VOLUNTEERING Feed

We Freecycle recycle bookcase

Picks up a boocase courtesy of NWPhillyFreecycle

Amy Hsu came by our house in her car to pick up a tall bookcase. She had seen my post on the popular Northwest Philly Freecycle website, where people give and get things –for free!  

Bookcase - tall, narrow, brown - needs shelves

I had trash-picked the sturdy bookcase just a couple days before but then realized I could not use it as planned.   Hsu says her husband may use it for his beer brewing containers and supplies.  Hsu is an enthusiast of the free online exchange. Through notices on the website she recently gave away a couch and a chair and dug up a plant from an offeror’s yard. She likes when she gets “repeats” like the woman who had given her cinderblocks who, thinking of her grandkids, responded to Hsu's offer of stuffed animals.

NW Philly Freecycle, a moderated website, was launched in 2004 by Meenal Raval and the Mount Airy Greening Network (MAGNET) as an offshoot of the citywide Philly Freecycle. It boasts over 5000 members and in April alone hosted 610 posts, a combination of “Offer”, “Wanted”, “Taken” and “Curb Alerts” for all kinds of household items imaginable.

Watch video here.


Life at Henry Got Crops Farm

Henry Got Crops Manager Nina and Minna

During a break from cultivating and weeding a raised bed of peas at the Weavers Way Henry Got Crops farm in Roxborough where he volunteers, your correspondent captured a slice of life on the farm.

The farm grows crops mainly for the 120 members of the CSA (“Community Supported Agriculture” organization) but also regularly sells product through the Weavers Way stores in Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill, at an onsite farm stand and downtown at Head House Square.

When I arrived, CSA Manager Nina Berryman was busily sketching out the day’s plan on a chalkboard in the farm shed. I followed Berryman around as she lamented some stunted carrots with experienced worker Minna Latortue, who had just graduated nursing school, examined the cold season greens in the hoop houses, made plans with Laura Mass Forsberg to plant potatoes later in the day then getting her started on a weeding task and finally doing what she calls the hardest part of the job, doing deskwork at a laptop computer communicating with CSA members and such.

I caught up with farm educator Tara Campbell as she waited for the first of four school groups to arrive and watched as she and educator Clare Hyre prepped students from Saul Agricultural High School (where the farm is located) and got them out working down the field.

And ebullient compost guy Scott Blunk showed off the composting operation as he directed a frontend loader to dump just-arrived vegetable waste into the ten thousand pound capacity grinder and activated it massive rotating tines. See small video of Blunk here

Your correspondent shot some footage of cows grazing peacefully but did not include it in the accompanying video because the dairy operation belongs to the Saul School and not Henry Got Crops. Your correspondent also looks forward to comparing notes and photos with Lanie Blackmer who later arrived to do a story for WHYY/Newsworks.

Watch video here.


Donated kidney to animal rescuer needing rescue

Donates kidney to animal rescuer needing rescue

“WHERE IS YOUR KIDNEY?”

“Well, one of my kidneys is in North Carolina right now.”

Hillary Rettig had been reading and thinking about donating a kidney for a few years. Why not, she thought, if she had two working ones and one to spare and could save someone’s life? When she reached a tipping point, she went ahead with the laparoscopic surgery. As a vegetarian and animal lover, she was thrilled to find a match in a man who had founded a no-kill animal shelter. On a matchmaking website, among the many heart-braking posts of people pleading for a donated kidney, the man had written, “ I have spent the last twenty years giving animals a second chance at life; won’t you consider giving me a second chance?” Afterwards, the donee’s wife told Retting that Rettig had saved not just her husband, but their family as well.  Rettig recommends donating a kidney to everyone. “ It’s a wonderful, wonderful feeling… If I had a few extra kidneys, I would donate them all.” Watch video interview here. Read Rettig's account of her donation here.


Coop collects goods for Sandy victims

Coop mounts Hurricane Sandy relief

Through the initiative of one of its members, the Weavers Way Cooperative Association in Mount Airy, Philadelphia mounted a clothing and supplies drive for the victims of Hurricane Sandy which hit New York and the New Jersey coast hard. According to  membership coordinator Beau Bibeau, a Weavers Way truck would be packed with the donations that volunteers were just them busily sorting and boxing. Staff would drive the goods early the next morning to a distribution center up in Manahawkin, New Jersey. C.J. Reinhard, who grew up in a Jersey area where 50 homes were destroyed by the hurricane, was busily finishing up stitches on a colorful blanket she was specifically crocheting for some hurricane victim, she wouldn't know who, to keep warm and know people cared and were thinking of them. Watch video here.

hurricane sandy blanket

Three days on roof, survived Hurricane Katrina

NOTE: INFORMATION HAS BEEN RECEIVED ON 4/21/13 WHICH CALLS THE VERACITY OF THIS ACCOUNT INTO QUESTION.

Mount Airy resident survived Hurrican Katrina

Watch video interview here

Jo Quasney is a survivor of Hurricane Katrina. Of French Creole heritage, Quasney is a native of New Orleans who was living alone in her house in the eighth ward when the hurricane struck on August 29, 2005.  Quasney bred birds and had no way of transporting or finding shelter for the birds when New Orleans residents were advised to evacuate so she stuck it out. Her neighborhood began to flood after she heard an explosion that she attributes to a Halliburton company oil barge breaking through a levee. (For a discussion on the cause of the breech, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ING_4727)

Continue reading "Three days on roof, survived Hurricane Katrina" »


NCCC Raven team plants trees

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NCCC Ravens at work


April, 31years old, Ryerss Horse Farm Retiree

April, 31 years old, retired at Ryerss Farm

Gregory Marincola volunteers at Ryerss Farm, a “retirement” community for old and formerly abused horses, located on nearly 400 acres of land in Chester County. http://www.ryerss.com There, Marincola visits with the first horse of his wife, now deceased, a half Tennessee Walker, half Paint who was called to Ryerss from her place on the waiting list when she was 31 years old.

