April 19, 2019
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A good idea grows in Brooklyn

Here are three stories that showcase the different ways you can help those in need.

Since 2014, BloomAgainBklyn has delivered over 70,000 flower arrangements to senior health care centers, home bound seniors, trauma and homeless survivors and others in need throughout Brooklyn.

Each week, The Renewal Project shares three stories from around the country that highlight the innovative solutions people are creating in their communities. Now that spring is well under way, this edition spotlights some positive stories from the natural world around us. What are the innovative ideas in your hometown? Tell us at info@therenewalproject.com.

Blooming in Brooklyn: Volunteers in New York’s most populous borough are spreading joy through recycled flowers. BloomAgainBklyn is a community-based nonprofit that repurposes and delivers unsold or once-used flowers to Brooklyn residents who may not have the funds and resources to buy flowers themselves. The idea of BloomAgainBklyn came from Caroline Gates Anderson, who has a passion for creating flower arrangements. She contacted Trader Joes to see if they would donate the unsold flowers and they agreed. Anderson, with the help of other community volunteers, create flower arrangements for senior health care centers, homebound seniors, trauma and homeless individuals, and anyone who could use a small dose of joy in their lives. Since 2014, BloomAgainBklyn has delivered over 70,000 flower arrangements across the borough.

The nonprofit also provides team-building exercises with other community organizations and schools. These exercises include teaching others how to create flower arrangements.

Each week on Wednesdays and Thursdays, the nonprofit hosts a flower arrangement event where they welcome assistance. Check out their website to learn how you can volunteer.

Waste not: Every day, Americans throw out nearly a pound of food. The solutions-focused website Nationswell compiled five simple ways to spread a positive environmental impact.

First up, composting is an easy solution to combat against food waste. A few cities have curbside compost pickup and many more are following their lead.

Another practice you can adopt is utilizing nearly-spoiled produce creatively. For instance, try pickling cucumbers that are about to go bad or turn bruised fruit into jam.

Companies like Hungry Harvest and Imperfect Produce are also trying to take measures to prevent unnecessary food waste. These companies are buying “ugly” fruit and reselling it at a lower cost. Hungry Harvest has rescued over 12 million pounds of food that were going to waste and Imperfect Produce saved 40 million pounds of food that were going to waste.

Nationswell also recommends mobile apps that can be used to track and reduce waste. Copia works with businesses to collect surplus food and deliver it to a local nonprofit. As a result, it has recovered a million pounds of produce and served over 900,000 meals.

Read the rest of the recommendations on here.

Solar energy in the Sunshine State: More and more households are trying to make the switch over to an economically-friendly lifestyle, but that change can come at a steep price. A nonprofit in Florida is trying to help families who are struggling with price to make the change. Founded in 2010, Solar and Energy Loan Fund (SELF) is a community-lending organization whose main mission is to provide affordable financing to environmentally-friendly home improvements. The nonprofit promotes a sustainable community development by giving loans out to low-income families who are striving to make healthy renovations to their homes.

SELF serves a total of 87 cities and counties in Florida. SELF helps various projects through energy efficiency, renewable energy, wind-hazard mitigation, and water conservation. To make this happen, SELF provides families with energy expertise, financial help, and project management. In the past nine years, SELF has given out over $8 million in loans for more than 1,000 homes.

Danielle Moskowitz

Danielle Moskowitz

Danielle Moskowitz is a contributor to The Renewal Project.