Tagged Homelessness

Christmas Time

When approached by a friend of Cobblestone Project, we were humbled by their idea to throw a Christmas party benefitting Laundry Love Project. Friends and family gathered as they normally do to celebrate Christmas, but with a new reason for celebration. Thanks to the McIntyre Family for hosting this amazing party and gifts that will go to benefiting our community.

 

Our Community:

 

“One of my favorite parts of Christmas time is throwing a Christmas party!  There’s just something about coming together with friends and family, sharing good food, hot chocolate and lots of laughs.  As I began to think about this year’s festive occasion and brainstorm ideas, I decided that this year was going to look a little different.  Myself, my friends and my family are all so blessed beyond need or want.  There are no gifts we could give each other that we genuinely need.  However, there are people in our community who have to choose basic needs over the luxury of Christmas gifts. I decided that this year we were going to be intentional.  This year, we were going to have a charitable Christmas party.  Together with my friends, we came up with a plan to host a party benefitting one of Cobblestone’s initiatives, Laundry Love Project.  It would be simple and easy.  Like most any other holiday party, we would plan the menu, decorate the house and invite all our friends and family…with just one little twist.  Instead of an ornament, cookie or gift exchange, we requested that guests bring rolls of quarters or laundry detergent to be donated to Laundry Love.  We sent the invites out, made a Facebook event, prepped the house, cooked the food and sat back to wait for the party to start.  As the house filled with friends, warmth and laughter, it hardly went unnoticed that the buckets by the tree were filling with quarters and laundry detergent.  We could never have anticipated the success of our very first charitable Christmas party!  Thanks to the outpouring of love & generosity of so many, over $300 in quarters and more than 1,000 loads worth of laundry detergent will be donated to Laundry Love Project serving the communities of Northwest Arkansas.  This year, I received a Christmas gift from our party, greater than any year before, in knowing that the happiness and joy we experienced in one night will go on for the months to come as the body of Christ serves others in an effort towards a community without need.” – Caroline McIntyre

 


For more information, or to learn about Laundry Love, visit our website.

Help Portrait NWA

Our Community

A few weeks ago, Cobblestone was approached by a local family to hear about the needs in NWA. Rhonda Greenway  and her family were tired of the materialism around Christmas. She once heard that “the best antidote to materialism is giving.” She decided to do something about it. She challenged her family and friends to give for 30 days leading up to Christmas. Their family is intentionally giving of their time, talents, or money every day for 30 days. We were so honored when they asked to participate in Help Portrait last Saturday giving of their time and resources to help our community. We want to share her story today, as a bit of encouragement as we approach Christmas.

 

“Mark and I were privileged to be a part of Help Portrait on Saturday.  Actually, Mark was there most of the day but since I had gotten home at 1:30 am that morning from Garrett’s game, I was only there for a few hours.  I am so thankful for those few hours.  It was an amazing day of giving of time and talents.  We had never heard of Help Portrait until we decided to do 30 Days of Giving this year.  When I contacted Cobblestone to find out ways to get involved in the community, Help Portrait was one of the initiatives they support.The day started around 7:00 am with set up.  Families started arriving around 9:00 to get their pictures taken.  There were 10 photographers around the Root School cafeteria set up with lights and back drops.  Before the families had their picture made, they were taken to “Hair & Make-up”, where the Paul Mitchell Beauty School was all set up.  It was impressive.  They curled and styled hair and fixed make-up and even trimmed beards.  Then the families had a full photo shoot with one of the photographers.  After that, the family was served breakfast or lunch while their pictures were edited and printed.  The editing room had about 10 people on computers, several printers and an assembly line where the pictures were put into frames and bagged with the CD of all the pictures.  It was efficient!!  I only waited on my pictures for 20 minutes!!  My family was not even finished eating yet.  When I showed them their pictures the dad teared up.  The family I walked through with had lost all their pictures in the Johnson flood last year.  Another lady was there with the cutest little boy.  She said she was his grandma and his mom…..his mother had died during childbirth.  This was the first pictures they had taken together.I don’t know if I have ever been a part of something I enjoyed more.  There was not a lot of money or toys to be collected.  People just gave of their time and talent……cooking, editing, photography, organizing, doing hair and make-up, serving and more.  It was incredible.Each family left with a 5×7 framed picture, a 4×6 picture and a CD of all the pictures.  They also received a hygiene bag full of goodies.  Almost 300 people came to Help Portrait and left with a smile on their face from a very fun experience. ”

 

 
 
 
 
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We are so thankful for the people of NWA who not only see need, but dedicate their lives to supporting and encouraging a solution to those needs. To read the rest of the Greenway’s blog, click here.

