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 http://ow.ly/5Jm3c . 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.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Harry Potter

Good morning to you and your families on this glorious Harry Potter Thursday! As I am an avid all-things-Harry-Potter fan, I hope you know that tonight is the midnight premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows Part 2. Tonight wraps it all up. After a decade of books, theme parks, collectible items, and movies, tonight ends the saga of Harry Potter. AND I’M SO EXCITED! Maybe you can tell how much I enjoy Harry Potter, but words cannot capture my enthusiasm. Perhaps a brief anecdote to capture the words that elude me: Here at The Mustard Seed I often talk about Harry Potter during lunch, and volunteers and employees share stories about visiting Harry Potter World at Universal Studios, which I have yet to do (I have to save some Harry Potter magic for after the movies come out, and I’m in withdrawal!). But in all sincerity, I feel as though our generation grew up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione as they tackled the problems that faced Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. However, one reason I feel as though I grew up with them, is the sage Dumbledore and his wise sayings that always seem to wrap the story up perfectly and teach a lesson to the trio and the readers. My personal favorite is when he says, "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." And after this lengthy introduction to my blog, I’d like to focus on choices today in this entry.

I think Dumbledore was trying to say that every choice determines who we are because of why we chose that option. Each choice reflects years of parental influences, influences of mentors like teachers, influences of any traditions or beliefs, influences of the media, and influences of Dumbledore. Each person’s choice is unique to him or her because that person is unique – that choice reflects their unique history and unique formation as a person.

What if you were deciding to donate to The Mustard Seed? Perhaps you would donate because you wanted to empty out that closet that you can’t seem to even step into anymore. Or perhaps you just got married and are upgrading mattresses to accommodate your new spouse. Or perhaps your child has outgrown the bed that he or she slept on. Or perhaps you have a personal connection to The Mustard Seed through volunteering or knowing someone who has been helped through our services. All of these situations result in you donating to The Mustard Seed, but why you donate – that’s your story which reflects your choices, influences, and ultimately who you “truly are,” according to Dumbledore. So in Christina’s Corner today, CHOOSE TO DONATE TODAY! (And choose to see Harry Potter J)

For your entertainment: The Harry Potter 7 Part 2 (HP7P2) trailer http://youtu.be/mObK5XD8udk

Friday, July 8, 2011


We never know how we would react in a frightening situation until we are actually put in that situation. We all hope we have the courage to act and not just sit and wait for someone to rescue us.

A person does not have to be a soldier to have courage. A child has courage when he stands up to a bully. A person has courage when they do not join a gang and instead study so they can have a better life later on. A newly divorced mother has courage when she goes back into the workforce to support her kids.

Sometimes we are too quick to judge people as weak and do not realize how hard they are struggling to stand strong. Nobody knows all the daily battles a person faces. If you continue to point fingers instead of taking that courage to change the situation then change will never happen.

I wish we all had the courage of dogs. We have seen many headlines of man's best friend saving his family from life threatening situations like fires or medical problems. The dog acts instead of running away or hoping someone else will handle the situation. Imagine how different the world would be if everyone had even the smallest amount of courage that a dog has. But we do not have the courage that dogs do because having courage is hard because the fear that arises when we try to step into the unknown.

Everyday we have people who come into The Mustard Seed because they conquered fear with courage, and people judge them instead of seeing their strength. The truth of the matter is, they are changing the world by changing themselves, and the people judging them are stagnant.

Lets all make a new goal for ourselves, lets face fear everyday and instead of taking the easy way out, stand up for what is right. This is going to be difficult because it is always easier to do wrong then to do right but when we die, we do not want to wish we had done things differently.

I want to leave all of you today with a quote by Mary Anne Radmacher "Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow," take everday as an opportunity to help yourself and others.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


“Hope you’re feeling better” “Gosh, I hope that works out.” Hope. Hope. Hope. But what is hope?