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I’d like to introduce you to my three horses that I have up here at Ryerss. I’ll show you a picture.  [Pointing to photos on wall] This is my wife, Andrea, who has passed away, and this is our horse, “April,” when she was a baby. She’s like two years old there. And to the right we have Vicki, who has passed away, and our little pony Mindy, who has also moved to the other side. And, again, this is April, a bit older now; she’s still living, she’s still with me. This is their wall of fame here at Ryerss and you can see it’s all the horses that are here now, who have been through here and passed on and some of their owners. This is open to the public. They can come in here and look at the horses and get an idea what’s going on….This is Arian’s April’s Dawn, my wife’s first horse and we got her when she was two years old. We kept her at home until she reached the age of  thirty-one. DID YOUR WIFE RIDE HER? Yeah… She’s strictly a pleasure horse and she’s half Tennessee Walker and a half Paint. We had put our horses on a waiting list here at Ryerss and a year after my wife passed away, I got the letter, it was time for them to come home. So this is where she lives now. Gregory Marincola, with April, at Ryerss Farm for Aged Equines, South Coventry Township, Chester County, Pa.

Watch video here

Wife's horse April, 31, retired at Ryerss


Was near death, now teaches balance, Tai Chi and shenanigans

Geroge Warner

I am the only child or Roscoe and Virginia Pauline Warner… HOW DID YOU GET INTO PHYSICAL THERAPY? Football injury in high school. Then I went to Shepherd University played four years as starting center at Shepherd. So if I messed up, everybody knew it and the play was toast.  ARE YOU STILL ACTIVE ATHLETICALLY OR SPORTS-WISE? Keystone Senior Games. I did ten events. Shot-put, discus, hammer throw, foul shooting, badminton, tennis, swimming…. March first I will be seven decades. But I was getting all ready last summer and I just didn’t feel right. And in February my intestines blew. And so I went from playing tennis to emergency surgery. Eight days of induced coma. During the coma (I’m sure it was sometime there) I went, ‘God, are you sure you got the right guy?’ And he didn’t answer. And then he came back in and He says, ‘George, I will take you home some day but I got some things for you to do.’ ‘God, please tell me it’s a long list.’ During that time I felt no fear, anxiety and it’s true. I think they did shift work between God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit- you know, around the clock. And the surgeons told my wife, ‘There’s no way he’s going to survive this’ because I had pneumonia, peritonitis …and it wasn’t to be my time. So since that time I teach a class once a week- balance, flexibility, isometrics, tai chi and shenanigans.  And I do it for free. CAN YOU SHOW US A SHENANIGAN?  Do you want my wife to really do me in? [To his wife] Young lady, do you know what a shenanigan is? George Warner of Hershey, PA spending New Year’s in Carlisle, PA.

Watch video interview here.

 

 


Police Seargent to citizens: Get organized

Police officer tells community to take charge

HOW CAN WE HELP [YOU,] THE POLICE, DO YOUR JOB? The way citizens can help out the police department- we're supposed to work in partnership with each other. I would suggest that the best way is just to be visible. First, call us, 911, if you see anything that is suspicious or out of hand and the police can come and investigate it. But also, as a community, there's more that you guys have to take on your block. So it would be better to get organized and work with the police. You guys are out there every day, you're coming home from work, from school and play. You can just form up, you can have meetings on the corners that you identify as problem corners and inform us that you're doing it. Take charge of your block.

HOW DO THE PSA'S WORK?

The PSAs are police service areas and we've been up and running with the PSAs for at least two years already. Basically, we can identify problem areas, we can bring in specialists such as L&I, Abandoned Autos, on the specific problems you're having in the neighborhood. 

I NOTICED A YOUTUBE CHANNEL WHERE YOU HAVE VIDEOS,MAYBE SURVEILLANCE CAMERA? DO YOU KNOW IF THEY'RE EVER HELPFUL IN APPREHENDING ANYONE? With the technology these days, everything is helpful. If it's verbal, by telephone, or if it's video the detectives or police can definitely use it.

Philadelphia Police Seargent Michael Kennedy with daughter Lori after a Town Watch Meeting he helped lead at the 14th police district headquarters on Haines Street in Germanown, Philadelphia.

Watch video interview here.


Road kill? Not toadlets being saved by Toad Detour

Saving toadlets

WHY ARE YOU MOVING THE TOADS ACROSS THE STREET? 

"So they don't keep keep running over and don't keep dying out. Because they're so small it takes them a while and they keep on getting run over by cars" Volunteer boy.

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"This week is the peak week for the toadlets to be migrating back to the woods. The toads are coming from the reservoir. That's where they were born a few months ago. The adults mated in the reservoir and this is the product of their experience. This is what would be called a reverse migration. The adults left [the reservoir] after they were done mating. And these are the babies migrating from the reservoir to the woods.The detour is set up each night from 7 to 9 pm. We have a permit for about a month." WHAT GROUP IS DOING THIS? "The toad detour. Last night we counted two thousand toadlets and there were also a few thousand that we didn't count They were all over the street. So you have to be very careful where you step."  Lisa Levinson, Toad Detour, on Port Royal Avenue and Hagys Mill Road in Roxborough, Phladelphia, near old Philadelphia Water Department reservoir. Levinson is a co-founder and the director of Public Eye: Artists for Animals, "teaching compassion for animals through the arts." Watch video here.