 

Art in the Park- 6 Months!

Today’s post comes from Chloe Seal, initiative leader of 3 Bags in 2 Days. Art in the Park is a one-a-month event in Walker Park in South Fayetteville. We invite the under-resourced in our area to come to the park and to paint. We provide all the art supplies and serve dinner as well. People can come for a few hours and just be. People can come and let out whatever is going on in their lives and have a chance to freely express themselves through painting.

 


Tonight was so special. 6 months into Art in the Park and I couldn’t be any more in love. As if I’m not already borderline obsessed with it, tonight was something incredible. I can’t really put words to it or explain why it was so different. Every month it just seems to find it’s rhythm a little better and people start to feel truly welcome.

 

The best I can try to communicate about tonight would be the rich, deep community that could be felt. People came to paint and to eat, but the evidence of community and relationships could be felt by all. There was just a presence of calmness, trust, and abounding love. After all was said and done, a few of us looked at each other with the same thoughts of….wow. How on earth did Art in the Park come to be the way it was tonight? How did this incredible community come together in one place the way it did? How did art truly bring us all together?

 

I think this sense of community carried on through every avenue. People’s canvases seemed more vibrant than usual. The food seemed extra yummy. People clapped and cheered even when someone else won the duffle bag in the raffle. People helped each other get more paint or carry their stuff to the table. People laughed louder than ever. People encouraged others more than usual. New friendships were formed. 150 canvases were made beautiful. 120 lives changed. 120 people were just able to love and be loved. 

 

It was the best example of community that I have ever seen. Truly putting others first in a way that I have never witnessed before. A random, broken, overlooked, ragged and simply beautiful group of misfits (myself included) has taught me more about life and people that I could have ever imagined.

 

 

Cobblestone heads to D.C.

 

Last week, Cobblestone participated in a forum at the White House. We received an invitation from the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, and the Office of Public Engagement to participate in a meeting to discuss the important role that social innovators play in expanding opportunity and addressing social issues. We were so honored and excited to be a part of this, and loved getting to meet some true world-changers.

Faith-based social innovators from all over the country came together for this event. The day consisted of panels, group discussions, and input from Senior Administration Officals. We explored how “faith-based organizations are creating innovative models and entrepreneurial ventures to make a positive impact on our economy and our society, often while serving our most vulnerable communities.”

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Joshua DuBois  & Jonathan Greenblatt  for hosting such an amazing group of people. The impact of their work was evident by the many groups that were represented during the meeting. People from different backgrounds, faiths, and passions gathered together to address social issues. The common denominators were the needs of our world, and the craving for sustainability in meeting those needs in communities around the country.

 

 


(Board members, founders, and team inside The White House)

 

 

A few things we took away from this meeting:

1.The impact local communities have as it relates to social justice issues. Communities are taking care of communities in a beautiful way all over the nation. We walked away proud and honored of what our community is doing in Northwest Arkansas. We are humbled to be a small part of a bigger movement within our community.

2. Collaboration is STILL key. We talk frequently about collaboration, but the importance of this virtue was reiterated while we were in D.C. This is a good reminder to engage with those in our community who fighting with us on ending issues of social injustice.

3. The people who are truly making a difference don’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.

We want to take this time to thank each one of you for making this possible. This opportunity was a reflection of all of the hard work you have done, and we are extremely grateful for your dedication and commitment to Cobblestone. We are humbled by the families and individuals who have paved the way for social innovation in NW Arkansas. Thank you for continuing to strive towards ” A Community without Need.”

 

30 Days 4 Change!

April was a whirlwind of a month, and we loved every minute of it!

