Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cruise for a Cause

It's the support we need... and the vacation you deserve! The Mustard Seed is proud to partner with Atlas Global Travel to provide two affordable cruises to the Bahamas that give back to the community. By sailing on Carnival Cruise Line's Thanksgiving cruise aboard the Sensation or their Christmas cruise on the Ecstasy, you will not only have a vacation to remember, but a lasting gift to neighbors in need.

Proceeds from the travel bookings will give the Mustard Seed funds to provide household furnishings, running the gamut from beds and linens to couches, dinettes, and flatware, all items that are needed by the community and that are in desperately short supply. Bookings must be made by mid-July, and can be arranged by calling Atlas Global Travel at (321) 800-6964.

"The need for services is so great in our communities, this gift is sorely needed to support the hundreds of people we serve with furniture and clothing each month," said Jim Cundiff, Interim Executive with the Mustard Seed of Central Florida.

With this deal, travelers who book through Atlas Global Travel to sail on Carnival's Thanksgiving cruise will be donating $5 per person per day up to a maximum donation of $30 per cabin, with Carnival's Christmas cruise garnering $5 per person per day up to a maximum donation of $50 per cabin. Both ships belong to Carnival's Fantasy class, meaning both feature outstanding amenities that include a miniature golf course, live entertainment, children's water park area, and more for the trip of a lifetime. Give back and give yourself a vacation--book a cruise now!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mattress Recycling

One of the Mustard Seed’s biggest sustainability projects is its mattress recycling program. Mattresses are a large burden on the waste stream, leading cities to consider creating guidelines for mattress disposal. . Aside from the vast space they consume, they can be dangerous to trash compactors and landfills because of the air pockets they can contain that may catch fire.

A leading idea comes from Canada—the city of Vancouver banned mattresses from being picked up by garbage collectors at the beginning of 2011. reports that the amount of mattresses and box springs recycled in the first eight months of the ban could be stacked to tower one and half times the height of Mount Everest. I know that sounds like an exaggerated telling of The Princess and the Pea, but it’s both true and amazing how much waste was repurposed in a single city.
Hard at work stripping a mattress

Mattress recycling doesn’t just save worthwhile materials from the dump, however; it also provides jobs, as the mattresses must be sliced open by workers to pull out the valuable steel, foam, Dacron, and cotton. We have three mattress-recycling employees working right in our location at 12 Mustard Seed Lane in Orlando. The Mustard Seed has personally recycled enough mattresses to cover two football fields, which is one small step for recycling, but one giant bed for one person! We can pick them up from your home or business, and will merely ask for a donation to go towards gas and maintenance for our trucks. If you would call us at 407-875-2040 we’ll help you recycle your mattress today!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Volunteering for the homeless: The stories that bring us

Volunteering to help out with the homeless is something that seems to come from a different place with each individual who lends their time. Some may have been directly affected by homelessness, whether it be a family member or friend of theirs that’s endured tough times. Some others simply volunteer their time because they want to help in society.  It’s worthwhile in realizing that not only are there great stories within a volunteer’s reason for giving time, but also sometimes within the items that are donated to the cause.

Personally, of the times I’ve volunteered throughout college and given some items in for the benefit of others, there was a great reasoning behind every one of them. Aside from just looking to fulfill and give back, a family experience had always been a prime reason why volunteering was so important, especially with the homeless and underprivileged.

 There can sometimes be no greater force in the process of volunteering than a personal or family experience. When something like this happens at a relatively young age, which it did for me, it can add perspective to the care free life of a teenager. In my family, it was a cousin who had encountered mistakes, allowing me to see that sometimes forces aren’t in your favor and that every bit of help can be crucial for those in need.

It’s also good to remember that there doesn’t need to be a personal experience to go on and have a great effect. The internet allows many of us to take in stories of homelessness and realize what help can add to some situations. A great example of this is with the recent CBS story done in the area, which went in depth with children and families who are without Orlando apartments and homes. Seeing some of these stories can put giving wheels into motion.

In 2011, we count our blessings that there are so many organizations that are dedicated to giving, with the homeless and underprivileged, as well as numerous others who have hindered opportunity. In the end, it’s crucial to remember the stories which bring the desire to give, as well as the stories that can be developed through volunteering. 

-Guest Blogger Meghan Preston

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Seed Boutique

One of the lesser-known facets of the Mustard Seed is the Seed Boutique, our store that contains thousands of donated items for purchase. Everyone is welcome to come in and benefit from our great prices and wonderful products. The cost of each item—of which the most expensive is our suit jackets at $7—goes towards running the day-to-day charity operations of the Mustard Seed.

