Thank you very much for choosing our project for the BWB Micro-Grant. We are excited and pleased to say we held our first event this past Sunday and it was a huge success.
A volunteer Madeline approached me to see if BWB would be interested in hosting a Street Store. After we read all the requirements I told her we were very interested. The best part about this was she is a pretty quiet volunteer very understated but strong person. She organized this event, she made contact with the Street Store. I merely guided her in contacting the printer and poking him. Giving her suggestions on working and helping to call out for volunteers from an amazing pool of people and friends who support the mission of BWB and trusted us to do this event.
We planned it to be small enough to manage but big enough to have an impact.
Twelve volunteers helped throughout the 6hr project. The store was open for 4hrs, one hour on each end to set up and clean up.
Something I often use as a measure of success is our ability to attract volunteers from outside the burner community and this event, as all BWB Detroit events do, achieved that. We had three people I would say who even consider themselves burners, ie go to local events or regionals! And two of them were from a local Pagan Church looking to connect with other like-minded groups.
We set up at a local organization the help transition homeless off the streets and houses about 80+ men from the streets of Detroit. The Mariners Inn was wonderful to work with and the staff was hospitable.
We had a local print shop make 25 signs and 8 t-shirts to start as that was what we had in our budget. We will use this grant to replenish those funds and purchase more signs and t-shirts as we learned very quickly that this project is going to grow. All the volunteers were happy to be involved and want to come back. And friends of theirs showed up and want to get involved in future Street Stores.
Things that worked really well for us was that we showed up early and set up all at the same time. More hands made for less work and it helped as we could explain to folks what we were doing and ask them to come back in an hour, and many of them did.
This event was in Cass Corridor and when I say word travels fast I mean it. Not far from where we were is Cass Park where we found out The Wobbly Kitchen serves food every other Sunday and we happened to be on the right week. Their event was shorter than ours and the organizer came over and we were introduced. It was a pleasure as both of us are known for our homeless efforts so we got to talk and work on how we will collaborate in the future. Which by the way will be August 14th when we hold our next event in conjunction with his soup kitchen at Cass Park.
The benefits to this we hope will be the shade of trees. We had none but we had a huge wooden fence to hang our signs on. We will work on how to arrange items in the park when we help The Wobbly Kitchen. I personally have 2 10×20 tents and a friend suggested we could use his welding drape frames. All ideas we will work on.
Besides the shade folks in the area already know the kitchen is a serve and on what weekends. So we will have a build in audience to serve and create relationships with.
It was a very hot the day of our event and I have to say wearing black event t-shirts was not my best idea of the day. My co-lead Madeline Frost suggested white but I hate white t-shirts..omg she was so right.
The feedback from our event page has been wonderful, folks are wanting to get involved by donating clothes and helping the day of the event. We are going to work to encourage folks to bring their clothes to the event and we will help hang them. This will serve a few purposes; one being I will have fewer clothes to store and move around, but I will and two which is the most important it will get folks participating in the act of helping by there interacting with both our volunteers and the folks we are helping.
I understand this may not be for everyone but I do like the idea of giving additional ways for folks to get involved that suits their comfort level.
What we learned and will do moving forward and where the funds from this grant will go is to purchase more signs. We limited ourselves as I mentioned due to our budget which meant we had many clothes on one sign. It worked but it will look better to spread them out and make the plastic corrugated signs last longer if they have less weight on them. We also realized we needed more supplies, some reusable and others to give to the shoppers. Things like clothing baskets as not all items are able to hang and we can not put them on the ground. Hangers for all the items that we do hang and we hung a ton.
Bags for folks to take the clothes they selected away in. And snacks… we provided many snacks and cold water not only our volunteers but also to all the folks who came to visit us. We had so many people come by that I had to take two volunteers and leave the event, go to our storage unit and quickly sort through our supplies to pick what we could use for this event and not affect our backpacking supplies for the fall, it was great and served both events because we were able to move items that would have expired before winter and also found clothes that would not be useful in winter either.
Overall it was a very successful event. I am really proud of what we did and plan to do. Working with Madeline was amazing and she is head strong on our moving forward to keep this project going. We are even planning a winter event, I will of course look for a building to host this but I also told her we will do this outside and bear the elements just like people we are serving have to.
Thank you again to the BWB Mirco-Grant Selection Committee and BWB for the continued support of what we are doing in Detroit. We appreciate it very much.
small bow to everyone involved.
Please let me know if there is anything else you need from me or this project.
Danielle ~doxie Kaltz
many images here of our event-