18 June 2014

A Wider Circle's Great Eight

This year in Silver Spring Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day (held every April) featured volunteers from A Wider Circle,* a local organization which furnishes homes, provides clothing and trains people for the workforce in the D.C. area.  Every year on Free Cone Day, Ben & Jerry’s give away free ice cream** and they host a charity who is allowed to fundraise in the store.***  Give the charity a few dollars and you get a key ring tag for 10% off on ice cream for the next twelve months.  In addition to the free ice cream.

So, really, one isn’t just scarfing down free ice cream, one is being a philanthropist

Anyway, this year was A Wider Circle’s opportunity and the nice volunteers handed out information on the organization and how to help.  I still have the bookmark they gave me with “The Great Eight” on it.  If you are looking for a quick shopping list of “things to buy but not for me” and have donated enough boxes of pasta and cans of veggies for a while, they suggest:

1.  Tissues and toilet paper
2.  Laundry detergent
3.  Whole grain pasta****
4.  Low-sodium beans
5.  Paper towels and cleaning supplies
6.  Cereal and oatmeal
7.  Diapers
8.  Low-sodium, low-sugar canned fruits and vegetables.

I take food with me for the food bank every time I go to church and every so often the shelter gets some of my beloved hotel toiletries.  I’ll probably go to the store this weekend and pick up some paper goods for donation.   

*From their website:  “A Wider Circle’s efforts focus on the provision of basic need items, education, and long-term support. These three components work in concert to create lasting change in the lives of those we serve. A Wider Circle says no to nobody! Anyone in need of help can find it here. In addition to all of the individuals and families that call us, more than 300 government, social service, and nonprofit agencies regularly contact us for help in serving their clients.

Items can be dropped off 7 day a week, 365 days a year at our Center for Community Service: 9159 Brookville Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910.”

**which is awesome

*** Last year it was the Washington Animal Rescue League, so … kittens!  And puppies!

**** Or gluten-free …

15 June 2014

I'm reading Easter Rising: A Memoir of Roots and Rebellion by Michael Patrick MacDonald and got to this passage on page 22 which may be the most surreal thing I've ever read in a memoir.
My first afternoon there I was just about to leave the store when one of the clerks took down a Patti Smith record that was propped on a fireplace mantel that was left over from the days when the shop had been an apartment. I had seen Patti Smith a couple of  years earlier on the Saturday morning TV show Kids Are People Too.  She wore an oversized man's blazer and her gaunt face made her look something like Jesus on the cross.  She sang Debby Boone's "You Light Up My Life" surrounded by an audience of entranced eight-year-olds.  The show host* had announced her a "punk poet" and "the female Mick Jagger."  As a kid I hadn't been into rock 'n' roll.  All we ever listened to in Southie was soul or disco even though the neighborhood wasn't safe for black people - or anyone else different from us - after the busing riots.  Still everyone knew who Mick Jagger was - especially after the Rolling Stones' "Miss You" became a disco hit.  If Patti Smith was his female counterpart I was surprised I'd never heard of her.  Seeing her on TV on that Saturday morning gave me the willies, and I couldn't get her blank stare out of my head all day.  I was probably eleven and couldn't believe she was on a show for kids younger than me, singing the worst soft-rock ever but turning it into an intense dirge with her deep and onimous voice.  The show's host asked her "Are you punk rock?"  She simply answer, "No," her blank stare unmoved by the host's enthusiasm.  "Well, we think you're punk rock, right, kids?" the apple-cheeked host shouted, to the cheers of dozens of eight-year-olds screaming, "Yeah!"  I had no idea what was going on. Punk rock?  And the Debby Boone song?  And that frightening gaze?

Oh, look, here it is:

Be sure to listen to the question portion where she says that she wanted to be a missionary.

And if you want to read a more light-hearted description of the whole thing, try this article on Open Culture.

And the rest of the book?  Definitely recommended.

* Michael Young