Lots of great clothes and accessories are available every weekday

The Seed Boutique is open daily from 9 am to 4:30 pm at our warehouse, located at 12 Mustard Seed Lane in Orlando. There you’ll meet Raelynn, our retail supervisor. Besides the day-to-day of moving inventory in and ringing up customers, she enjoys talking to everyone who comes in, and wants all customers to have a great time when visiting. She loves talking to customers, and truly hopes they enjoy themselves when there; she says, “I hope they get clothes, but I also hope they get something more.”

A great assortment of shoes nearly outnumbers the places to put them

The Seed Boutique’s Clothing Program offers particularly needy individuals  the ability to get clothes at an even further reduced rate. Twice a month, families and individuals that have signed up to be a part of the program pay $12 (for adults), $5 (for children) or $7 (for seniors) to shop in The Seed Boutique for 3 tops, 3 bottoms, shoes and undergarments/accessories.

A rainbow assortment of t-shirts line the wall

Often seen on the retail floor is Jackie, who spends time deciding what is placed in the store and arranging clothes to make everything accessible, easy-to-find, and attractive. She helps everyone find what they need, remembering customers by what they seek, and making sure that if their needs weren’t met on one particular visit, they certainly will be on the next. She tries her best to hold up her claim that she “Can find what anyone is looking for, no matter of size or color.” Jackie is also planning a Seed Boutique “Re-fashion Show” to promote the variety and quality of what’s available.

Regardless of your age or size, the Seed Boutique has what you are looking for. A particular specialty is children’s clothing, which ranges from 25 cents to $1, providing an extremely affordable solution for those in need. There’s truly something for everyone at the Seed Boutique; check back for pictures of our special items and new arrivals!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Donations in 2011: More than Just Clothing

With many people being in need these days, donations are more crucial than ever to the underprivileged. Families have experienced tragedy and loss, especially with the economic collapse in recent years, leaving them without many of the everyday items we overlook. While many are only familiar with common donations such as clothing, there are a number of different household items that can serve to help those who aren't fortunate enough to have an endless amount of furniture and appliances at home.

As evident by television programs such as “Hoarders,” many people seem to have separation anxiety or just simply don’t think to donate some of their own possessions. Most of us gather different pieces of appliances, furniture and household items over time. As we age and move over the course of the years, we often acquire new pieces of furniture to keep up with what is either trending or looks good in an individual dwelling. So many pieces of furniture and unused appliances continue to stack up in storage spaces throughout the country. A simple afternoon to sort through some unused items at home could provide an underprivileged family with some useful items in an Orlando apartment or home.

Many people know the location of different clothing banks in their local communities and hometowns, however locating furniture and clothing bank that recycles is a little rarer. The Mustard Seed of Central Florida, recycles on site as well as, deconstructs and breaks down mattresses and box springs for proper disposal and recycling. Luckily, there are some great options for furniture and appliance donations in cities such as Orlando. Also, many of these donation options offer pickups for large items, usually for a small monetary donation.

Some of the more useful items in furniture donation include living room items such as sofas and couches, as well as tables and chairs. Perhaps the most crucial donation item, at least in furniture is a good bed. Having a good bed and place to sleep at home is one of the primary goals of helping the underprivileged.

The Mustard Seed can also stand to receive appliances that have either been replaced or simply aren’t used as much around the house. Appliances that are in working condition, such as a good microwave or toaster. Also, the underprivileged can serve to benefit from receiving household items such as linens, dinnerware and d├ęcor as well.

Some of the great items that are often overlooked in the giving process are entertainment items such as books and toys. While some children are fortunate enough to receive new items every once and a while, many others are forced to play with some of the same toys and are unable to get new reading material. Giving some of these items to the Mustard Seed could help bring some more joy to children in areas such as Central Florida.

In all, donations stem far beyond just clothes. In the end, it’s always good to go through some of the stuff you don’t use often to get an idea if it can either be donated or recycled. By doing so, you can either help create some more space for yourself at home, contribute to recycling and caring for the earth, or put some valuable items into the hands of the underprivileged.

--Guest Blogger, Meghan Preston

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Strange Recycling Items

I will admit it, before working at The Mustard Seed, I knew very little about recycling. My mom was always good about recycling when our neighborhood started a pick up program but the only items that were picked up were paper, cardboard, and bottles. Now be truthful for a second, how many of you really know other items you can recycle besides these three basic items, I did know any others.

The idea behind this week's blog is to inform all of you of some items you would never think to recycle but can. Let's make a fun game out of this, I will describe items and you can guess what it is. All the answers are at the end, so try to not cheat.

Item number 1: This item allows you access to things you do not trust to be left alone. This item always seems to be hard to find when it is raining or when you are in a hurry. There is usually one of these in your house that you do not know where it is supposed to work for.

Item number 2: This item is small and round. If you loss this item, you maybe searching for it in frustration while your friends laugh at you. This item is used for leisure and by professionals.

