Spreading Holiday Cheer

As we approach the holidays, one of the things Pots and Pans wants to emphasize is the importance of being around the people you love. Whether it is continuing holiday traditions or starting new ones, it is important to surround yourself with your loved ones. At Pots and Pans, we prioritize the need to keep families together, and keep them fed. During the holidays, along with the rest of the year, it is very important to continue to donate at home needs, such as food, plates, pots, and much more in hopes to spread as much holiday joy as we can. 

Every Thanksgiving, my family will get together to have a nice meal, and enjoy our time together. My mom and I will spend the morning cooking for our family, and when they all get here we eat and play games, which is always very fun. I am especially excited for this Thanksgiving because I have not seen a lot of my extended family due to Covid and being away at school. Being together for the holidays is something I look forward to all year because I have a strong bond with my family, and I value them greatly.

 After volunteering at Pots and Pans, I want to spread the need to donate food and other necessities because everyone should be able to feel the holiday cheer. Instead of throwing away old plates and pans, I would suggest donating them, because you do not know how much it could benefit someone else. Donating old utensils and food can help bring other families together this holiday season.

The Journey of a Sewing Machine

Recycle Pots and Pans recently received an old Singer sewing machine and we recycled it to the Socially Responsible Sweatshop who takes them to Kenya to empower women in outlying villages. Here is more about this wonderful organization. Thank you Bridgette, for telling their story.

The Socially Responsible Sweatshop (SRS) is a non-profit charitable organization that repurposes landfill-destined textiles into useful, beautiful items. Proceeds from their sales provide funds for food-insecure communities and social justice projects. The volunteers of SRS strive to be helpful while demonstrating responsible stewardship of the Earth and the protection of its environment. I was lucky enough to meet with Mary Ann Kasper and Lonnie Hawks at the Haymaker Farmer’s Market in downtown Kent, Ohio, and learn more about their nonprofit.

The Socially Responsible Sweatshop’s mission is to extend its financial resources to other causes that are seen as fit and feasible. They work to sustain the Earth and the hungry.

Socially Responsible Sweatshop works with Bonyo’s Kenya Mission and Kent State University School of Nursing to help people in Western Kenya. The women of SRS gifted a refurbished 1920s Singer sewing machine to the women of Kenya. 

Prior to its donation, the sewing machine had quite the journey: It is said that this 1920s Singer was the shop’s first sewing machine. Kasper wanted to help those in need get more fresh food, so she went to a thrift store and bought the old Singer machine. Kasper started by making yoga mats, but once she started gathering a team, the opportunities were endless. Revenue from the items made was used to purchase and provide food.

The Socially Responsible Sweatshop was inspired to help set up a “sister sweatshop” at the Mama Pilista Bonyo Memorial Health Center, which is an ongoing project. They repurpose all the items they receive, which keeps fabric, sewing machines, and other reusable items out of landfills, saves money, and protects the environment.

An abundance of used towels and bedsheets were used for upcycling needs for the Kenyan women. It is said that “having the means to make their own reusable menstrual pads out of affordable and accessible materials will give the young women in the villages around the clinic a better chance to be self-reliant, remain in school, and break the circle of poverty caused by lack of education.”

The group’s efforts to produce work sustainably, while also working towards funding food insecurity programs and raising awareness of social justice issues, make the organization important and unique. They have a large impact locally and it is inspiring to see them impacting other communities as well. The success of their work has led the organization to focus its efforts on organizations in other countries, just as they are in Kenya.

I am grateful I was able to talk to Mary Ann and Lonnie about their non-profit,  Socially Responsible Sweatshop. My Photojournalism class project turned out to be more memorable than I ever imagined it would. I took a picture of them from afar, and approached them afterward, asking them, “Could you tell me more about your non-profit?” Listening to them, hearing what they do, and learning all about their organization inspires me to be a better person for myself and for others.

What are some ways you are able to help out in your community? Sometimes you might have to take a deeper look, but you might find something that just might change your outlook. 

Quotes from: 

Managing the Monthlies, Kenya-style

In Awe of Recycle Pots and Pans

I met with Desirae, an avid recycler, to discuss her experiences with Recycle Pots and Pans. Desirae lives in Tallmadge, Ohio, graduating in 2015. Unfortunately, she suffered a brain injury and has been in therapy for the last few years, while also taking care of her grandparents. Desirae recently was put in charge to settle her grandparents’ estate, and that included finding organizations to donate unwanted items in an environmentally friendly manner.

