Tag Archives: community

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.

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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.

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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.

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

March 19 SoupGrant Contender: HerBlends of Plenty

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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!

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!

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.

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!

Origami

On January 15, we will be welcoming back Jonathan from Cuts and Convos, a close runner-up at our December SoupGrant.

Our second presenter will be Karenia from Origami, a unique group of “providers and caregivers devoted to clients in the rehabilitation process.” Karenia describes herself and her organization in one word: Passionate!

“We are proud to tailor our therapy processes to each individual client.”

Origami makes their clients feel right at home, creating a warm and friendly environment.

“Sometimes its hard for both staff and clients to leave because they really do consider us to be home.”

origamiHere’s a little more info about Origami and what they hope to do with their SoupGrant should they win on January 15.

Tell us a little about Origami.

Origami is working to create a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) Educational Guide for survivors and their support systems. We want to educate the community on traumatic brain injuries and how they can prevent them. In addition, Origami is passionate about bringing this issue to the forefront. With the rise of injuries due to sports or those in the war/combat, in recent years, we want the community to know there is help. The guide will hold brain injury symptoms, strategies, services, resources, etc. Our goal is to provide such organizations as hospitals, nursing homes, and primary care physician offices with the educational guides so they can share them with those in need.

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

The money will be used for the printing and design process of this guide. We will work with a print production group to accomplish this particular project.

Want to know more about Origami before January 15? Check out their Facebook page and website.

Join us on January 15 to hear more from Karenia about Origami!

Time? Doors at 6.30. Presentations at 7.15. Winner announced at 7.45.
Where? Grace Lutheran ELCA – in the basement (528 N MLK Blvd, near Sparrow Hospital)
How much? Dinner is free; a vote is $5.
Why? To support #LoveLansing. Don’t forget to bring a bowl, a spoon, and a friend!

For more info on our January 15 SoupGrant, visit our Facebook event page.

Lansing Soccer Club Wins December SoupGrant

Nothing says “it’s the holiday season” like a room full of friends gathered together to share a meal!

We would like to send a big thank you to our Soup Family across Lansing who joined us for a great SoupGrant on December 18. The basement was packed! Normally people start trickling in when the doors open around 6.30. This month we had a line at the door at 6.30 to hear from our two presenters: Cuts and Convos and Lansing Soccer Club.

Bruce from Lansing Soccer Club
Bruce from Lansing Soccer Club

Bruce shared a little about Lansing Soccer Club and their work in the city of Lansing providing “high quality soccer for Lansing’s under-served youth at the lowest cost possible.” LSC endeavors to make soccer accessible to kids through providing scholarships. Working with limited resources, LSC came to us seeking money to repair fields in need of maintenance work.

We also had Jonathan from Cuts and Convos present this brand new, truly unique organization. Cuts and Convos serves some of the most vulnerable and most in-need in the Lansing community by providing haircuts to homeless folks. As Jonathan says, “When you look good, you feel good.” But it’s more than just a haircut. As a law student, Jonathan also looks to disseminate legal advice on topics such as interacting with the police and housing.

Jonathan talking about Cuts and Convos
Jonathan talking about Cuts and Convos

SoupGrant looks to foster relationships throughout the community and we can’t tell you how excited we were to have an up-and-coming organization like Cuts and Convos join us. We had two or three folks raise their hand during Jonathan’s presentation to let him know about different resources and organizations in Lansing that might be interested in partnering with him.

This is really the heart of SoupGrant. Even though Jonathan and Cuts and Convos didn’t win the final vote (by a mere three votes!), you, our Soup Family, helped connect him with other great folks in Lansing.

We are excited to have Cuts and Convos join us again in January where they will face off with Origami, another great group out of Mason that we’ll be featuring on here next week!

Finally, hats off to Lansing Soccer Club on taking home our second largest SoupGrant ever! You helped us raise $220 to purchase equipment and supplies to repair their fields such as grass seed, soil, sand, paint, and tools. The work will all be done by volunteers. We love LSC’s work bringing together folks from across the city in the name of sport. We’re very excited about what you’ll be able to do with this money and hope to continue supporting this fine work in the future!

See you January 15 for our next SoupGrant!

Stay awesome, Lansing.

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Cuts and Convos

At long last, we are happy to unveil our second contestant in this month’s SoupGrant, Cuts and Convos. While you’ll get to hear a lot more from Jonathan next week about this project, here’s a little sneak preview.

Tell us a little about Cuts and Convos.

We go to the homeless shelter and provide hair cutting services. While we are there, we leverage the fact that cutting hair creates a captive audience that will allow us to disseminate health, spiritual, and legal information and advice. The vision is to not only do this for homeless people but for all types of indigent Lansing residents.

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

We need $400 to pay for the 501(c)3 application

Cuts and ConvosHow is this going to benefit Lansing?

Cuts and Convos does three things:

1. When you look good, you feel good. Everyone knows that is true. There are very few populations that need to feel good more than our city’s homeless population. We make them feel God.