Item number 3: This item means you are the best, it is shiny. This item has cause friendships to be formed and broken, fights and hugs, honor and jealously. At any age we want this item.

Item number 4: For this item, grass is always greener on the other side. Stress can cause this item to disappear and change color. Millions of dollars a year go into making this item perfect.

Item number 5: This item keeps us warm and has gone through many changes through the years in both style and color. This item can cause you to wiggle, stride, and barely breathe.

Item number 6: When we use this item, we tend to go all out. This item may not cost that much but will cost much more money when used. If you leave this item up longer then normal, you may look tacky.

Item number 7: This item always gets tangled up. We always seem to have millions of this item when we do not need it, but when we do, there never seems to be enough. This item is used to make a messy room clean.

Item number 8: This item used to be used all the time, but now many young people do not know how to use it. This item knows everyone.

Item number 9: This item can make people instantly hot. People travel great distances with this item in search of something perfect. Watch out cause this item can cause you to look like something else.

Item number 10: This item is found in places all over your house and you do not know how it got there. This item is loved when used but thought of as gross afterwards.

Did you guess what they all are?


2.Golf Balls



5.Blue Jeans

6.Christmas Lights

7.Metal Hangers

8.Phone Books


10.Cotton Swabs

Check with your local area recycling plant to find out further details about how to recycle these items and what they are used for when recycled. With this knowledge you can proudly say you know more then most people about recycling.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Electronic Fad

Pause for one second and think about the number of electronics you are currently using. I am currently using the computer and listening to my iPod, which is a surprisingly small number of electronics I am using. Most of the time we find ourselves using our phone, on the computer, and listening to music and/or watching TV all at the same time, and on these individual electronic devices we will be doing multiple things, I have three tabs open on my computer right now and under some tabs there are even more tabs open.

This dependence on electric devices sounds exhausting, but most of us are unable to even go a day without using some sort of electric device. I constantly have my phone within reach, in case of an "emergency", but truthfully I am 20, I do not have anyone who need to ask me questions after work hours, I do not have kids, I do not own a house, I do not have a spouse, the chances of me having an "emergency" are very slim. The real truth of why most of us cannot handle being separated from our electronics is the thrill of them. We can go from being bored to having a thousand things to entertain you with one device.

Now I do not want to get into the debate about how the new generations are doing poorly because they need electronics at all time, but I simply want to establish that people now need these devices and that is going to cause change. I am one of the Event and Marketing interns here at The Mustard Seed, and although I have done some print marketing most of the marketing I do now is online. It is amazing how specific marketing is sent to target audiences. My boyfriend and I recently broke up and immediately I had ads on Facebook for dating sites and before the break up Facebook was giving me ads for wedding related stuff. It was shocking how quickly Facebook realized I needed to be placed in a different demographic, it was even before I had told everyone about the break up. I wanted to tell Facebook that it had only been a few hours, I am not ready to starting dating again, and I seriously doubt I will meet that gorgeous guy you are advertising for your site. If some of you have not seen how quickly Facebook will market their ads towards you likes, change or add an interest on your page and immediately you will start getting ads relating to that interest.

So we know this addition to electronic is not going to go away ever unless some new exciting thing comes out that will replace having electronics around all the time, so what do we do? We might as well roll with the flow and use it to our advantage. Learn how to get the most use out of them, social media can be a great way to keep up with companies you like, to do research, and keep up with old bosses who can give you a great reference. Here at The Mustard Seed, we are trying to gear more of our information towards our audience, if you would like to help us do this, please take our survey at . If you have a business, you can use social media like we do to get your message out to the public more, and now people we have never met can see our message. Being addicted to electronic devices may have so down falls, but it is like a magic carpet, we can now see and learn about things that before we would not have access to unless we were there. People can now see live streams of an event as it is happening, allowing us to feel like we are a part of that moment, great distances no longer stop people.

And for those of you whose friends and family refuse to accept this new additions, well just pretend that they will be able to not become one of those people who are not addicted. My dad says when he retires, he wants to spend a month without his cell phone, and well this freaked me out. I asked him what if I need to get a hold of him; his response was "well you can get a hold of someone else who will be able to get a hold of me". I giggled inside when he told me this because I knew it would probably only last a few days. It is a great idea and probably would make him less stressed but everyone else will probably be so annoyed because they cannot get a hold of him or that they have to constantly relay messages back to him, that it will not be possible to last a whole month.

So my closing thoughts on the subject, if something is there that will help you advance in a healthy legal way, use it but try to not become addicted because you usually waste a lot of time using electronics when you should be doing something else. I wish all of use luck when the new fad comes out, and hopefully we can adapt to it and not refuse to use the new innovation because we do not understand it or how it is helpful.