Despite nudging from friends to rent a dumpster and throw away old items, Desirae was on the hunt for an organization that took donations of exactly the kinds of items she had. She stated, “I didn’t want to just donate them to a secondhand store that would then be selling them to somebody in need of them… [but] donating to Goodwill or Salvation Army is great. I just don’t really think anybody should have to pay for those items again if I’m donating them. Big items like the ones Recycle Pots and Pans collects don’t always fit in everyone’s budget.”

Desirae’s interest in recycling dates back to the fifth grade. “I had a teacher that was very adamant about recycling, and it got me in the habit of at least like paper and plastic recycling.” As the years have passed, so have her efforts to do even more. 

An internet search connected Desirae to Recycle Pots and Pans, and after her initial encounter, she knew it was a great fit. She stated that she sent an email over to Abbe, who called back almost instantly. Abbe told Desirae that she could drop off her donations at the non-profit any time. Desirae loved how responsive and accessible the organization and Abbe were, given her schedule and responsibilities of late.

“[Community members in need] shouldn’t have to pay for simple stuff to help them feed themselves. Some of what I donated was difficult for me to transport. And I don’t imagine, especially where Goodwill and Salvation Army are located on the bus line, it would be very fun to transport pots and pans.” Desirae appreciated how much Abbe and the organization go out of their way to get donated items into the hands of people that need them.

Because she started cooking for herself at a young age, Desirae talked about the need for items such as pots and pans – and not just one – just to cook basic meals. She was so happy that her grandparents’ items could have a new life with a person or family in need. 

Just as Desirae was in awe of the mission of Recycle Pots and Pans, I was in awe of Desirae and her desire to do good and think about sustainability and helping others when she already has so many things she’s managing. The world is a better place with people like Desirae in it!

Make the Season of Giving Last All Year

The holiday season is a magical time for so many. People are filled with excitement, anticipation, and joy. For many, Thanksgiving and Christmas are a time to reflect, practice gratitude, and find opportunities to be generous. In many instances, families use this as an opportunity to show young children what it means to give back or gather as a family or group of friends. While the holiday season inspires kindness and compassion toward the less fortunate, unfortunately, the vast majority of that giving stops soon after the holidays. For less than two months of the year, shelters are filled with people spreading holiday cheer and offering food, voluntary help, and gifts to those in need. But what about the other 363 days of the year? The season of giving is short, but the need lasts all year. As food insecurity may be more prevalent around the holiday season, it is more than a seasonal issue. 

“Since the holidays are the ‘time of giving, people probably only associate giving with that time, so they feel guilty realizing they hadn’t been giving the rest of the year… or they may just be selfish during the rest of the year and feel charitable during the holidays. I believe that there are people who only do it for show, but I also truly believe there’s people who do it out of the kindness of their heart.” Generosity should be year-round. The holidays are a wonderful time of year, but the need and want for basic life necessities don’t go away when Santa does.

The work of nonprofit organizations like Recycle Pots and Pans happens each and every day. Most nonprofits are very dependent on active volunteers and financial support. Our nonprofit organization was developed to address by collecting and redistributing gently used cooking items to those in need.

See how you can support local nonprofits during the holidays, but also consider these ideas for year-round help:

  • Bringing your book club, team, girls’ night out, or another group to volunteer instead of one of your normal meeting times.
  • Schedule a “Christmas in July” volunteering day, since food pantries are traditionally low on resources in the summer months.
  • Set up monthly donations with your favorite nonprofit so funds are spread out all year long.
  • Donate or volunteer time in someone’s honor or memory on their birthday.
  • When you change the batteries in your smoke alarms twice a year, also clean out your pantry and drop off non-perishable food items.

Are you interested in learning about ways you could be more involved with Recycle Pots and Pans? Visit our What We Need and Donation pages. Thank you!

We are moving to new digs!

We have been so blessed to have shared space with Lucky Penny Creamery in Kent for 10 years but the building we are housed in has been sold and we are moving to a location yet to be determined. We have distributed the thousands of pieces of donated kitchenware to community nonprofits and will be on a brief hiatus until we find our new location. Thank you for your continued support helping families eat together and share good food. See you in Spring 2022!

Summer 2019 Drop Off Events!

