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!

What Volunteering Means To Me

Growing up I had the pleasure of volunteering for my local Salvation Army countless times with my High School basketball team. As a young teen I quickly learned way more about the world we live in today. This fall I had the opportunity to work with Abbe Turner and her organization “Recycle Pots and Pans.” There are so many people that come from very different situations and volunteering to help these families is one of the best decisions I could’ve made this fall. This has been a very humbling experience and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity Abbe gave me. Not only did I feel like I was doing good for my community, I also had a blast doing it. Typically kids dread doing community service but not me. I actually had a great time while doing things for a great cause and I’d most definitely come back to volunteer for this amazing organization. 

During this holiday season there are going to be a lot of people in need for household items such as plates, silverware, and cups. I helped wash these household items and then they were soon donated to goodwill. I love what RP&P is doing and the consistency of their organization. Abbe is doing an amazing job running the organization and I am very excited to see so much more change in our community all thanks to her. 

Happy Holidays,

Christian Szalay

Wish List 2019

Christmas is right around the corner and you know what that means, PRESENTS! Christmas is one of the best times of the year because RP&P has the opportunity to help change peoples lives forever and can ensure that families in need can eat family meals together at the dinner table. This holiday season is all about giving as usual but in order to give to those in need, we must also have the supplies to do so. With the donations from all of our donors, it keeps us running a great non-profit organization to help impact the community in a positive way. 

Listed below is a short list of items we are politely asking to be donated one way or another so we can have the best materials to keep our company running better than ever. But please remember any donation is a good one. Items in need consist of:

  1. Rolling cart
  2. Industrial Shelving 
  3. Three-Bay Stainless Steel Sink
  4. Dish Soap, Towels, and Sponges
  5. Printing/ Marketing Materials
  6. Cargo Van for Pickups and Deliveries 
  7. Donated Media or Advertising Space
  8. Volunteers to Wash Dishes
  9. Gas Cards for Deliveries
  10. Large Cardboard Boxes

For anyone looking to donate please feel free to contact (330)-715-4140 or aturner@kent.edu. As always, have a great holiday this holiday season!

Best,

Christian Szalay

Recycle Pots and Pans Is The Place To Be

Doing community service for Recycling Pots and Pans was truly a great, humbling experience. I have never worked at a more welcoming, enjoyable place. Everyone you encounter is extremely nice and humbling. Just knowing that I’m helping so many needy families and people is such a great feeling while I’m working. People think of community service as pointless and boring. But I had so much fun while volunteering at this organization. I loved everyone I worked with, and most of all, I loved giving back to the community.

I thought it was important to pick a place to do community work for that actually makes a difference in the community, and I couldn’t have picked a better organization to work at. The work I did at Recycling Pots and Pans wasn’t hard, but it was so meaningful. I haven’t heard of an organization that collects pots, pans, plates, and silverware and give them to people of need. So, when I did a little more research, I thought it was such a great idea. Families should be able to have a meal together every night, but sadly not all families can. Some families don’t have the proper supplies to cook, don’t have enough plates or silverware for the whole family, or some families don’t have any supplies at all. Recycling Pots and Pans makes being able to eat as a family possible again. 

It’s so heartwarming to know you’re helping so many people. That was the best part of my experience at RP&P’s. I haven’t done any work like this before, but now that I have it’s one of the best feelings I ever experienced. I will definitely keep going back to help because it’s such an easy way to help so many people and do so much good for the community. Everyone at the organization are all so kind and understanding. Everyone’s main focus is just helping others and the community. I think if there were a few more places like this one, a huge change could happen everywhere, not just in Kent. I will forever be thankful I got to volunteer at Recycling Pots and Pans, I’ve never experienced something so heartwarming with the kindest genuine people. I think more people should take some time out of their day to research volunteer work and help out the community in any way they can.

Happy Holidays,

Savannah Quinn

Recycled silverware and plates being used at a family function

Beef and Noodles

Ever since I was a little kid I can always remember going to grandmas and having family dinners with my dads’ side of the family and I can always remember one constant through the years; My grandmas’ beef and noodles. They were always my favorite and I can remember going there for holiday, football games, and even after wrestling tournaments and they were always there, hot and ready to be devoured. When I started thinking about what goes all in to making the beef and noodles it shocked me to realize about how many resources were needed to make the meal. From the pots and pans need to cook the potatoes and noodles to the crock pots need to cook the beef. 

She first starts with a chicken broth that she puts in this great big pot that she cooks at a low heat on the stove. Then she uses a mixer to beat the potatoes and make then so rich and creamy. Then the crock pot marinates the meat for a few hours and by the time that that is finished the other food is ready to be eaten. Finally, we cut the roast beef into small chunks and lay it out on the table. I always like to get a huge scoop of mashed potatoes and make like a little volcanoes type thing to lay the noodles in. The meal is always fantastic and reminds me of my childhood every time. 

Over the course of my time a Recycling Pots and Pans, I think the thing that has made me most proud is the possible impact I could have made on others. Bringing the pots and pans so they too could enjoy the little delicacies that make life so grand. I hope that other people can dedicate just a small part of their time to help the dream of Abbe and the organization true and feed the mouths of many.

Happy Holidays,

Quentin Griffin

Image result for beef and noodles
Photo Courtesy of Campbells.com

New Partner: First Congregational Church of Akron

We have recently started working with another partner in Northeast Ohio. We are proud to now be partnered with the Food Pantry of First Congregational Church of Akron.

Since June of 2018, we’ve partnered with the Food Pantry of First Congregational Church of Akron to provide much-needed pots, pans and other kitchenware to people experiencing food scarcity. The church has been doing very great work to help the people in need the most. In 2018 alone, the church’s team of over 100 volunteers served fresh food, meat and staples – the equivalent of 100,600 meals — to income-eligible community members.

Donations of pots and pans in good condition make it easier for those they serve to make nutritious meals at home with family and loved ones. The Food Pantry of First Congregational Church of Akron was a huge addition to our partners here at Recycle Pots and Pans, and we couldn’t be more excited to see what the future holds with this very generous organization.

Best,

Recycling Pots and Pans

Food packaged to be donated to all of the people in need.