Tag Archives: Mid-Michigan

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!

Cuts and Convos Wins January SoupGrant

We’re a little late in the game on this one, but we don’t want to miss out entirely on letting you know that Cuts and Convos won our January SoupGrant!

Having barely missed out on taking home our December SoupGrant (by a mere three votes!), we invited Jonathan back to compete a second time around in January.

Jonathan’s project really embodied the spirit of SoupGrant and resonated with folks both in December and January as a creative way to help the homeless population in Lansing on multiple levels: physical, spiritual, and legal. As a member of the community, Jonathan wanted to empower folks to go out and seek a better life and have the confidence to do so. (As Jonathan says, “When you look good, you feel good.”) As a law student, Jonathan wanted to be able to provide legal advice. And, last but not least, as a Christian, Jonathan wanted to find a way to encourage and uplift folks with spiritual counsel.

We are excited to see Cuts and Convos take off and become another component of our vibrant city and we want to thank YOU for helping us raise $189 to get them on their way.

One side note: You know, we talk a lot about how SoupGrant just provides a forum for people to get together and do amazing things; this can manifest itself in a lot of different ways. In the past we’ve had people become inspired to do things like hold their own collection drives for the Lansing Area AIDS Network’s pantry. Sometimes people share contacts and knowledge to help others. Sometimes people chip in financially. Well, after awarding Jonathan the $189 you helped raise, we had someone step forward and offer the remaining money needed for Cuts and Convos to get their 501(c)(3) status. Check out more from Jonathan on their website!

We hope that you will join us for a very special Show the Love and Shape the Future SoupGrant in February! Instead of our normal format, we’re going to take a month off to spotlight some of the work that Grace Lutheran does with their refugee program. In addition, we’ll be giving the microphone to some of our friends who have been partnering with us over the past year-and-a-half to put on these events every month! Finally, we’ll be giving you the chance to tell us how you would like to see SoupGrant grow in the months and years to come. We’re a community venture and we can’t do it without you! Wherever we’re going, we’ll get there together!

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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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

Clinton County FFA Wins October SoupGrant

A huge thank you to everyone who came out to SoupGrant Thursday night! We had a great crowd with us and lots of good discussion.

First, congratulations to the Clinton County FFA Student Agribusiness on taking home $149 to get their business launched! They will be using the money to purchase supplies to set up a business that will give them the opportunity to sell locally-sourced products and gain experience in agribusiness.

Second year students from the Clinton County FFA Agribusiness group
Second year students from the Clinton County FFA Agribusiness group

The FFA (Future Farmers of America) students are about more than just business, though!

Our FFA Chapter is focused on service learning and we believe in the idea of “paying it forward.” There are 20 of us, and for every dollar that is donated to our project start-up fund, we will donate one man-hour of community service time in the community as a way to “pay it forward.”

Even though the Lansing Area AIDS Network (LAAN) came in a very close second place, as often happens at SoupGrant, we really had two winners tonight. The Clinton Co. FFA students offered to dedicate their holiday food drive to the LAAN food pantry and also collect in-demand items such as toiletries. On top of that, someone left a $20 donation anonymously for LAAN. We’re pleased to announce that LAAN will be joining us again on November 20 for our next SoupGrant competition!

Shawn from Lansing Area AIDS Network (LAAN) - she'll be back in November to present again
Shawn from Lansing Area AIDS Network (LAAN) – she’ll be back in November to present again

If that weren’t enough, Danielle from Mid-Mitten Homemade updated us on the incredible work that’s going on working with immigrant and refugee communities in the Lansing area. We’ll be sure to keep you posted on upcoming events in the year ahead – we are so thrilled at Danielle’s commitment to bringing folks together from across all cultures and backgrounds here in Lansing!

Good friend of SoupGrant and past winner Danielle from Mid-Mitten Homemade
Good friend of SoupGrant and past winner Danielle from Mid-Mitten Homemade

To top everything off, we were humbled tonight to receive an outpouring of support for Joel on his run this Sunday at the Detroit Marathon! Attendees made $136 in donations to our Indiegogo campaign, bringing our total to $456 so far! You have until Monday to chip in. Once more, thank you! We couldn’t do this without our awesome Soup Family.

We’ll be posting photos from Thursday night over the weekend – ChaDorea, the organizer of D.A.N.C.E., was kind enough to take photos for us! Thank you, ChaDorea!

