Tag Archives: help

Repair cafe: community based skills lending

Just heard about this, definitely hoping to check the next one out. Toronto Repair Cafe is a monthly event where various people come together, some of them know how to fix things, others have things that need to be fixed, and so it goes. Oh yeah, and sometimes there are 3D printers so replacement parts can literally be created on the spot!

To read more about the event, check out <a href="http://metronews viagra a vendre suisse.ca/news/toronto/1122796/talking-trash-with-toronto-repair-cafe-organizer-paul-magder/” target=”_blank”>this article. Here’s an excerpt:

What kind of things can people have fixed?

The volunteers are called fixers. They have skills in different areas. We have people that can fix electronics, computers, iPads, tablets and phones. We have people that can fix appliances, small appliances like lamps and toasters, and sometimes even umbrellas, things around the house.

And then we have sewers and jewelry people who repair jewelry. In the summer we have a bike repair person and we also have a bookbinder.

It’s different people with different skills.

What’s the purpose of the café?

There are many. The first one is the obvious one, to prevent things from going into the garbage. We want people to change their attitude from a throw-away society to a fix-it society.

The next big thing is to show people that they can actually repair things themselves. Most of the people are volunteers who fix things. They don’t fix things for a living. This is something that they just enjoy doing and they like to demonstrate to other people that they can do it as well.

The community spirit that it creates is really exhilarating. People just love it. It’s a café, so we also have coffee and pastries and so on. People just come and hang out and watch what’s going on and meet other people. It’s a great community activity and really promotes cohesion.

Sounds good to me! Maybe if you go to the next one, I’ll see you there.

Creative system for letting your neighbours know what they can borrow

From an article titled :

A Switzerland-based project called is encouraging neighborhoods to build a greater sense of community by placing stickers on their mailbox to indicate what goods they have to loan to their neighbors.

As community-oriented as I am, I don’t know most of my neighbors. It’s not a matter of intimidation or thinking they’re not friendly, but it’s simply because I’ve never really needed to know all of my neighbors. We’re all quiet. We stay out of each others’ hair.

This idea targets that notion that neighborhoods can be closer and work together. This project first started as a way for cyclists to know which houses have a bike pump just in fxdd case they got a flat, but it’s become more than that. Now people who want to take part can illustrate that they’re willing to loan out lawn mowers, toys, costumers, and even wifi.

I think it raises a good question about how we treat stuff too. Why does every home in every neighborhood need to have a lawn mower? Or a power drill? I guess in a way it doesn’t make sense. What are your thoughts on this?

I think it’s a clever idea and can definitely help neighbours meet and help each other. Thus I am boosting the signal for anyone else who’d like to get on board with this.

Want to help animals? Can’t adopt? Here are some other ways

I really like this post, it reminds us that there’s pretty much always a way we can help, even if it’s not in the most obvious and direct ways we might think. From MNN, Mother Nature Network, “25 creative ways to help animal shelters”. Some highlights:

Spread the word
• Hang up fliers for upcoming adoption events or adoptable animals in pet stores, vet offices, parks and other places where potential adopters will find their perfect companion. Distributing fliers and other marketing materials is an easy and important way to get the word out about adoptable pets.
• Share adoption profiles on social media: Your Facebook timeline, Twitter stream, Pinterest board, Tumbler page and other social media accounts are all perfect ways to help advertise pets that are in need of a home. Simply sharing the profiles of adoptable animals to your followers takes hardly any time or effort yet could play a part in creating the perfect match for an animal in need of a forever family.
• Transport animals: Have a car? Then a shelter might need you. Some shelters have a hard time arranging to get animals from the shelter to vet appointments, or from shelters to rescue facilities. Donating a little of your time and your driving skills will help animals get the care they need when they need it, and frees up time for other shelter volunteers to get more work done.
• Walk dogs: Many times shelters are short on staff to help exercise and socialize their animals. If you’re good with dogs, take an hour once a week (or more!) to drop by and take a dog for a walk. Play time has huge psychological and physical benefits for waiting animals.
• Pet cats: Cats need socialization too. If you’re a cat lover, take an hour once a week (or more!) to hang out with cats — petting, playing and interacting with them to get them ready for a new home.