I recently read an article “The Optimism Bias” from Time Magazine that discussed the brain’s function in memory learning and the effects of optimism. The author defines the optimism bias as “the belief that the future will be better than the past and present.” While some may grow wary or develop a more pessimistic outlook, this article argues that optimism may be hardwired into our brains to help human beings evolve. We would not show progress if humans could not be optimistic because we would never take risks. We would be stuck in the caveman era afraid of the future and never pushing forward. Evolution is aided by optimism, a possibility at imagining a better future.

While optimism may be hardwired into our brains, in my opinion hope and optimism are closely linked. Without hope, traditionally defined as believing that what we want is attainable, people would never try. It is important to keep hope alive alongside optimism, and here at The Mustard Seed, our walls are filled from top to bottom, left to right, diagonal to diagonal with hope. Hope for a green, sustainable future. Hope for fully furnished homes. Hope for you. Hope for me. Hope for us.

This hope is sustained with donations, so please remember to donate your unused mattresses and old furniture. Christina’s Corner #2: Donate! You will renew hope and receive a tax deduction. Besides, we are all biased towards optimism, right?

Referenced article available here: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2074067,00.html

Friday, June 24, 2011


Change…most people hate it but what if we have no choice but to encounter change? I recently have been going through many changes in my life these last two months that I did not expect to happen to me. We all have been through change, most change you know when they are going to happen like leaving for college, allowing us to adjust for them before the moment when your life completely changes.

We all wonder when change occurs whether it will be for the best. I have been wondering what my summer would have been like if my dramatic change did not happen, what would I be doing in this parallel universe? It is kind of like the Butterfly Effect, a theory created by Edward Lorenz. The theory is if we change a minor detail, what the consequences would be. Like if I did not get this internship this summer, I would probably be laying out by the pool all summer long working on getting that perfect summer tan. I think most of us hate change because the fear of the unknown and whether we will be able to climb that hill that lies ahead of us. And some days, it seems like we will never make it over that hill. I have had a lot of those days this summer, but when I reach that point and starting to turn around, I see a friend extend their hand to me and help me start back up the hill again. The Mustard Seed of Central Florida is that friend for so many families and individuals in the community. When that hill seems like it just grew another 100 feet, the Mustard Seed opens its doors and offers that friendly helping hand. Here at the Mustard Seed it is our mission to help families recover from tragedies and with our help they are given a boost up that hill so hopefully they will conquer any change in their life.

So like I said the major change in my life happened two months ago, and at the time I thought nothing good could come from it. Now that time has pasted, I have become a stronger and more independent person. I am almost over that hill, and I know there will still be days where I wonder what my life would have been like but that is expected and that is when I will find that helping hand reaching out to help me. I found this quote by Maria Robinson that will hopefully help anyone going through a change nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.We all grow and learn from change, so do not try resisting the change, just go with it and do not be afraid to ask for the helping hand if you need it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer Vacation

We all know what this time of year means, school is out. Days for people who have begun summer vacation consist of, waking up at 12 pm, then walking around the house in those embarrassing pajamas of yours that you would never let anyone but your pet see you in for hours while constantly opening the fridge and hoping to find that perfect snack, then once that snack is found, you migrate toward the couch and start to watch mind numbing shows for what seems like 10minutes, but then you realize as your parents get home that you actually watched TV for 4 hours that day.

What summer vacation means for parents is, getting home from a long day at work and seeing a trail of trash from your lovely child then after putting away all the items they have consumed that day, finding this loud snoozing lump on your couch. You gain the courage to awake the beast from its slumber, only to find your kid who somehow is still tired after sleeping for 12 hours that day. After forcing the beast off your couch to go and do something productive, you see your couch seems to have a permanent dent in it from where the beast had been all day.

Does this seem like a problem you face every summer? Well do not fear we can turn that couch bum into that active child of yours you used to know. Here at the Mustard Seed of Central Florida, we are always in need of volunteers, and there is no better way to ride the beast on the couch than to put them to work helping others. Your child probably needs the hours anyways, for things like bright futures or graduation. We must warn you of the side effect of having your child volunteer with us over the summer, they consist of: a clean house, a full fridge, and no longer having to listen to your child say “I am bored” after getting home from a long work day. So send your couch potato over to the Mustard Seed of Central Florida this summer, we will gladly take them off your hands.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Reduce, Reuse, RECYCLE!

