Posts Tagged ‘give away’

Photo: What Cheer Flower Farm.

Today’s story shows, among other things, that if you pick a really good name, you’re halfway to your goal. Who wouldn’t be drawn to a charity with a name like What Cheer Flower Farm?

And wait till you hear what it does! Frank Carini’s ecoRI News story was originally reported in 2018.

“The place was a complete mess, but a trio of determined women was going to buy it anyway, as soon as the seller removed about 50 tattered mattresses from the dilapidated building.

“The 2.7-acre property was covered with wind-blown trash. More than a year later, the three women are still picking up broken glass. … They ripped up poison ivy by gloved hand, and brought in a tractor to help tear down the overgrowth. The empty factory with a brick facade, largely vacant since the 1990s, has no running water or electricity, is covered in graffiti, has been the victim of arson, and has been gutted of all scrap metal.

“ ‘The property was neglected for years,’ said Shelby Doggett, who, at 25, is the youngest of the three buyers.

“The women, Doggett, her mother, Marian Purviance, and Anne Holland, bought the derelict property for $525,000, so they could give away flowers.

What Cheer Flower Farm was incorporated [in October 2017] and it acquired the former site of the Colonial Knife Co., forgotten industrial land in the heart of the city’s Olneyville neighborhood, not far from Route 6, this spring.

“After the sale became final, the first two essential items the women had delivered were a port-a-potty and a truckload of compost.

“This new urban farm, at 46 Atwood St., only began its growing season two months ago. The seeds were planted late in the season because there was plenty of other work to do first. For one, the property was covered in pavement.

“Some 4,000 square feet of parking lot was torn up and transformed into an organic raised-bed ‘field’ of flowers, both perennial and annual. Purviance, the farm’s horticultural director, has years of garden cultivation and management experience.

“ ‘I worked in the fine-gardening business for a long time, and I worked for very high-end clients. A lot of them really didn’t even appreciate what it was to have a garden and how much a flower really means,’ said Purviance, 57, a 30-year resident of Providence.

‘I get so much more satisfaction out of working on this project than I did working for people who take that for granted.’

“The nonprofit flower farm with two full-time farmers — Purviance and Doggett, who as the program director also handles the administrative side of things; Holland is the communications manger — and with support from volunteers, grows organic flowers on a brownfield site.

“They give their product away to ‘people who deserve flowers but don’t have access,’ Purviance said.

“To supply those people who deserve flowers, What Cheer Flower Farm has partnered with Amos House, the Ronald McDonald House of Providence, and Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island. The women deliver bouquets and buckets of cut flowers to these institutions and other partners.

“About 90 percent of the flowers currently being grown at the farm were started from seed by Purviance in her kitchen and in a friend’s basement. The rest of the plants were donated by Green Animals Topiary Garden in Portsmouth. …

“Besides brightening people’s lives with free flowers — 1,000 have so far been donated — the nonprofit’s mission also includes reversing urban blight, creating a job training center for Rhode Island residents to help them enter the state’s $2.5 billion ‘green’ economy, and making Providence famous for urban flower farming.

“Chicken manure from Scratch Farm and horse manure from a gentleman farmer in Rehoboth, Mass., have been used to build soil. … The farm rents a meter from Providence Water, which allows it to use a fire hydrant for watering. The water is stored in donated tanks of various sizes.

“Where the dilapidated building now stands, the co-founders envision a barn, classroom space, an office, and space for lease. …

“What Cheer Flower Farm has applied for a brownfield remediation grant with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. An ongoing inventory assessment didn’t find elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The owners have worked with the National Resources Conservation Service and David Foss of Wilcox & Barton Inc., a Vermont-based environmental consulting firm.

“The property is in better toxic shape than the new owners predicted, but there’s still much work to be done. Much of that work will revolve around fundraising. As a 501(c)(3), the organization will rely on grants, donations, volunteers, and kindness. They also plan to host fee-based workshops for hobby gardeners and amateurs.”

From the farm’s website: “Our staff are busy working on growing, rescuing and giving away flowers. You can visit as a volunteer, or as an artist who wants to work outside en plain air or as a group seeking a tour. …

“What Cheer Flower Farm is a nonprofit dedicated to bringing solace, joy and healing to the people of Rhode Island via flowers as well as supporting our local floral economy via job training.

“We grow, rescue and give away 100,000 flowers per year and are on track to expand to giving away 300,000 flowers per year in the next five years. We never sell flowers – all are given away freely via our network of local nonprofits and organizations serving Rhode Islanders including hospitals, senior services, recovery centers, shelters, hospices and food pantries. …

  ” 2022 Achievements

  • “92,000 flowers grown, rescued and given away
  • “$50,000 grant won from United Way/Social Enterprise Greenhouse
  • “Relaunched Flower Festival named ‘The Best Thing to Do in RI’ by The Boston Globe.”

More at ecoRI News, here. No firewall.

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Photo: Sierra Sullivan via KCRA.
Mike Sullivan, 72, says his two older brothers were carpenters who made him toys when he was a child.

I saw this story of good works several places online and saved it for Christmas Day.

