Archive for the ‘Maryland’ Category

Changing Lives With Shoes and Soles4Souls

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Dear friends and clients,

As many of you know, tomorrow (January 5, 2011) I am headed to Haiti, forgoing a typical winter vacation, so I can distribute shoes to orphans.  I’m traveling with the amazing organization, Soles4Souls, an international shoe charity that collects, recycles and reuses shoes from footwear companies and the general public.

While in Haiti, we will be staying at the Haiti Outreach Ministries (HOM) compound in Port-au-Prince (PAP).   We will visit Cite Soleil, a suburb of PAP, noted as the poorest slum in the entire Western Hemisphere.  Poverty here is indescribable.  There are no public services, and the roads are barely passable.

Nearly 300,000 people live in the area of approximately 2 square miles.  The area is viewed as a difficult place to work; hence few non-government organizations, or other services are available here.

This is a typical street in Blanchard

Next we’ll visit Blachard (“New Land”), another suburb of PAP, located directly north of Cite Soleil closest to the PAP airport.  It is the home to about 200,000 and is growing.  We’ll also visit Ibo Beach, a small rural community of about 15,000 people, located 25km northwest of PAP.   Finally, we’ll visit Repatriote, the newest community being built on former cropland, with the primary intention to house Haitians returning (displaced) from the Dominican Republic.

While at HOM, we’ll have about eight hours of electricity each day, powered by 23 solar panels.  There is no refrigeration, air conditioning, indoor bathroom, or hot water.  We will stay in the second floor of the school building, which was not damaged in the earthquake, which occurred on Jan 12, 2009.  Although the conditions will be different than what I’m used to, I’ll have no room to complain.

Our itinerary will be as follows:

Day 1 – I leave DC at around 7 AM, fly to Miami where I’ll meet the other volunteers.  Together we’ll board a flight to Haiti, arriving at 4 PM.  We’ll board a bus, travel to HOM, eat dinner, gather for a team meeting and crawl into our bunks for bed.

Day 2 – After breakfast, we’ll have our first distribution in Blanchard for school-aged children.  Following lunch we’ll have a second shoe distribution, but this one will be for infants.  We’ll board a ‘tap-taps’ for a ride through downtown PAP and to view the Presidential Place.  Following dinner and a team meeting, I’m sure our volunteer team will pass out from exhaustion.

Tap-taps are basically, local public transportation on four wheels.  It might be a former school bus, or a pick up truck.  They can be painted with beautiful exteriors, religious slogans, or have loud sound systems inside.  I wonder what we’ll be riding on.

Day 3 – Following a breakfast of muffins, fruit and coffee, we’ll travel to Cite Soleil for our third shoe distribution.  We’ll be working with kids in first – third grade.  After lunch, we’ll give shoes to adults in Cite Soleil.  Following the distributions we’ll take a bus trip through the mountains and have the opportunity to buy some gifts.

Day 4 – We’ll actually visit the beach community where we will have lunch and spend time playing with the orphans.  I’m taking several toys I can leave for the children.  I’ve heard from many people the beaches in Haiti are breathtaking.  This will be the first time I’ve been to a beach other then one in Florida, California, or Delaware.

Day 5 – We’ll conclude our trip early in the morning and depart for the airport around 8 AM.  I’ll be back in DC about 12 hours later.

I look forward to sharing more of my experience with you.  It’s through the generous donations of friends, family and my clients that I am able to take this trip and provide shoes to so many people in need.

Shoes stored in the Soles4Souls Warehouse

If you’ve not donated you can still help. First, a simple click here will take you online where you can donate any tax-deductible amount you see fit.  For every $1 donated = 1 person will receive a pair of shoes.  Maybe if you have 10 pairs of shoes, you donate $10.  Or perhaps you donate the amount of your most expensive pair of shoes in your closet?  Visit this fund-raising page to help me reach my goal of touching thousands of souls.

Shoes stored in my condo - You might think I was a hoarder.

Finally, I officially kick off a Soles4Souls shoe drive in the DC, Maryland, Virginia area in late January. I’ve started collecting from clients and friends, and as you can see my condo is overrun with shoes. I hope you’ll donate your unwanted footwear to my collection and volunteer if you’re able to assist.

Thank you for your support of this mission. I couldn’t do it without you.

Warm regards,

Scott

Soles4Souls distributes usable shoes to people in need around the world. Since being founded in 2005 by Wayne Elsey (CEO), Soles4Souls has given away more than 12 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes (currently distributing one pair every 7 seconds). The shoes have been distributed in 125 countries, including Haiti, Kenya, Nepal and the United States.

Donate Your Bike and Make a Difference

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Donate your unwanted bike and make a difference to someone in need.   Bikes for the World works to provide affordable transportation to individuals in developing countries.  The bikes help these individuals get to work and school, or in providing health and education services to low-income rural people. 