Soup Master Terry
Soup Master Terry
The SoupGrant Team
The SoupGrant Team
Eating healthy - and working out!
Eating healthy – and working out!

Oktoberfeast

Our next SoupGrant is already upon us! It snuck up just as fast as this beautiful, cool fall weather – and you know what goes well with cool fall weather? You guessed it! Soup!

As usual, Soup Master Terry is hard at work making delicious soup for us. This week’s menu includes:

  • Black bean soup (vegan)
  • Carrot coriander
  • Cauliflower chowder
  • Kale orzo soup
  • Mystery soup

Thursday night is also going to be jam-packed with some great presentations.

First, we’re thrilled to have past winner Mid-Mitten Homemade back with us! Danielle, the founder of the group, has been a tremendous friend to us at SoupGrant and is always up to something new and exciting. MMH won our February SoupGrant and we’ve been trying hard to get them back ever since!

Danielle explains Mid-Mitten Homemade at our February SoupGrant.
Danielle explains Mid-Mitten Homemade at our February SoupGrant.

Then we’ve got a great pair of presenters who will be competing for this month’s SoupGrant: the Lansing Area AIDS Network and second year students from an Agricultural Food and Natural Resources program just north of Lansing in Clinton County.

Here’s a quick word about LAAN:

LAAN was established in 1985 by a group of dedicated volunteers, to meet community needs arising from HIV/AIDS. LAAN dedicated itself to the delivery of services and programs to meet the needs of those living with HIV and AIDS. This included programs to help prevent the further spread of HIV. LAAN also established its purpose: to respond effectively, knowledgeably and compassionately to the challenges brought about by the AIDS pandemic. Since its inception, LAAN has focused on the provision of services to people living with HIV/AIDS and those at greatest risk of infection. The Food Pantry program has been part of the services provided by LAAN since its origins and a program for which the agency is quite proud.

If LAAN wins, how will they use the money?

Any funds secured through the SoupGrant program will be used to assist in providing critically needed personal care items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, and soaps in the Food Pantry. The items can not be purchased with other funding.

And here’s some more info about our second presenter, the Agricultural Food and Natural Resources program:

We are the second year students in a Agriculture Food and Natural Resources Program in Clinton County. We joined the second year of the program so that we could learn about Agribusiness and Leadership and participate in an internship experience. We are excited to learn about entrepreneurship through a real experience and we are all striving to strike it rich in this business so that our college is paid for!

If the Agricultural Food and Natural Resources program wins, how will they use the money?

We need some money for start-up costs. Specifically we need money to purchase supplies to add value to the products we already have to sell. We want to make pesto and gourmet cooking oils. We grew our own basil and herbs, but we need money to buy other ingredients (such as olive oil and parmesan cheese) and some equipment such as a food processor.

We are so thrilled to have these two great contestants joining us Thursday night. Come by and hear more from them while you enjoy a delicious bowl of homemade soup! Your $5 donation secures a vote for the project of your choice. At the end of the night, the project with the most votes will take home the money we collect as our SoupGrant!

Where? 528 N. MLK (Grace Lutheran ELCA)
How much?
Dinner is free; 1 vote = (suggested) donation of $5
When? Thursday, October 16

6.30 – Doors
7.15 – Presentations begin
7.30 – Voting opens
7.45 – Winner announced

Don’t forget. SoupGrant is BYOB – bring your own bowl! 

To RSVP and for all the latest info, join our Facebook event page!

Seven Reasons You Should Love Soup

Our next SoupGrant is approaching – fast.

We’ve noticed a lot of you liking us and following us online (thank you!), but we haven’t seen all of you at our SoupGrant dinners just yet!

While we realize that a lot of folks can’t make it for some very good reasons, we have the feeling that at least a couple of you just need a little incentive to come join us!

So we came up with seven reasons why you should show SoupGrant some love and join us October 16 for our next dinner!

7. We do the cooking for you. If we can be honest for a minute, by the time Thursday rolls around, we’re all tired and no one really wants to cook dinner. SoupGrant is a great – and cheap – alternative to eating out! (If you happen to love cooking dinner on Thursdays, call us.)

6. Meet some new friends. The Soup Family is a great group of people and we’d love to meet you!

New Logo for application

5. Eat healthy. Not only do we cook for you, you can be sure that you’ll be eating healthy! Our soups are usually vegetarian and we promise to always have at least one vegan option available after our little incident in September (sorry, Yvonne!).

