This month, we’ll be hearing presentations from three of our past favorites: Lansing Track Club, Gateway’s TRUE Project, and Helping Women Period. Here’s a little more information about each of them.
Lansing Track Club
Lansing Area Track Club is a nonprofit that offers sports to families in south Lansing. They aim to reach families with single parents, multiple children, or low incomes, and offer their kids an inexpensive extracurricular that gets them up and moving. If Lansing Track Club wins this month’s grant, they will put the money toward new uniforms, track equipment, and transportation assistance for working parents. For more information, visit the Track Club’s Facebook page.
TRUE is an LGBTQ teen support group that meets weekly in Lansing. They provide positive social connections for youth who may feel alienated at school or home. Some current group activities include therapeutic art projects, education about sexual health and other LGBTQ issues, and trips to community events. This month’s grant would help TRUE coordinate group events and continue serving Lansing’s youth. For more information on TRUE, check out their Facebook page here.
Helping Women Period
Helping Women Period is a nonprofit that partners with charities to provide pads and tampons for low income and homeless women. WIC, SNAP, and other government assistance programs do not provide feminine products. Helping Women Period’s mission is to fulfill that basic need for every woman, regardless of income. If they won the August grant, they would use the funds to purchase products for distribution. For more info, visit their website.
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
How 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.
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!
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!
With around 40 attendees, we had our largest crowd ever, raising a total of $157 to go towards lawyer fees for Mid-Mitten Homemade as they try to acquire 501c status.
Advent House and Grammies Goodies made it a very close contest. We’re very pleased to announce that Grammies Goodies will be back in March at our next SoupGrant! (And we’re hoping for more goodies, too! They were delicious!)
If you can’t wait that long for more delicious treats, go check out the Bath Township Farmers Market – where you can find Grammies Goodies every Thursday from 3-6. During the winter the market is at the Bath Township Community Center off Park Lake Road.
The SGL team will be meeting this Tuesday to make final decisions on the 10 final contestants in our logo makeover – it’s going to be a tough call! We’ve gotten so many good submissions and we’re excited to share them with you. Be on the lookout. You’ll see them here beginning March 3.
We had our closest ever vote tonight. Bath Township Farmers Market won by a single vote! Congratulations to Christian and the Bath Township Farmers Market on taking home $65 to help promote the farmers market in the GL Community! We’re looking forward to hearing more from you in the coming months.
Never been to Bath Township Farmers Market? It’s just off Webster Road at the Bath Township Community Center near I-69 during the winter months. Their winter hours are every Thursday from 3 – 6. Go check them out!
We’re also very happy to let you know that, even though Rothman and Joel’s idea for a homeless backpack kit didn’t win, everyone was very enthusiastic about it at tonight’s SoupGrant and Rothman and Joel decided to go forward with the idea. Rather than using the grant money to purchase supplies, they will be putting the kits together off of donations! Cinda, one of tonight’s attendees, already pledged plenty of granola bars. Check out the video for more info about the project.
Do you have anything you can donate? Here’s an (incomplete) list of things needed for the kits:
An old backpack you don’t need
Food supplies like peanut butter
Whatever you can spare, bring it to next month’s SoupGrant on Feb. 20!
Finally, a huge thank you to everyone who made it out tonight. Thank you for braving the snow and, more importantly, thank you for your tremendous enthusiasm and support. The greatest thing about SoupGrant is bringing folks together who all love Lansing and all care about our community.