As this beautiful morning sets in, I begin my day of my third week as an intern at The Mustard Seed of Central Florida! On this particular morning I can hear the furniture movement in the warehouse, the telephones ring, and the diligent computer key strokes in the office. To my right is my morning beverage in a recyclable container, which brings me to a segment I like to call Christina’s Corner. For my first segment, I’d like to talk about one of the many new things that I have learned since starting work at The Mustard Seed: recycling! Before my first day here, I knew recycling as the bin next to the trash, but since Mustard Seed has taken on such a green initiative in the office and the mattress recycling program, my eyes have been opened to the world of recycling unknown to me before.

Christina’s Corner #1: Each item that can be recycled has a “recycling code” on it, and it is a number found in the middle of the universal symbol.

For plastics, the numbers range from 1 to 9 with 1 being the most recycle friendly plastic. An example of category 1 is the soft drink bottle perhaps within your arms reach right now – as is mine. Examples of category 9 plastics include computer plastics, cell phones, and many more. Some recycling facilities, like the Mustard Seed, recycle based on these categories!

The Mustard Seed also collects unusable mattresses and breaks them down into various recyclable parts to divert the matter away from the landfills. Bring your used mattresses to us because either the mattress will go to a family or the mattress will avoid a landfill! As Lindsay previously posted, that's a win-win situation!

As I conclude my introductory blog, I hope that this has served as awareness for the recycling lingo and practices and maybe an incentive to move some of the mattresses out of the garage and down to our warehouse!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Powershift 2011 Story

Where do I even start!? I guess I'll start where it all began...

Once upon a time there was an awesome club at UCF, it was called I.D.E.A.S.
Within this club were driven, dedicated individuals who fought day in and day out to bring positive environmental change across the land. One day, a messenger came to alert the environmental Knights (get it?) of the most magical and amazing opportunity--a grand ball in Washington DC where tens of thousands of like-minded individuals would gather to fight climate change!

Twas then time to find a chariot.
Up pulls the RunBus:

In the beginning, the RunBus was a cold, seat-less, barren world which would have surely driven these 32 students insane but because there was a magical force attracting each member of I.D.E.A.S. together in the quest to reach Powershift--a solution emerged.

In flies The Mustard Seed Fairy.

The Mustard Seed is known throughout the land as a healer, bringing hope to families and individuals who are ready to rebuild their lives. When she got word of the situation, she spread her fairy dust all along the floors of the run bus..we're talking mattresses people. Not-fit-for-families-in-need-but-perfect-for-making-a-30-hour-bus-ride-((for-32-students-and-their-luggage-)) comfy mattresses. Huzzuh!
With vegetable oil in the tank, mattresses on the floors, and the smell of french fries in the air, the old school bus and the students of I.D.E.A.S. set off to change the world

Lo Lesson #6:
I registered for PowerShift with the assumption that I would learn how to promote positive change in the community. Never had I imagined that this experience would create such positive change in my own life.

While in DC (and on the road) I found that there was a constant flow of positive energy--something that is pretty hard to come by these days. Somewhere along the way our society has shifted from a focus on community to a focus on self-- this forces neighbor against neighbor and consumer against environment. Who better to shift the paradigm than than today's youth? We are young yet we understand that Earth should be considered a home not a resource. So we will take what we learned at the convention center and use the inspiration we got at Powershift as fuel, to power this movement.
So what's the lesson here? there are wayyy too many to mention since i cant even wrap my head around this experience.
so i will leave you with this:
There's something about the glow of out-of-season Christmas lights and a sea of mattresses that makes a 30 hour bus ride seem okay. When you combine those two things with the sheer desire to create change and 32 positive attitudes you realize you wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

fill that void!