The students at Bentonville High School who participated in “30 Days 4 Change” did an amazing job.

With the help of Scott Herron, Teacher and Student Advisor, the groups were able to accomplish a tremendous amount for local organizations.

We are excited to announce that winner of the first ever 30 Days for Change & a grant of $1,000 is….LifeSource International.

Congratulations to the student group who made this possible- Kelly Xia, Emily Sellers and Shelby Thompson.

Thanks to Kevin Fitzpatrick, Corrie Rusch, Kim Garret, and Mary Ley for sitting on the judges panel. We are grateful for their commitment to Cobblestone BHS, and caring about the needs of our community. Their participation in this initiative only validated what the students campaigns.

Mary Ley the Executive Director of Communication/PR & Community Partnerships for Bentonville Public Schools, said she had an incredible experience and loved what the students were able to learn. “After yesterday, I went home on  top of the world thinking of what wonderful kids, teachers, and community we live in.”

With the judges expertise and deep roots in our community, they helped make the decision to name LifeSource the winners.

The judging criteria was based on; impact, sustainability, creativity and social innovation.

They felt that the LifeSource group went above and beyond on all of these areas, and created a model that will continue for years to come. They constructed and built 4 raised garden beds on the property of LifeSource Int. Fresh produce is something that will benefit their food pantry and provide healthy meals to the under-resourced in our community.

All of the students did a wonderful job, and choosing a winner was not an easy task. Here is a recap of all the groups accomplished during 30 Days for Change:

99 Balloons: Led by Elliott Miller, Caroline Fox, Courtney Cassin, and Marissa Spear raised over $700 to send medical equipment to an orphanage in Ukraine. They also participated in a monthly volunteer opportunity, and raised awareness of rEcess at BHS.

7Hills: Led by Sarah Newton, Haley Hogue, Myles Markey, Erin Mertes,  and Ellen Mertes. Over $1,000 was raised by this group to help the initiatives at 7 Hills. They sold bracelets to local neighborhoods and shared the mission behind 7 Hills.

Saving Grace: Led by Morgan Drish, Hannah Amerson, Morgan Jones, Lindsey Martin, and Demi Moore. The students were able to help spread the word about Saving Grace. They took student polls, handed out brochures, and promoted the services Saving Grace provides. They improved their social media campaign and helped create new marketing materials for the organization.

The groups not only met needs of local organizations, they were able to learn about our community as well.  We know that students like these are our future. They can change not only Northwest Arkansas, but the world.

We were honored to partner with them on this journey and we are looking forward to next year. If you are interested in learning more, or getting involved- email us here.

 

30 Days for Change

The “30 days 4 Change” student groups from Bentonville High School have been hard at work with their local nonprofit partners (Samaritan Community Center, 99 Balloons, Life Source, Saving Grace, and 7 Hills)!

The month of April has been busy as the groups  continue to implement their impact campaigns.

The group partnered with SAMCC is planning a can food drive to stock the food pantry at the center. They will be hosting it through Bentonville High School, and local Bentonville Neighborhoods. The Rogers Samaritan Center serves 100-150 families/week through their food pantry, and are in need of canned goods.

99 Balloons helps others engage children with special needs along with their families, locally and globally.  The BHS student group is volunteering with rEcess, and raising funds to send equipment to children to Ukraine.

Life Source International and the BHS Students are building raised garden beds on location at LifeSource. LifeSource desires to help families in need in Northwest Arkansas, and will be able to provide good, healthy options through raised garden beds.

The Saving Grace Group has planned to help with new marketing materials, and promotion for their Butterflies & Blooms Event. The students are also polling those in their school to collect data for Saving Grace, as they plan for a new campaign.

The 7 Hills team will be hosting an event to raise awareness about homelessness in NWA. The group plans to spend the night outside to raise awareness and money for 7 Hills.

This is the full last week for the students participating in 30 Days for Change, and there is still plenty to be done.

Our next in school meeting will be April 26th, followed by the finale day on April 30th. The judges panel will take place on May 7th and the winners will be announced that night.

Don’t forget to check back to see the latest updates,pictures and stories.