It has been a quiet winter, but now we are ready for summer!

We are excited to announce our summer drop off dates for summer 2019! This summer we will be at the following farmers markets to collect pots, pans, dishes, utensils, etc. from you!

-July 20 (Saturday) @ Countryside Food and Farms Howe Meadow Market
-July 27 (Saturday) @ Stow Community Farmers Market
-August 11 (Sunday) @ Countryside Food and Farms Public Market

Unfamiliar with our drop off events? Here’s the scoop! Take time now or in the next month(s) to sort through kitchen items you no longer use or need. Pack them up in a box or bag. Grab a friend, head to one of these dates at the market specified above, don’t forget your box! Find us near the entrance of the market set up with our Recycle Pots and Pans tent and let us take the items off your hands in exchange for a tax deductible receipt!

Need a hand? Let us know! We will have volunteers on-site to help carry boxes and bags from your car into ours!

Where does it go from here? Check out our partner profile page at recyclepotsandpans.com/partners and see the list of organizations we work with!

Can’t make it to one of these dates but still want to make a donation? We accept donations 24/7 (yes, really!) at 632 Temple Ave, Kent, OH 44240. On the side of our building we have a red awning that you can leave donations at any time. Don’t have a car or time to make it to us? Contact us via email (recyclepotsandpans@gmail.com) or phone (3307154140) and set up a pick up!

Hope to see you there!

New Partner: Nehemiah Partners of Sandusky

We have recently started working with another partner in Northeast Ohio. We are proud to now be partnered with the Nehemiah Partners of Sandusky.

The Nehemiah Center works to Encourage, Empower, and Educate children in the Sandusky, OH area to reach their full potential. They provide a safe and engaging environment for the children in their community to grow. Using a faith based approach, they offer educational services as well as activities, mentoring, and guidance to promote the well being of these children.

Thanks to one of their kitchen volunteers who linked our two organizations up, we were able to get them a couple new items to use for their after school meal program. The center had previously been using scorched pans which often burned the food for the children. Now they have new pans to provide even better meals for the kids they serve!

For more information, check out the new partner profile listing here, or check out the Nehemiah Partners of Sandusky website here.

Nehemiah Kids 2

Children at Nehemiah Center with New Pot

Nehemiah Kids 1

Children at Nehemiah Center with New Pot 2

Summer Drop-Off Events Recap 2018

We just wanted to thank everyone who attended and donated their kitchen items at the Summer Drop Offs we held this summer! In six drop offs, we were able to collect 2,092 POUNDS of donated kitchen items!! This is 2,092 pounds of items that might have ended up in landfills (or at least collecting dust in your kitchen or basement!) that will now be able to go back into our community to help those in need be able to share a meal at home with their families.

A very special thank you to the markets and market managers to helped make this possible by allowing us to show up to their markets and have these Drop Off events. This year we were fortunate to have been able to work with Erin and Serena at Countryside Conservancy at Howe Meadow and Highland Square, Andrew at Haymaker Farmers’ Market, Gary at Stow Community Farmers Market, and Terri and Lori at Main Street Wadsworth Farmers Market.

We have been fortunate enough to have had a lot of help both at the markets and back in Kent by volunteers to help load up, unload, sort, put away, break down boxes, and clean up. Those volunteers are crucial to making sure that these types of events can exist!

We have also been fortunate to work with our partners a lot this summer to keep everything moving. Almost as fast as things have been coming in during this busy summer, they have been helping us to move them out!

Upcoming Event: Drop Off at Main Street Wadsworth Farmers Market 9/8/18

This is it! Our last scheduled drop off event for the 2018 Summer Farmers Market season!

We will be at Main Street Wadsworth Farmers Market on September 8th from 9-12 to collect kitchen item donations! These folks put on a beautiful market in Downtown Wadsworth.

Not familiar with how our drop off events work? Here’s how it goes: You grab your friends, sort through your old, used, kitchenware, and bring it to the market in boxes or bags. You find us at the market, we will have volunteers on site to help carry boxes or bags from your cars to ours. You drop off your donated items, collect your tax deductible receipt, if desired, and shop the market!

Thank you for all your support in our summer drop offs! Be on the lookout for more next summer!

Interested in having us come to your event or market for a drop off event? Shoot us an email at recyclepotsandpans@gmail.com to set something up at a winter market or for the 2019 summer season!