CNN’s Amy Chillag wrote, “A real-life Santa’s workshop is churning out toys in Desert Hot Springs, California. A 26-year Army veteran and his wife have spent most of the last decade making toys in a woodshop behind their house. It’s a labor of love that started as a hobby.

” ‘After retirement, I got bored and needed something to do,’ 72-year-old Mike Sullivan told CNN.

“The couple joined a woodworking club and one of their projects was to build toys for kids.

” ‘Christmas time, we had a chance to see the kids get the toys and see how much joy it was,’ said Sullivan.

“They were hooked. … Mike and Judy Sullivan spend nearly every day in the shop.

” ‘We’re both in good health and are able to be out here six to seven days a week for eight to 10 hours,’ Sullivan said. ‘It’s so much fun.’ …

“Mike buys the lumber, the drill bits and saws and makes the patterns — cutting and sanding away. Judy is quality control and decorator.

” ‘I run my hands over all the toys and feel for something that’s not supposed to be there — a loose wheel or splinter,’ said Judy. She also spray paints and decorates. …

“This year, their toys were especially needed with so many parents out of work due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy.

“The Sullivans … are extra careful scheduling folks at intervals to come check out the toys. ‘We try to enforce safe distancing and masking,’ said Mike.

“This week, they’re delivering hundreds of toys to a kindergarten class, the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission and a church food pantry. They’ve mailed toys as far away as Indiana and Texas. Not only are the toys free, but the couple pays for the shipping although, they admit, that’s getting tough.

” ‘As long as I can afford it, I can send them where I can,’ he said. …

“The Sullivans’ toys will also be distributed to children during a drive-thru giveaway with social distancing, ‘making sure everyone is safe and happy and healthy.’ …

“The couple makes trains, cars, trucks, pull and push toys (little alligators, elephants), ducks you put on a string and pull along behind you. They also make educational toys: alphabet puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, stackers with different size blocks on a pole. …

“Judy Sullivan said they watch [their grandchildren and great-grandchildren] play with the toys and see what they like and don’t like about them. ‘If they drop a toy on the floor and break the head of a duck, we better reinforce that.’ …

“Mike says while he’s full of shrapnel from his service, that doesn’t slow him down in the toy factory. ‘You have to adapt and overcome.’

He refuses to charge for his toys. Maybe it’s because he knows what it’s like not to have much money.

” ‘My dad was a miner, we were considerably poor,’ said the retired Army first sergeant, who grew up in Montana.

“His older brothers were both carpenters and made toys for him when he was a child. ‘Most of the things I got were handmade toys. They were wonderful toys, I know how much I enjoyed them.’ … Those memories stick with him and he inherited their love of wood. ‘We do it for those who are less fortunate than we are now.’

“Their daughter says her parents spent $19,000 out of pocket last year on supplies (she does their taxes). …

“The hundreds of wheels and axles for the cars, trucks and trains are especially costly. With their kids’ encouragement, they started a GoFundMe to help.

“Mike hopes anyone who wants a Christmas present next year will reach out to him, and he’ll do his best to get it to them, wherever they are.”

More at CNN, here, and at the Washington Post, here.

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I need to ponder a bit before deciding how I feel about publishing books that don’t earn anything for the author and that cost the “buyer” only an unenforceable promise to make a donation to a charity.

I was discussing this with Asakiyume by e-mail this morning. She self-published the delightful Pen Pal and has often said she is more interested in getting people to read the book than in making a lot of money off it. But neither us feels that artists should be expected routinely to give away the fruits of their labors. (If they really want to, there are worthy groups like Artists for a Cause that can make it happen.)

Kathleen Burge describes the new publishing concept in today’s Globe. “When the Concord Free Press was just a radical idea with a one-title book list, founder Stona Fitch nervously pitched Wesley Brown, hoping to persuade the acclaimed author to let him publish Brown’s latest novel.

“ ‘You want me to give you this novel I’ve been writing for years,’ he recalls Brown saying. ‘You’re not going to pay me. And you’re going to give it away for free and hope that readers donate money to something else.’

“ ‘I said, “Wes, yeah, that’s pretty much it.” There’s this long pause and I’m waiting for something bad to happen. And he said, “I’m in.” ’ …

“Readers agree to give away money, in any amount: to a charity, a stranger on the street, or someone who needs it. Donations since 2008 total $409,250 — and that is just those reported back to the publisher. Readers are also asked to pass along the book once they are finished, so donations continue to multiply. …

Gregory Maguire , who wrote Wicked, the wildly popular novel that became a Broadway musical, saw a chance to free himself from his reputation as only a fantasy writer — the way he is promoted by his publisher, HarperCollins — and try a new kind of novel.

“After the book, a tragic farce titled The Next Queen of Heaven, debuted with the Concord press, his publisher paid him a very welcome advance to issue a second — much larger — edition of the work.”

More here.

I can see how this rather Utopian approach could work for an established writer who wants to try a new genre. But the big hurdle for new writers is publicity. They can’t generate their own very well. How do they get into the right hands once they are published?

Photo: Lane Turner/Globe Staff
The Concord Free Press gives away books for free to readers who will donate to a charity or person in need.

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