Tag Archives: Boston Cares

You Don’t Need Clean Water to Volunteer!

Now that we Bostonians can return triumphantly to our beloved Dunkie’s and Starbucks for the caffeine fix we all know we need, we can turn our attention back from scalping cases of water to our volunteering lives. Even though a City emergency like this can throw our lifestyles for a loop, nonprofits have had to think of creative solutions to keep their services going without a hitch. The Greater Boston Food Bank supplied its member hunger-relief agencies in the no-water zone with bottled water free of charge. The United Way of Mass Bay and Merrimack Valley delivered almost 8,000 water bottles to homeless families in the affected towns (source: massnonprofit.org). It reminds me that the simple things we might take for granted, like clean water, are not as readily available for individuals and families in need. It also reminds me that it takes a village to protect and beautify the sources of our water and other resources, and several environmental organizations are fighting that good fight every day. With a water focus in mind, here are some nonprofits you can support that are gung ho about H2O:

Save the Harbor / Save the Bay: citizens, scientists, and community leaders who strive to protect and restore Massachusetts Bay and the Boston Harbor.

Boston Harbor Island Alliance: promotes the use, enjoyment, and awareness of the Boston Harbor Islands national park area.

Charles River Conservancy: works to make the Charles River parklands more attractive, active and accessible to all.

Agency Spotlight: Friday Night Supper Program

Between unpredictable weather and other unforeseen circumstances, volunteer projects can get cancelled all the time in Boston—not Friday Night Supper Program. FNSP, located in the basement of the Arlington Street Church in the Back Bay, has never missed serving a Friday night meal since opening its doors in 1984. This meal service agency serves upwards of 150 clients every Friday, and the volunteer experience here is a well-oiled machine. Everyone who volunteers there is given a very specific job and is kept busy the entire time: everything from serving to doing dishes to clothing closet help to even recording demographics. If you’re not convinced yet, listen to what FNSP volunteer and board member Karen Boss has to say: “Friday Night Supper is volunteerism – soup to nuts! You get to see the set-up, help prep the hall and food, participate in serving the meal restaurant style, interact with the guests, and do all the clean up. And all this in a friendly, fun atmosphere. Whether you are a first-time volunteer or a volunteerism veteran, FNSP is the place for you!” If you can’t volunteer on a Friday evening, FNSP is ALWAYS looking for men’s clothing and toiletries to stock its clothing closet. If you’ve been working on your spring cleaning, or took a trip through the CVS mini-toiletry section, contact Executive Director Caroline Carwood about dropping off your donations at ccarwood@partners.org!

Project Highlights

All of these projects are found on the Boston Cares Calendar—check them out, and if you like what you see, sign up to become a member!

Special Olympics Track Training with Newton Parks & Rec: getting a good run around the track will keep you in shape, and working with the athletes will give you that extra inspiration you need to make it through a busy day!

Saturday Tutoring at Boston Latin’s Saturday Success School: the kids at Boston Latin School are super motivated and this program is extremely organized and well-run.

East End House Free Farmers Market: with this project, the farmers market is delivered directly to elderly and disabled residents at their homes!

Happy Volunteering,

Kelly Clark, Boston Cares

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Volunteer Vednesday 4/28/10

We’ve had a streak of nice weather recently, and that always puts me in a good mood. And that good spirit makes me think about neighboring. If you aren’t familiar with the concept of “neighboring”, it’s a grassroots form of civic engagement, where neighbors literally help other neighbors. Examples of this include helping your elderly neighbor carry her groceries from the store, doing an energy audit and changing the light bulbs in the house down the street, and starting a community garden. The idea is to improve the place where you live, and to enhance the relationships among its residents. When neighbors take action together, they get to know each other, and can help each other in times of natural disaster (hello flooding), crime and economic downturn. Continue reading

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Clean Out Your Closet to Benefit Your Community

Spring is in the air and even though we might be jumping the gun with pulling out the shorts and flip-flops, a crop of exciting environmental volunteer opportunities are on the horizon. As the weather continues to warm, keep an eye out for opportunities with great agencies like The Esplanade Association, The Food Project, EarthWorks and Gaining Ground. Hopefully this weather will also inspire you to do a little spring cleaning! I know that the bar in my closet is sagging a bit from all the clothes hung on it, and there are some really worthy organizations that will be glad to take some of that weight for you. Men’s clothes are especially needed at the New England Center for Homeless Vets and Friday Night Supper Program (located in the basement of Arlington Street Church). Women’s clothes can be dropped off at Women’s Lunch Place or Rosie’s Place. And if you have more than just clothes, Boomerangs in Jamaica Plain is a fantastic second-hand shop where all the proceeds from sales benefit the AIDS Action Committee. Do some good while making room for your spring wardrobe!

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Hump Day Getting You Down? Get Inspired with Kelly from Boston Cares

It’s my personal belief that an inverse effect exists: when the level of gross weather goes up, motivation to get out and volunteer goes down. I wholeheartedly understand this phenomenon, as I walked around the City Thursday evening looking like I had braved a hurricane. But allow me to pass on a little inspiration to motivate you to put the sweatpants away, leave the hot chocolate for another day, and continue your efforts toward building a better community.

On Wednesday I conducted mock interviews as part of Charlestown High School’s Professional Career Day. When I asked one student about a project he’d completed independently, he told me about helping to create a community basketball league in his Dorchester neighborhood, as a sign of peace after two shootings had occurred. He worked with neighbors to fundraise, took the lead on communication and outreach, and participated in events promoting peace and civic involvement. I was blown away. So despite the rain and the temptation to curl up on the couch under a blanket, keep volunteering since it’s worth it to see the impact you can make.

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Want to volunteer? Don’t know where to start? Let Kelly Clark from Boston Cares be your guide!

As the “new kid on the block” in the ONEin3 blog, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Kelly Clark, and I work for Boston Cares, a nonprofit dedicated to flexible, team-based volunteering in Greater Boston. I’m a big fan of volunteering, and wanted to get you in on the action. Every week I’ll highlight a national or local service topic, an agency that you can serve in your own community, and some project recommendations for anyone who just doesn’t know where to start. There are over 36,000 tax exempt organizations in Massachusetts, so allow me to point you in the right direction!

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