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NeighborLink Network

NeighborLink Network

A couple weeks ago, after a series of rainy days, my husband was attempting to mow the lawn.  He was struggling because the grass had grown so much since the last mowing.  The neighbor stopped by and asked if he could help.  He has a riding lawnmower that easily cuts even long grass.  We accepted his offer and plan to pay him back with an invitation to dinner.  Today’s organization is enabling neighbors to help other neighbors even if they cannot directly witness the need.

In 2003, John Barce and Doug Crane participated in a competition called Leadership Fort Wayne.  Their idea to create a web platform to connect volunteers with people in need received second place in the competition and the NeighborLink model was born.  Since 2003, similar platforms have been created in nine other cities using the same model.

NeighborLink uses a web platform to connect vulnerable homeowners including the aging, people with disabilities, and low income single parents, with volunteers who would like to help.  The volunteers typically help with home repair or yard work projects.  In addition, they encourage volunteers to build relationships with the recipients of their help.  NeighborLink’s goal is not only completion of the projects, but also developing a sustainable solution for community development by connecting neighbors.

NeighborLink is a Christian, faith-based organization with a mission of “practical, neighbor-to-neighbor expressions of God’s love.”  They frequently work with churches but appreciate and welcome volunteers from a variety of backgrounds.  They are currently in nine locations: Fort Wayne, Indiana; Indianapolis, Indiana; DeKalb County, Indiana; Porter County, Indiana; Liberty County, Georgia; Van Wert County, Ohio; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Owensboro, Kentucky; and Evansville, Indiana.

One NeighborLink volunteer named Andrew volunteered, along with a small group, to help Jean paint her house one summer.  During that project, Andrew was made aware that she also needed assistance with other projects from a long list of code violations.  He was able to raise funds to make repairs to her porch.  Just before Christmas, Andrew stopped by with a basket of food and learned that Jean’s son had just passed away.  Andrew continued to show Jean love and support by mowing her lawn and helping with other tasks in the years that followed.  This relationship encouraged Andrew’s involvement with NeighborLink and he eventually became the organization’s Executive Director.  This willingness to continue helping and desire to get to know her better instead of just completing the project at hand is the type of relationship that NeighborLink strives for.

How can you help?

Any individual in the cities that NeighborLink exists in can get involved.  Individuals simply register to be a volunteer on the NeighborLink website for their city.  You can find the current cities on their affiliate and non-affiliate pages.  Once registered, volunteers can look through current projects and choose one.  There are also opportunities for groups to do projects together.

You can also make a monetary donation through any of the specific city NeighborLink websites.

You can learn more about NeighborLink by visiting their website, neighborlinknetworkfoundation.org.  You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Posted by on July 17, 2013 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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Global Soap Project

You may have heard of organizations such as homeless or women’s shelters that collect the small unused toiletries from hotels to give to their clients.  Today’s organization takes that collection one step further by collecting used soap from hotels.

The mission of the Global Soap Project is to work with their hotel partners to divert used soap from going to the landfill and instead be reprocessed and reused by vulnerable populations around the world.  Their ultimate goal is to impact global health by promoting sanitation and hygiene.

The Global Soap Project is based in Atlanta, Georgia, but soaps are collected from participating hotels across the United States and Canada. 

In a CNN interview last year, Global Soap Project Founder Derreck Kayongo, a native of Uganda, spoke about his first hotel stay in the United States in the early 1990s.  He was surprised to see the soap replaced each day even though it was barely used.  That sparked an idea to recycle the discarded soaps into new bars for those who could not afford it.  At 25 cents a bar, soap is not a priority for those making just one dollar a day.  In 2009, Derreck was able to bring his soap recycling idea to life.  Derreck and his wife Sarah started experimenting with soap making techniques in their basement.  The organization has since grown to fill a warehouse. 

Housekeeping departments of participating hotels collect the soap and the hotels ship it to the Global Soap Project warehouse.  Volunteers clean the soap, process it into new bars, and package it for shipping.  They also verify the safety of random samples of their reprocessed soap on a regular basis using an outside lab.

The soap is shipped to vulnerable populations including orphans, refugees, and disaster victims.  Most organizations receiving soap contact the Global Soap Project and are screened and vetted as appropriate recipients.  As of February 2012, the organization has distributed over 250,000 bars to 21 countries.  In March 2012, they shipped their first container load of soap to Haiti.

How can you help?

  • If you live near Norcross, Georgia, you can volunteer to clean and re-make soap.  You can find the details of this opportunity on their website.
  • You can share the project details with a hotel that is not already participating in the project.  You can find a brochure for hotels here.
  • Monetary donations can also be made to the Global Soap Project.  You can donate online or by mail.  Learn more on their website.
  • You can also spread the word about this project by sharing this blog post using the sharing options at the end of the post.

You can learn more about the Global Soap Project on their website, www.globalsoap.org.  You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, or via e-mail.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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