I’m impressed that in the first five years (January 2005 – December 2009) of their charity work.  They have donated over 40,000 bicycles to 11 different countries.  I have no doubt that Bikes for the World is the largest bike reuse program in the country.  Visit their benefits page to view their amazing statistics.

Bikes for the World is holding two bike collection drives at local REI stores in September. Future donation locations can be found here.

REI – Rockville, 1701 Rockville Pike
September 18 from 12 PM – 4 PM

REI – Bailey’s Crossroads, 3509 Carlin Springs Rd.
September 19 from 12 PM – 4 PM

A tax-deductible doantion of $10 covers shipping and handling of your bike, your donation will also reduce future landfill waste.

Hoarding of Denim Continues for Charity

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Last week, I wrote about a professional organizer in Washington, DC who happened to also be a hoarder – a hoarder of denim.  I’ve been collecting denim for Habitat for Humanity since April.  I wanted to share this update with you.  As of May 17, 2010, I’ve collected 376 pairs of jeans.  In my last post, I mentioned my goal is to collect 5oo pairs total.  It takes 500 pairs to insulate one entire Habitat Home.

If you live in the Washington, DC, Northern Virginia, Montgomery County or Prince Georges County in Maryland and you have jeans to donate, please leave a comment below.  I’ll make arrangements to pick up the jeans or provide you my postal address for delivery or mail. You can also drop off jeans before May 23 at Vastu located at 1829 14th ST NW, Washington, DC.

Thanks for supporting this worth while adventure.

Special thanks to Steve Oatmeyer, a friend and talented graphic artist who created the denim graphic for this Declutter Your Denim Drive.

Professional Organizer in Washington, DC is a Hoarder. Can You Help?

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Many of my Facebook Fanpage followers are already aware that I’m a hoarder.  That’s right!  I’m a  professional organizer and I’m a hoarder!  Wait – don’t get the wrong idea.  I’m not living among piles of stuff like you would see on A&E TV’s hit series Hoarders, I’m only hoarding denim.  I’m collecting jeans for Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County, Maryland and I’m trying to collect 500 pairs of your used denim.

Habitat for Humanity is collecting denim for the COTTON. FROM BLUE TO GREEN® denim drive.  All donated denim will be recycled into UltraTouch™ Natural Cotton Fiber Insulation for Habitat for Humanity homes.  What I love is that UltraTouch™ contains no chemical irritants and requires no warning labels compared to other traditional products. There are no VOC concerns when using UltraTouch™, as it is safe for you and the environment.  This makes it very easy for the volunteer Habitat home builders to install the insulation.

What recycled denim insulation looks like.

So why am I trying to collect 500 pairs of jeans you ask?  It takes 500 pairs of jeans to insulate one Habitat for Humanity home.  As a professional organizer who encourages people to declutter their closet, I thought, why not turn the unwanted denim of my clients into something good.  I began telling clients and friends about my idea right before Earth Day.  I started my efforts by posting notes on Facebook, on my Twitter profile, and emailed other members of the National Association of Professional Organizers asking everyone to donate jeans and to help me spread the word.  Now I’m taking it to you, my readers.

I’ve been blessed so far with my collection efforts, but still need help to reach my goal of 500 pairs of jeans.  One client donated over 50 pairs from her family. Real Estate Agent, Hub Krack told his friends and clients and dropped off 18 pairs of jeans. At the NAPO Conference in Columbus, Ohio, 67 pairs of jeans were donated by numerous organizers attending the conference.  Professional Organizer Tanna Clark of Nashville, TN wrote a check to Habitat for Humanity for $125.00 to help cover the cost of shipping of the jeans and many others donated cash.  One of my favorite local furniture stores, Vastu is currently accepting donations of jeans on my behalf until Sunday, May 23rd.  Read more about that on their blog post, Declutter Your Denim.

Currently I have 338 pairs of jeans, but it is not enough.  Can you help spread the word?  Please announce it on your Facebook status.  ReTweet this blog post on Twitter.  Clear out your closet and donate your denim to Habitat.  Comment here about recycling efforts in your community.  Or, if you’re a fan of Habitat for Humanity, tell us why.  If you have jeans to donate, tell me how I can reach you and I’ll schedule a pick up date or you can drop them off at Vastu.

The current denim collection in my kitchen.

I will be collecting denim until I reach 500 pairs or until August 20th, which ever comes first.  Officially denim is being collected through August 20th at the following locations:

Habitat for Humanity ReStore
9100 Gaither Road, Gaithersburg, MD 20877
301-947-3304

Amicus Green Building Center
4080 Howard Avenue, Kensington, MD 20895-2465
301-571-8590

Self Storage Plus
851 E. Gude Drive, Rockville, MD 20850
301-637-2598

Learn more about the recycle process in this past blog post on denim recycling.