Gathering supplies

• Donate wish list items: Every shelter has a wish list of items, whether it’s food, toys, bedding, litter, crates or cleaning supplies. Pick up a couple items next time you’re shopping to drop off at the shelter.
• Scan Craig’s List, Freecycle, eBay, and other resources for items being sold or given away, and collect them to donate to a shelter.
• Call local hotels to see if they have any unusable bedding, towels or cleaning supplies that they will donate to a local shelter.
Bust out your special talents:
• Crafty folks: Create homemade toys and bedding using old T-shirts, jeans or blankets. Or sew up “Adopt Me” vests and bandanas for adoptable animals to wear while they’re out for walks or at events. A quick search for “How to make [insert dog bed, dog toys, cat toys, etc.]” will bring up loads of patterns and ideas.
• Carpenters and DIY whizzes: Help out with carpentry or other skills needed to repair and improve shelters. Anything from renovating parts of a facility to building a new cat tree will be hugely appreciated.
• Lawyers: Shelters need lawyers too. Lend your knowledge and skills to help shelters stay on top of legal forms, contracts, copyright on videos or brochures made for advertising, and so on.
• Accountants: Shelters definitely need to stay on top of accounting paperwork. You can help shelters keep organized about fees paid by adopters, donations and grants, as well as balancing expenses for caring for the animals.
• Dog trainers (or trainers in training!): Take a dog to obedience class. Often dogs need some training before they’re ready to be adopted. You can help shelters by volunteering your skills as a trainer and working with the dogs. Or if you’re a novice, take a dog to obedience classes where you both can learn. Basic commands like sit, stay, lie down, and loose leash walking all make a dog more adoptable.
If you have experience with dog or cat behavior, volunteer to do behavior evaluations for new arrivals, and help the shelter determine each animal’s personality, social skill level, find any triggers for behavior problems, and other important information that’s needed for determining how adoptable an animal is or what kind of home they need to thrive.
• Website designers: Shelters need to constantly update their websites as animals are
adopted or are made available for adoption. Everything from maintaining upcoming events information, calls for donations, blog updates, designing a professional look and other aspects of a great website are things you could help out with.
• Writers: Shelters do a lot of writing. They need adoption profiles for each pet put up for adoption, newsletters must be written and sent, ads for events and fundraisers must be crafted, grant applications must be written, and so on. Your skills as a writer could make all the difference for a shelter’s success.
• Social media experts: Social media is a must for getting the word out on adoptable pets. Shelters need to post updates constantly on who is looking for a new home, who was adopted out successfully (everyone loves hearing success stories!), requests for much needed supplies or donations, and other news. Someone skilled with the etiquette and best practices for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other platforms, including skills for writing and scheduling updates, can mean a big uptick in successful adoptions.
• Photographers: High-quality photos for adoption profiles make an enormous difference in how quickly animals get adopted. Volunteer your skills with a camera to photograph animals, showing off their personality and making them look their best so potential adopters will click on their profile and, with luck, visit to meet and adopt them. Check out HeartsSpeak, an organization that helps photographers partner up with shelters.
Fun fundraising ideas:

• At work: Put up a glass jar with a sign on your desk or countertop, and send out an email to coworkers asking for donations for a week. Or take it a step further by organizing a supplies donation drive, bake sale, raffle or other fundraising drive for a week or more.

• At school: What better place to learn about animals in need than at school? Enlisting the help of teachers and classrooms full of students could mean major donations to a local shelter. Talk to the faculty and staff at a school about ideas, from donation drives to raffles. The shelter you’re helping could bring in a couple adoptable pets to the school to show kids how (and who) they’re helping. It’s the perfect opportunity not only to raise funds and goods for the shelter, but also to raise awareness at an early age about caring for pets.
• Say “thank you”: Shelter workers give their whole hearts to their jobs, and are usually buried under never-ending to-do lists and urgent tasks. They usually are overstressed and under-paid. So little things like someone showing how much they appreciate what they’re doing goes a long, long way in restoring the energy and drive they need to continue to help animals. You can do something simple like sending in a thank you card or a bouquet of flowers. Or maybe deliver cupcakes or cookies, or order pizza or sandwiches for the whole crew one day. Anything that shows just how much their efforts are appreciated will make a big difference. When the staff are encouraged and energized, all the animals in the shelter benefit from that positive energy.
I must admit I never even considered how simple it would be to just give one hour a week of my time to help walk dogs or play with cats. That’s very doable and would be a help. I know there is a big ongoing problem with the fact that most people will buy new puppies or kittens instead of adopting rescued animals.

“I’m just handing out sticks, you’re the one surviving”

Came across this via social media recently (original), and loved it so much I had to share it. Having been to see a therapist/counsellor during a couple of rough times in my life, I am 100% in favour of seeking help when you feel you need it, and not being ashamed of it.

giving-out-sticksI don’t like the phrase “a cry for help”. I just don’t like how it sounds. When someone says to me, “I’m thinking about suicide, I have a plan: I just need a reason not to do it,” the last thing I see is helplessness.