2. Our goal is to help transition people out of homelessness. A crucial component in doing that is helping homeless people become gainfully employed. Being clean cut and clean shaven is a key requisite to the interview process in order to become gainfully employed, we help with that

3. We leverage the time in which the person getting a haircut, and those waiting for a haircut are a captive audience to speak to the homeless men about important health, spiritual, and legal information that will be essential to them.

To hear more about Cuts and Convos and our other presentation on Lansing Soccer Club, join us December 18 at 6.30 for SoupGrant! A $5 donation gets you a vote to support the project of your choice. Whichever one is the runner-up will automatically be offered a place in our January SoupGrant.

While you hear about these great community projects, enjoy homemade soup and bread! Chef Terry and friends always serve up a delicious buffet for us full of healthy options – including many vegetarian and vegan options.

When? Dec 18. Doors – 6.30. Presentations – 7.15. Winner announced – 7.45.
Where? Grace Lutheran ELCA. 528 N MLK Blvd. (Near Sparrow’s St. Lawrence campus.)
How much? $5 for a vote. Soup is free.
Why? To support #LoveLansing. Don’t forget to bring a bowl, a spoon, and a friend!

Lansing Soccer Club

Our Dec. SoupGrant is fast approaching and we hope that you’re making plans to attend. If so, please RSVP on the Facebook page! It helps us know how many people to count on and it’s the fastest way we have of sharing the latest event info with you.

This month’s first presentation comes to us from the Lansing Soccer Club. Here’s a sneak preview of what’s to come Dec. 18 at SoupGrant!

Lansing Soccer Club

Tell us a little about the Lansing Soccer Club.

The Lansing Soccer Club is seeking funding to improve our soccer fields and also to replace outdated and damaged equipment. In the past year, our fields have experienced multiple acts of vandalism that have damaged our fields and equipment and also created a dangerous environment for our teams to practice and play on. The mission of the Lansing Soccer Club is to provide high quality soccer for Lansing’s under-served youth at the lowest cost possible, for this reason the organization cannot afford these repairs without raising our fees or seeking outside funding.

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

Funding will be used to purchase supplies to repair the field surfaces and purchase new equipment. Items we need to purchase include soil, sand, grass seed, paint, and the tools necessary to plant and repair grass. Labor to complete these projects will be provided by volunteers from the club’s membership. Any money provided by SoupGrant will be used along side private donations to complete this project. In the event that the project runs under budget, any leftover funds will be used to provide more scholarships to club members with financial constraints.

Check back on Dec. 12 when we will be announcing our second contestant for this month’s SoupGrant. Want to apply? You have until Dec. 10!

Join us Dec. 18 to hear more from Lansing Soccer Club and our second project that we will be featuring.

When? Dec. 18
Time? Doors at 6.30. Presentations at 7.15. Winner announced at 7.45.
How much? Soup is free; a vote to fund the project of your choice is $5
Where? Grace Lutheran ELCA (528 N MLK near Sparrow’s St Lawrence campus)
What do you need to bring? $5 for a vote; a bowl; spoon; friends

REACH Wins November SoupGrant

Congratulations to Reach Studio Art Center on winning $169 at Soup Grant Lansing last night! We’re looking forward to coming by and seeing the finished place down in REO Town! (And some great art!)

Although Lansing Area AIDS Network didn’t win, we believe in their work and want to support them. LAAN provides comprehensive services throughout the Greater Lansing area, including social outlets and safe forums where folks living with AIDS/HIV can find mutually beneficial support. To that end, we’ll be asking our December SoupGrant attendees to bring in items for their pantry. The most needed items are personal hygiene items – everything from toilet paper to hair care items (for all hair types!), toothbrushes and toothpaste, detergent, etc. We’re hoping to have someone from LAAN back in December so that we can present your donations to them in person! We’re excited to combine our donations with last month’s winner, the FFA Agribusiness Students from Clinton County, who also pledged to hold a drive for personal hygiene and food items this holiday season! There’s some serious power in community, and Lansing is a great one!

Mark your calendars for December 18! We already have the Lansing Soccer Club scheduled to join us. If you would like to be our second presenter, fill out an application! It’s easy and only takes a few minutes! Deadline for application is Dec. 10. We’ll notify our second contender by Dec. 12 and announce it at the same time.

Check out Facebook and Twitter for all the latest on SoupGrant. See you next month! (And don’t forget to bring along a donation for LAAN!)

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Always plenty of delicious food to go around at SoupGrant! (Did we mention that it’s free, homemade, and healthy, too?)

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Winner
Heather with our November winner, Alice from Reach Studio Art Center in REO Town! The $169 that our attendees raised will go to help with art installations at their newly renovated facility on Washington Ave.
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Joel from the SoupGrant team with our November winner, Reach Studio Art Center, represented by Alice.

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LAAN

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Audrey from Lansing Area AIDS Network talking about their work in the region.

LAAN provides comprehensive services throughout the Greater Lansing area, including social outlets and safe forums where folks living with AIDS/HIV can find mutually beneficial support. While LAAN didn’t win our November SoupGrant, we are asking all of our supporters to please bring in items for their food pantry at our December SoupGrant! The most urgently needed items are personal care items: hair products (for all hair types), toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrushes, laundry detergent, etc. Please bring in your items on Dec 18 where we will present them to LAAN!

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