Fall is here, and we’re getting ready to kick off our fourth season here at SoupGrant! We can’t wait to meet our presenters on Thursday, but before we hear from them, here’s a brief intro to their work in the Lansing community.
Young Entrepreneurs Academy
Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is an after-school program whose aim is to transform local high school students into real, confident entrepreneurs. Students generate ideas, conduct research, write plans, and pitch to investors to launch their own companies. If YEA! wins this month’s grant, they’ll put the funds toward student registration fees. For more info on YEA!, check out their website.
Lettuce Live Well
We heard from Lettuce Live Well in June, and they’re back to compete again. Lettuce believes that nutrition education should be free and accessible for all people. They run guided supermarket tours and one-on-on nutrition coaching to make Lansing a healthier city. This month’s grant would help Lettuce fund their grocery store tours and give resources directly back to the community. To learn more about Lettuce Live Well, visit their site here.
We look forward to seeing you this Thursday at 6:30! Don’t forget your bowl and spoon!
Three years ago, SoupGrant Lansing opened its doors for the first time. Over the years, we’ve connected countless community members and helped over thirty Lansing organizations reach their goals. This Thursday, we’re celebrating our birthday with a special reunion Soup!
Come out and join us as we welcome back Lansing Track Club, Gateway’s TRUE Project and Helping Women Period. As usual, there will be tons of soup for all tastes – and birthday cake! Bring your friends and family for a great meal and great ideas.
To learn about this month’s presenters, click here.
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.
Lettuce Live Well is a nonprofit established on the principle that nutrition education should be free for everyone. The organization offers free, 90-minute guided grocery store tours led by nutritional coaches, during which participants are given information on shopping for health and affordability. The founders of Lettuce Live Well hope to foster a healthier community by teaching Lansing residents that eating healthfully can be both easy and wallet-friendly. If they were to win this month’s SoupGrant, Lettuce Live Well would return the funds to their participants. The money would be used to purchase reusable grocery bags, recipe and information booklets, and $10 gift cards to the participating grocery store. To learn more about Lettuce Live Well, visit their website.
Lansing Track Club
The Lansing Area Track club is a nonprofit organization that offers sports to families in south Lansing. Their hope is to reach those who are single parents, have multiple children, or simply cannot afford to allow their children to participate in sports, and make those activities accessible to them. Through participation in the Lansing Track Club, kids learn the importance of team-building and physical activity in a safe, fun environment. If the Lansing Track Club is awarded the June grant, they will put the money toward team uniforms and transportation assistance for working parents. For more information on the Track Club, you can visit their Facebook page here.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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?
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!
Onion (gluten free)
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!
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!
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!