I think: Your depression has been beating you up for years. It has called you ugly, and stupid, and pathetic, and a failure, for so long that you’ve forgotten that it’s wrong. You don’t see any good in yourself, and you don’t have any hope.

But still, here you are: You’ve come over to me, banged on my door, and said “Hey! Staying alive is REALLY HARD right now! Just give me something to fight with! I don’t care it it’s a stick! Give me a stick and I can stay alive!”

How is that helpless? I think that’s incredible. You’re like a marine: trapped for years behind enemy lines, your gun has been taken away, you’re out of ammo, you’re malnourished, and you’ve probably caught some kind of jungle virus that’s making you hallucinate giant spiders. And you’re still just going, “GIVE ME A STICK. I’M NOT DYING OUT HERE.”

“A cry for help” makes it sound like i’m supposed to take pity on you, but you don’t need my pity. This isn’t pathetic. This is the will to survive. This is how humans lived long enough to become the dominant species.

With NO hope, running on NOTHING, you’re ready to cut through a hundred miles of hostile jungle with nothing but a stick, if that’s what it takes to get to safety.

All I’m doing is handing out sticks.

You’re the one staying alive

Go Halfsies, help fight hunger

A few years ago I heard about a new (at the time) initiative called “Go Halfsies” (www.gohalfsies.com). Essentially what they do is allow you to order a smaller portion size (as well as healthier) meal, and instead of giving you a giant plate of food, they donate half to someone else who needs it (presumably like a shelter).

When I discovered them, they were just launching their pilot project in the US, in select cities. I was just randomly reminded of the project this week and thought I’d share it here (and added it to the resources page). I do think it’s a cool idea, because while the portion sizes here in Canada are regarded as being more reasonable compared to America, I still think they can be too big up here.

So, if you like the idea, go check out their website, read up, find out if they are in your area and support a good cause. Or heck, if you’re feeling extra helpful, maybe volunteer to get involved.

Helping instead of Arresting

Whenever I see these, I will post them. There’s a lot of unpleasant things happening in the world and it is always good to have a reminder that good things happen too! Bravo Officer!

On the right: Miami Dade County Police Officer Vicki Thomas, who is a wonderful human being.

The woman on the left is a mother from Miami who was so desperate to feed her hungry family that she was trying to steal a lot of food. The woman on the right is Miami-Dade County Police Officer Vicki Thomas. Officer Thomas was about to arrest Jessica Robles but changed her mind at the last minute. Instead of arresting her, she bought Robles $100 worth of groceries: “I made the decision to buy her some groceries because arresting her wasn’t going to solve the problem with her children being hungry.” And there’s no denying they were hungry. Robles’ 12 year old daughter started crying when she told local TV station WSVN about how dire their situation was: “[It’s] not fun to see my brother in the dirt hungry, asking for food, and we have to tell him, ‘There is nothing here.’” Officer Thomas says she has no question that what she did was right: “To see them go through the bags when we brought them in, it was like Christmas. That $100 to me was worth it.” But Officer Thomas did have one request: “The only thing I asked of her is, when she gets on her feet, that she help someone else out. And she said she would.” And guess what? The story gets even better. After word got out about what happened people donated another $700 for Jessica Robles to spend at the grocery store. And then best of all a local business owner invited her in for an interview and ended up hiring her on the spot as a customer service rep. She started crying when he told her: “There’s no words how grateful I am that you took your time and helped somebody out. Especially somebody like me.” And to think it all started with one veteran police officer trusting her “instinct” instead of going “by the book”. Courtesy WSVN

From Facebook via Frank Somerville KTVU.

Making the most of a bad situation

I saw a post in my facebook feed this morning, about a really cool, positive outcome to an unfortunate situation.

As we know, happy couples don’t always stay happy, not every relationship lasts, and in this particular case – a wedding was called off, but after all preparations had already been made.

So what was the positive outcome? Well, as it turns out the family in question decided rather than waste it all, why not donate it to the less fortunate?

I love to see stuff like this. Sure there are people out there who take advantage, who take more than they give, who don’t leave the world a nicer place than they found it. But I like to think (hope!) there are more people out there who would give you the shirt off their back if you needed it more. Major kudos to them!

via Yahoo News / hereandnow.wbur.org
Charity: Hosea feed the hungry