If you're like me than you probably find yourself (quite frequently) staring blankly into that gaping abyss of wasted space in your room, wondering what's missing. You've tried moving your bed, your desk, your chest, and your drawers. You've tried moving your lighting, pictures, paintings, and books. You've even tried filling that space with "projects" you're working on so you seem artsy or too busy to care about that pesky, unrelenting feeling that something is TERRIBLY and UNDENIABLY OFF in here!!!! You may have found reasons to avoid your room completely by joining various clubs, going on trips you can't afford, rocking climbing, or training for an 8k. If you find that the time you spend in your room is steadily decreasing and you are slowly but surely establishing permanent residence on your friends couch, you may have a problem. Luckily, we have the solution! On May 7, 2011 we will be hosting our Chairs for Charity 2011 fund raising event at the Sheraton in downtown Orlando. What's Chairs for Chairty you ask? Basically its the sweetest idea ever...

Local artists were asked to select a donated chair and use their creative abilities to turn them into B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L works of art. Wellll...the chairs are complete and they are AWESOME!! Please take the time to check them out and dont forget to vote on your favorite! (click the pic)

All the proceeds from these chairs will be donated to The Mustard Seed to support our efforts of helping families and individuals in need.

Just imagine.. owning a tangible reminder of the families you've helped anddd making your house look fabulous by filling that void! There is simply no better way to light up a room!

To find out more about Chairs for Chairty check out our website: http://www.mustardseedfla.org/upcoming_events.html

Thursday, March 31, 2011

National Volunteer Week 2011

At The Mustard Seed there are few things that we value more than unity, our volunteers, and the individual. So we are extremely excited for the week of April 10-16 when we will witness a nationwide movement of individuals push aside their aside differences for the sake of the community.

As we celebrate National Volunteer Week 2011, we hope that you will join us in our efforts to create a healthier society, a more clean environment, and a nation of altruism.

Alone you can make a difference, together we can change the world!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mattress Recycling = More Usable Mattresses for Families

So you recycle everything now?! Where do my donations go?!”

I get the question often so, in order to avoid any confusion: 
We recycle to fund our philanthropic programs. 
 Not the other way around 

And your beautiful gently used donations? They go to families in need in the Central Florida everyday! 

But for the dirty, un-usable items –ya know what? We can save those from the landfills.

Have you heard of win-win situations?
Because this is a perfect example….

If someone called to offer you 600 mattresses for Central Florida Families in need – would you turn them down? Previously, we would have to because 50% of them were un-usable and we had no way to manage a heap of 300 dirty mattresses.  Now with our mattress recycling program we can say an enthusiastic “Yes” to that call and provide 300 mattresses to our families and divert those dirty 300 mattresses from the landfill!

Let’s show them the scoreboard…
Community: 1 // Environment: 1
(okay - so maybe this looks like a tie – but isn’t a tie a win/win? J)

Mattresses are only the beginning of this recycling love-affair.  We now recycle: broken appliances & electronics, cardboard, paper, electronics, Styrofoam, & plastic bottles and the list goes on…

Want to learn more about our recycling efforts?
Why don’t you come celebrate with us?!
We would love to show you what we do!
Let’s Celebrate! Thursday 3.31.11 5:30P – 7:30P

12 Mustard Seed Lane Orlando, FL 32810 - Corner of Kennedy/Keller

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Spring Break...ahhh...the glorious week every student from kindergarten to graduate school yearns for. No worries, no waking up early, and most importantly NO CLASS! For most college students Spring Break serves as the ultimate excuse to throw inhibitions to the wind, bathing suits in an over packed suitcase, and savings out the window--all for the sake of a wild week in some far-off exotic location.
However, some of my collegiate peers decided to take the less tropical route and traveled great distances to spend their Spring Break in a warehouse. That's right, last week the good ole Mustard Seed welcomed 34 college students who devoted their Spring Breaks to helping those in need. Alternative Spring Break gives students the opportunity to step out of their comfort zones by traveling with a group of strangers to engage in daily volunteer work, learn about diverse communities, and live in unfamiliar conditions.

