Friday, April 25, 2014

Feel Good Friday - Lovin' Spoonfuls

Last August, Feel Good Friday introduced you to the Food Recovery Network at the University of Maryland. Today, we're taking it from college campuses to the grocery stores near you! Well, near you if you live in Boston.

"Lovin' Spoonfuls is an organization that facilitates the recovery and distribution of healthy, perishable food that would otherwise be discarded. Lovin' Spoonfuls works efficiently to deliver this food directly to the community organizations and resources where it can have the greatest impact."

As they explain on their website, in the United States we throw away 40% of our food while 49 million people in the country go hungry. Ashley Stanley experienced this first hand one day when she saw produce in the back room of a supermarket that was going to be thrown away. She put it in her car and drove it to a homeless shelter and that gave her the idea to create Lovin' Spoonfuls in 2010. 

Now in 2014, they have 3 refrigerated vehicles on the road collecting food from such partners as Whole Food's and Trader Joe's.  Since their inception they've distributed 1.3 million pounds of rescued food in the Boston area!

To learn more, read this Christian Science Monitor article, watch a short video on their mission page and meet some of the people involved or like their Facebook page to stay in the loop.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Feel Good Friday - ArtIsMobilUs

You know what makes me feel good on a Friday? Art. You know what makes me feel even better on a Friday? Art that comes to me.

Enter ArtIsMobilUs, "a mobile art gallery and roving arts incubator bringing art to people everywhere while providing platforms for exhibition, arts education, creative collaboration, and community engagement to multiple communities."

Translation? It's art on a bus!

The mobile gallery was founded by Richard Felix in March of 2012. The bus has two 8'x24' murals on the outside and a walk through gallery on the inside. It's a great way to share the art with people who might not see it otherwise.

The bus - soon to be busses - travel throughout the Bay Area at special events and on the following schedule: 1st Thursday of every month at the SF ArtWalk and 1st Friday of every month at Oakland's First Fridays.

Keep an eye out for the bus rolling through your neighborhood or get involved by becoming a volunteer. Be sure to like their Facebook page so you'll always know where to find them.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Feel Good Friday - The Street Store

It's Feel Good Friday and we're getting on the retail pop-up bandwagon!

You may have seen a temporary retail store or restaurant pop-up in your neighborhood only to be gone after a day or two. Well Kayli Levitan and Max Pazak have applied the same concept to create a pop-up clothing store for the homeless in Cape Town, South Africa called The Street Store.

They wanted to provide homeless people with a dignified way to find donated clothing. Clothes are displayed in an outdoor space and people can shop for what they want, not just take what they can get.

You can watch this 2 minute video to see the affects of the store or read a Daily Good article for some more in depth information.

As homelessness is not unique to Cape Town, Kayli and Max have created open source files with the signage and instructions so you can host a pop-up in your city. Keep this in mind as you delve into your closets for some spring cleaning.

After some recent press they've had 139 people take the pledge to create a pop-up so you may see a Street Store in your neighborhood.

Want to be the first to find out when their upcoming Tedx talk is available on line or otherwise stay in the loop? Visit and like their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter @TheStreetStore.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Feel Good Friday - Roots & Shoots

photo credit: Jane Goodall Institute
Yesterday Dr. Jane Goodall turned 80 and Feel Good Friday is celebrating her birthday by spreading the work of her Roots & Shoots organization!

We all know Jane Goodall for her work with chimpanzees and the recent video of a rescued chimp who hugs her before returning to the wild. 

But what is Roots & Shoots and how did it get it's name? The ever-optimistic Dr. Goodall explains the name in her own words in this 1:11 min video.

Their website explains the purpose of the organization. "Roots & Shoots is the youth-led community action and learning program of the Jane Goodall Institute. The program builds on the legacy and vision of Dr. Jane Goodall to place the power and responsibility for creating community-based solutions to big challenges in the hands of the young people. Through the program, young people map their community to identify specific challenges their neighborhoods face.  From there, they prioritize the problems, develop a plan for a solution, and take action."

The best part about this is the encouragement for people not to become overwhelmed by every environmental issue that's going wrong but instead focusing on steps we can all take to make a change for the better. She said it best herself in a quote I recently discovered, "What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make."

Since it's inception in Tanzania in 1991, Roots & Shoots has expanded to 130 countries with over 150,00 members! Whether you join a project or donate money, Dr. Goodall's birthday wish, which she shared on a live broadcast Google+ hangout, is that the work being done by Roots & Shoots continues with or without her.

As always, you can keep up with this remarkable woman by liking Jane Goodall on Facebook or following the Jane Goodall Institute on Twitter @JaneGoodallInst. I hope I'm half this awesome when I'm 80.