Electronics Recycling in Montgomery County Maryland – This Weekend!

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

In April 2008, the Consumer Electronics Association published a Market Research Report called: Trends in CE Reuse, Recycle and Removal which reported the average American Household has 24 electronic products per household. I don’t know about you, but as I look around my apartment, I have MANY more then 24! With that said, when it is time to recycle the items, we all must do our part to recycle the electronics.

This weekend, Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services is hosting another FREE electronics recycling event.

Sunday, July 26, 2009, 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m.
Sherwood High School
300 Olney-Sandy Spring Road
Sandy Spring, MD 20860

(The event will be held in the parking lot behind the school and near the school’s stadium.)
They also accept electronics daily at their Solid Waste Transfer Station.
Full electronics drop-off event collection schedule can be found on their website.
Accepted items include:

    small electronic appliances
    calculators
    camcorders
    CDs and floppy disks
    CD players
    cell phones
    computers and computer-related products
    consumer electronics
    copiers
    cords and cables (including chargers)
    digital cameras
    electronic typewriters
    fax machines
    microwave ovens
    monitors
    personal digital assistant equipment
    printers
    projection equipment
    scanners
    telephones
    small electronic toys
    televisions
    VCRs

If you’re curious what exactly happens to the items after they’re collected – read this post.

Get Organized & Save Money

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Oprah has once again teamed up with the awesome folks at The Container Store to offer you 25% off everything in the store now through, Sunday, July 12.  You’ll need to download this coupon to take in to the store or to use online.  Be sure to measure your spaces and make your shopping list before you go.  Know what you’re shopping for so you don’t buy items that clutter your living space.

Montgomery County Electronic Recycling Events for 2009

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

As a professional organizer, I often find
that my clients have dead electronic equipment cluttering their closets or their garages.  The e-waste is there because they do not know what to do with it.  I appreciate they don’t want to simply toss the TV, computer, or microwave in the trash!  Most would agree, that our landfills are full enough.

I spoke with Peter Karasik who is the Section Chief of the Division of Solid Waste Services of Montgomery County.  We spoke about the upcoming electronic recycling events in Montgomery County.  He recommends to residents they stay in their vehicles as they approach the unloading zone.  They have staff who will unload the cars. This keeps the traffic moving and makes the process faster for everyone.

For the drop-off, electronics should not be in boxes or bags unless you have multiple small electronics or if want to keep cables or power supplies together.   Karasik estimated they could collect 20 – 40 tons of electronics during each collection date.   The e-waste is shipped off to a processing plant in Elkridge, Maryland called E-Structors.  E-Structors does all the data destruction, separates the glass, pulls the copper from wires, and cuts up circuit boards into 1″ squares.  Their process is EPA-approved and results in the materials being 100% separated and recycled. Nothing from their process ever enters the nation’s waste stream.  That’s incredible!

In my opinion, Montgomery County continues to lead the way promoting their recycling efforts.  They’ve published a calendar on their blog of the upcoming recycling events and you can subscribe to receive future dates via email.  You can also follow the recycling events on Twitter by following @GoGreenMC Here’s the full list for the my faithful readers of Declutteryou.com!

12:00 PM – 4:00 PM Electronics Recycling Event at Poolesville High School
17501 Willard Road, Poolesville, MD 20837

12:00 PM – 4:00 PM Electronics Recycling at the Montgomery County Agricultural Center
16 Chestnut St Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Sunday, April 26, 2009
12:00 PM – 4:00 PM Electronics Recycling at Baker Middle School
25400 Oak Drive, Damascus 20872

12:00 PM – 4:00 PM Electronics Recycling at Bethesda Chevy Chase High School
4301 East-West Highway, Bethesda 20814

Note the program for electronics is open to all Montgomery County residents and businesses.

Accepted items include:

  • Small Electronic Appliances, Calculators, & Camcorders
  • CDs and Floppy Disks, CD Players, & Cell Phones
  • Computers & Computer-Related Products
  • Consumer Electronics, Copiers,Cords & Cables (including chargers)
  • Digital Cameras,  & Electronic Typewriters
  • Fax Machines, Microwave Overs, & Personal Digital Assistant Equipment
  • Printers, Projection Equipment, & Scanners
  • Telephones, Small Electronic Toys, Televisions, & VCRs,

I love that every single item collected is recycled!  Did you notice they do not accept videotapes?  I’m looking for a local resource for people to recycle VCR tapes.

If you live in Montgomery County or know someone who does, tell them to clear out their closets, garages, attics and basements.  It’s time to recycle all their electronics in Montgomery County, Maryland!