“30 Days 4 Change” Student Teams are on their way…

April 1st was the kick off of the 2012 Campaign for “30 Days 4 Change” an initiative designed to engage students ideas with new approaches to addressing community needs.

The 5 student groups are paired with 5 Northwest Arkansas Nonprofits that include Samaritan Community Center, 7 Hills Homeless Center, Lifesource International, Saving Grace & 99 Balloons.  Each student group is charged with developing an action plan to address some of the organizational needs.

Today was the regroup of week 1 for 30D4C, and we had an opportunity to get a quick look at the work that is underway.

We’ll be posting periodic updates over the next 3 weeks, and you can also follow along with 30D4C at

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30 Days 4 Change 2012 Campaign Begins Now!

On April 1st, Bentonville High School Students Kick off the first “30 Days 4 Change” campaign targeted at making a positive difference in our community!

30 Days 4 Change is designed to…

  • Engage students to inspire new ideas and new approaches to community needs.
  • Expose nonprofit organizations to a new generation who desire to make positive change.
  • Provide opportunities for ideas to be replicated by other nonprofit organizations.

Groups have been paired with a Northwest Arkansas Nonprofit Organization addressing poverty related issues and have from April 1st to April 30th to work towards tangible change, awareness, advocacy, and solutions.

At the end of 30 days, the student groups will be evaluated by a panel of regional poverty and educational experts to determine which organizations campaign was moved furthest forward.  As a result of the students efforts, that organization will be awarded a $1,000 “30 Days 4 Change” capacity building grant.

Students will be evaluated based on…

  • Alignment: Initiative Alignment to NonProfit Organizational Mission.
  • Measured Impact: Initiative Measured Impact to original Initiative Scope.
  • Replication: Initiative’s Ability to be Replicated by other Organizations & Student Groups
  • NonProfit Evaluation: Evaluation of Students Ability to Work Together as a Team.

You may follow the progress of the “30 Days 4 Change Campaign” at…

2012 Partner Organizations & Campaign Scope

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30D4C Group 1

Partner Organization: 99 Balloons

Team Members:

Organizations stated need for 30 Days 4 Change: Recruit volunteers to serve at rEcess & raising funds to pay for shipping wheelchairs to Ukraine for special needs children.

Students Mission: To raise money for shipping wheelchairs to Urkaine & recruiting volunteers for rEcess.

How does 30D4C support organizations mission? Volunteers are backbone of rEcess & as the program grows, more volunteers will be needed to support special needs families in Northwest Arkansas. Additionally, there is a need for wheelchairs to support a 99 Balloons Ukraine project.

Desired end results of 30D4C: Raise minimum $750 to cover cost of shipping & recruit volunteers.

How will 30D4C effort/impact be measured? By raising the required money and having volunteers sign up to serve.

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30D4C Group 2

Partner Organization: Samaritan Community Center

Team Name: Minoriteam

Team Members:

  • Ashley Worthey*
  • Mallory Cibulka
  • Lindsey Martin
  • Mason Jones
  • Diane Wang
  • Blake Basham
  • Matt Phelan

Organizations stated need for 30 Days 4 Change: Collection of food to support Samaritan Community Center’s Food Pantry operations.

Students Mission: OCFD aka “Operation Canned Food Drive”

How does 30D4C support organizations mission? Help to provide food for those at risk for hunger in our community.

Desired end results of 30D4C: A pantry loaded with food

How will 30D4C effort/impact be measured? Students will construct a thermometer chart to keep progress of collected food to the goal.

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30D4C Group 3

Partner Organization: 7 Hills Homeless Center

Team Name: HTH

Team Members:

Organizations stated need for 30 Days 4 Change: Awareness of homelessness in Bentonville

Students Mission: We plan on organizing an event and gather people to be “homeless for a night” (sleep outside) and maybe raise money as we do.

How does 30D4C support organizations mission? This can hopefully bring awareness because it is not what you would usually see in Bentonville.

Desired end results of 30D4C: To bring awareness to Bentonville that homelessness is an issue because many 7 Hills clients are from Bentonville.

How will 30D4C effort/impact be measured? Amount of people that end up hearing about the event (awareness).

