! You don’t have to be an organization or a 501c to make a proposal! We’ve had some great ideas from individuals like our backpack project or the Little Free Libraries proposal! Ideas big and small are all welcome as long as they are about making the Lansing community a better place for folks to live, work, learn, and enjoy. Check out more info on our questions page – and if you still are unclear, shoot us an e-mail at soupgrantlansing@gmail.com!

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