4. You could win money! No, really. You could! Every SoupGrant we award a micro-grant to a project that’s working to make a positive impact on the Lansing community. We’re not a bank, so we won’t be reviewing your financial history. It’s up to our Soup Family to decide who will go home with the money we raise. Want to be one of our presenters? Here’s more info if you’re interested in applying.

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

3. Cooking lessons. The Soup Master may have a couple pointers for you to help you with your cooking. Chef Terry is a culinary genius and can make anything out of nothing. Seriously. Ask her for a couple pointers!

2. Networking. You never know just who might be listening in while you’re making your pitch! Our gatherings are intimate and truly conducive to networking. Over the past year, we’ve seen some great connections happen during our SoupGrant dinners. Even if your project doesn’t come out on top when the votes are tallied, you’re still gaining a room-full of fans from across greater Lansing. Check out this story from last month about Go Green Trikes. They didn’t win, but still made some very rewarding contacts that evening.

1. Giving back never tasted so good. When you donate $5 at the door, you can be sure that the money you’re giving is going right back into the Lansing community to power change in the local economy. We’re a diverse, talented, hardworking bunch here in Lansing! So while you’re enjoying a bowl of delicious soup, sit back, listen, and enjoy the deep satisfaction that comes from homemade food, new friends, and knowing that your $5 vote is doing great things in your city!

Birthday Soup Contenders: Kids’ Farm Stand Fund

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. Last week we put the spotlight on The Food Systems Project. This week, we’re taking a closer look at the Kids’ Farm Stand Fund. Next week, we’ll highlight D.A.N.C.E.

Kids Farm Stand Fund

Describe your project. 

Aliza: We are a grant-funded garden based nutrition education program that partners with Lansing area schools to provide quality, effective nutrition education programming for elementary aged students (5-12 years old).  We work with over 1,000 students each year to promote healthy habits and food choices by facilitating hands-on gardening and cooking lessons. In keeping with our hands-on philosophy, we also maintain four educational gardens on the properties of our four partner schools. These gardens are a source of pride and beauty for our students and also allow them to see firsthand how their food is grown.

Much of the produce grown in our gardens is used in our cooking lessons with the kids,  but all surplus produce is sold at the West Side Farmers’ Market and the profits generated are put back into the program. This year we have begun inviting some of our oldest and most invested garden club students to help run our farm stand. This provides many wonderful opportunities for them to learn about their local food system as well as to  gain entrepreneurial insight and effective communication skills. The kids are very enthusiastic and eager to contribute. In the past season we have helped them to brainstorm ideas for new products to sell, including hand-crafted bracelets and healthful baked goods.

Unfortunately, however we are limited in what we can do as our grant does not allow us to purchase materials for these projects. If awarded this SoupGrant we hope to create a Youth Entrepreneur Farmer’s Market Fund. This fund would allow us to purchase materials so that we  are able to continue facilitating these educationally valuable projects with our students.

How will you use the money from your SoupGrant? 

Aliza: Money will be spent directly on supplies so that we can make value added products with our students to sell at market. For our students to truly be invested in this project, it is important that these experiences be kid-directed. For this reason, we will brainstorm with them what they are the most interested in learning how to make and sell. So for instance, if we decide that we are most interested in learning more about jam-making, this money will go to buy berries, sugar, cans and other supplies needed. Money made on sales of these products will go back into the Youth Entrepreneur Farm Market Fund for future projects.

Why is this project important?

Aliza: This project is important because it benefits our community on many levels. It will give our students the opportunity to learn and hone important life skills, such as jam making, baking, money management, product promotion, business etiquette, etc. Moreover, it will expand their perspective of our food system and allow them to observe and contribute to it at a wide range of stages–from seed to table. It will also help to provide more affordable, healthful and ethically produced products to market shoppers and area residents.

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

Aliza: The Farmer’s Market runs through October, so we would use some of these funds to produce products to sell during the current season. We program year round and will continue to build and strengthen relationships with students so that when next year’s season rolls in we will have a core group of committed students to continue these projects  at next years market.

Tell us about yourself!

Aliza: I am a Nutrition Educator at the North West Initiative, and boy do I love my job!! I have been passionate about food access and education since I was a high school student. I am committed to helping to create a positive learning environment for young people, where mistakes are just opportunities for growth and classrooms aren’t always inside! I have a big goofy dog named Arlo.