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30D4C Group 4

Partner Organization: Saving Grace

Team Members:

  • Morgan Drish*
  • Hannah Amerson
  • Morgan Jones
  • Lindsey Martin

Organizations stated need for 30 Days 4 Change: Communications & Marketing of Saving Grace’s mission in Northwest Arkansas to include: 1) Improved communication materials (i.e. brochures), 2) Marketing and spread the word , and 3) collection basic needs items for Saving Grace

Students Mission: To improve brochures and to let the women of NW Arkansas be aware of the Saving Grace home

How does 30D4C support organizations mission? Raising awareness to broaden their ministry

Desired end results of 30D4C: To distribute as may brochures as possible.

How will 30D4C effort/impact be measured? The feedback received and the number of brochures distributed.

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30D4C Group 5

Partner Organization: Lifesource International

Team Members:

  • Kelly Xia*
  • Emily Sellers
  • Shelby Thompson
  • Alex Piceror
  • Marisa Piceror

Organizations stated need for 30 Days 4 Change: Fresh foods (non canned foods) & Non perishable food such as rice or beans.

Students Mission: Our group would like to build four raised garden beds for Lifesource. We would also like to get pipes to redirect gutter water into a 55 gallon bucket.

How does 30D4C support organizations mission? By building these raised garden beds we are providing Lifesource with a source of fresh foods and vegetables. We also wanted to redirect the gutter water in a way so all the rain water would go into a bucket and that’s how they would water their plants. That way they wouldn’t have to pay for the water or the sewage afterward.

Desired end results of 30D4C: By the end of this project we want the garden beds up and running. We also would like to inform children how to grow and produce their own raised garden beds at home. So they can have fresh food at home. By the end of the project we would like to have made a great impact for Lifesource.

How will 30D4C effort/impact be measured? 1) measure our results by how much effort we have put into our project. Already we have informed our friends and family about our project and asking for donation. I have also been to Lowe’s multiple times to find the most efficient way to build our raised garden beds. We our also going to do a fundraiser at Jonny Bursco, 2) you could measure our results by how many garden beds we are able to build, 3) measure our result how much our garden beds will benefit Lifesource.

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For more information on 30 Days 4 Change, please email 30D4C@CobblestoneProject.org

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Walmart “12 Days of Giving” Selects 3 Bags in 2 Days

We are so thankful to share that 3 Bags in 2 Days has been selected as a part of Walmart’s “12 Days of Giving” campaign.  We are overjoyed and blown away to have been nominated and selected; however, we know it is only because of every single person who has come alongside these efforts in Northwest Arkansas.

This is a reflection of your work, your dedication, and your compassion!  And now we have the opportunity to empower these efforts of making small bags of compassion tools to the restoration of dignity, hope, and love.

Thank you Northwest Arkansas!  We are humbled and honored to receive this investment into the efforts of 3 Bags in 2 Days (more info to come).

Here is a copy & link to Walmart’s announcement

Walmart Gives $200,000 to 10 Nonprofits on the 12th Day of Holiday Facebook Campaign

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Dec. 23, 2011 – On the 12th and last day of its “12 Days of Giving” Facebook campaign, Walmart is awarding $200,000 to 10 nonprofits that are true heroes for their communities and have made selfless acts to help those in need. Over the last twelve consecutive days, Walmart awarded a total of $1.5 million to 145 organizations in all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Organizations being honored on the company’s Facebook page today are serving communities in: Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas.

“Every community needs a hero—someone who is willing to take extraordinary and selfless action to help those in need,” said Julie Gehrki, senior director at the Walmart Foundation. “We are honored to give these inspirational community heroes the recognition they deserve and do a small part to help them achieve their mission.”

Walmart’s call for nominations for its “12 Days of Giving” Facebook campaign resulted in more than 5,400 nominations from Facebook users who shared photos and short descriptions of a nonprofit’s impact in its local community. A panel from the Walmart Foundation reviewed submissions and selected nonprofits with a focus on organizations that are providing basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing and baby supplies.

The 12th day of giving highlights organizations started by extraordinary heroes, young and old, who unselfishly opened their homes and dedicated great amounts of time to provide food, clothing, shelter and a supportive environment for those in their community who needed help. The organizations being spotlighted today include:

(link to Walmart Foundation Press Release)

The Cafe Final Chapter 067

The Cafe…A New Story Emerges

As so many of you know, The Cafe holds a special place in the heart of our community & those at Cobblestone Project.  It is the story of how a vision for caring for our community can emerge from just about anywhere and bring many together with a single goal of caring for those without.   Without the story of The Cafe, Cobblestone Project truly would not be what we all are today.

Before it was The Cafe…

Believe it or not, all of this began in the corner of a small soup and salad shop known as World Garden with a case of bananas and a simple question.

“How can we use these to benefit our community?”

Rick and Cindy Boosey, and the team at World Garden, turned that case of frozen bananas into banana bread and through it brought together a community.  It was a community asking the bigger question of how can we care for the hungry in our community.

Cobblestone Project first aligned to Rick and Cindy’s efforts when Mark Horvath, founder of InvisiblePeople.tv, came to Fayetteville in the first 1,287 Stand Up & Be Counted Homeless Awareness Rally.  Over the course of the next year and half, countless members of our community came to help cook on Sundays & deliver to many local nonprofit organizations.  It was through these efforts and with the desire to find a more permanent source of food, The Farm began.

Moving to Samaritan Community Center

When World Garden sadly closed, we did not want this local hunger relief movement to end.  We approached the Samaritan Community Center to ask if we could open up the center on Saturday’s empowered by all the efforts at World Garden.  This met two needs of wanting to expand the ability of Samaritan Community Center to serve their existing clients and engage a community in serving those without.  It was during this move that The Garden officially became known as The Cafe.

Over the last year and a half, The Cafe at the Samaritan Community Center has served approximately 125 people per week with a warm meal & a kind heart.

A Hero Behind it All…

There have been so many that have served to bring the vision of The Cafe alive, but there is one person who from the very beginning has committed himself in a way that is even hard to comprehend.  Brad Melton has been a foundation that has been constant through the entire life of this initiative.

Brad has not only served the meals, but he has built the infrastructure to support just about every aspect of this initiative.  From volunteer coordination, to scheduling cooks, finding the food, and to ensuring the stories of those beings served have been told, Brad has given and given.  I believe it is safe to say that through Brad’s efforts, our community has seen a true example of what sacrificial giving truly means.

However, for Brad it isn’t just about giving, it has been about the relationship with those who humbly come every week.  He has helped find them jobs, used his connections to serve Tornado victims in Joplin, found diapers for the children, and just about everything in between.  Brad has “loved his neighbor” in a way that truly reflects a dedication of faith fully alive in the world today.  A reflection that brings hope.  Thank you will never be enough to express our gratitude to Brad.  We are thankful to call him a friend, and follow his lead toward a new beginning for The Cafe.

A New Story Emerges…

Beginning January 1, 2012, the operations of The Cafe will be fully transferred over to the Samaritan Community Center.  This being done in order to continue to best serve the 125+ people who are served every Saturday.  The Cafe is truly core to the mission of the Samaritan Community Center, and they will now be able to fully integrate the Saturday Cafe within their framework of their weekly operations.  This move will also allow Cobblestone Project to focus more fully on food production operations at The Farm (food that in part goes to The Cafe).  Brad will continue within the operational leadership of The Cafe as his heart is fully with those that he has been serving and living life with over the past year and a half.

Cobblestone Project continues to partner and support the efforts of the Samaritan Community Center in many ways to include partnership within the Our Step program, food production for The Cafe, Shear Kindness and 3 Bags in 2 Days for Back to School Backpack drives, etc.  This change is exciting because it allows continue role clarity and further time investment into producing food.

The Samaritan Community Center is doing amazing things and we would encourage all to take this opportunity to serve them as The Cafe moves forward.

Thank You!!!

We wanted to close with this final memory from Thanksgiving of 2009.

It’s because of the vision that original began with Rick and Cindy Boosey, that we can safely say…”we can do this everyday.”

We’d love for you to leave your comments below on what The Garden/Cafe has meant to you over the past 3 years.