Our first group of students from the Office of Student Inolvement James Maddison University broke a Mustard Seed record by deconstructing 39 mattresses in only 3 hours! WOWZA!

That's a tough act to follow but when the second round of JMU students graced us with their presence they deconstructed a whopping 100 mattresses in 4 1/2 hours! What are they feeding these West Virginians? Pure rocket fuel!?

The 3rd group of Alternative Spring Breakers didn't put forth as much travel time to get here. But let's just say if volunteer efforts were measured in miles, on Monday our friends from the University of West Florida would have traveled from CA and back! Together they deconstructed 50 mattresses!

Aside from mattress deconstruction, last week's volunteers did wonders in the warehouse, dishroom, lenin room, and clothing department! They also compiled over 50 dish sets which will be offered to families when they come to pick up their furniture.
In closing, a personalized letter to each individual Alternative Spring Breaker
Dear (insert name,)
As you transition back into the dreaded almost-there-so-it-seems-like-summer-will-never-come-end-of-the-school-year grind, we hope that you will carry with you the memories you've made at The Mustard Seed. Your efforts have helped us, the local community, and the planet in more ways than you can imagine. Thank you so much for all of your hard work, we really do appreciate and admire the fact that you devoted your Spring Break to helping those in need!

The Mustard Seed
**Special thanks to Heart of Florida United Way for sending all of these awesome college students our way!!**

Monday, February 28, 2011

It's a dog eat dog world out there

Unfortnately, its also a dog beat dog world as pit bulls across the nation are bred and trained to fight one another for the sick entertainment and possible monetary gain of their owners. Obviously not all pit bulls fall into the hands of these types of individuals, but the dogs that do lead tragic and painful lives. After being starved and beated to harness their aggression, pit bulls are dragged into a pit where gladiator-like fights take place.

Luckily there is an organization in The Central Florida area that is taking a stand against this type of abuse by rescuing wounded pit bulls and spreading advocacy on the breed, proper training tactics, and the injustice of pit bull fighting rings.

When our Executive Director, Michelle Lyles, found a pitbull outside of The Mustard Seed warehouse she couldn't help but take him home. Sweetie Pie ((now Ali)) was clearly in need of some nurturing as he had a multitude of scars on his head. Unsure of what to do she contacted Central Florida Pit Bull Rescue .

Ali was then tested on his levels of temperment and food aggression--he passed both with flying colors! He was also very well mannered when introduced to an infant and elderly woman!! Unfortunately, when tested for heartworms the results were also positive. Ali has already suffered tremendously in his young life and now that he is in good hands, he desperately needs treatment for his heartworms. To donate please email Jennifer at CFLPitBullRescue@aol.com

We look forward to supporting Central Florida Pit Bull Rescue by providing them with donated blankets, crates, and pet supplies!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Clean the World + The Mustard Seed = B.F.F.

Volunteer UCF
set up a special day
for local nonprofits
who've got something to say.

Thus began the friendship
to stand up for those in need
between Clean the World
and the Mustard Seed

Stationed right beside me
with their coffee, dougnuts, and soap
was an awesome group of people
fighting to give kids hope.

I had no tasty treats
to entice my hungry peers
but I recieved free soap
to wash away my tears.

At this time I realized,
"These guys are legit!"
I asked them of their mission
to get involved with it.

Washing our hands often,
it may seem like no big deal.
But millions of little children
can't wash up before a meal.

How does one group deal
with such a dyer situation?
You'd need a ton of soap
for even the smallest nation!

Hotels, motels, and cruise lines
donate soap and shampoo.
Then it's cleaned and rebatched
for use by someone new.

Oh Clean the World,
saving lives by making suds.
You've helped over 7 million
wash away bad germs and muds.

I hope you liked your poem
it came straight from the heart.
Feel free to hang it in the office
its a priceless piece of art.


Let us join together
come this Saturday,
to endulge in some pizza
at a local CPK.

....dont forget that flyer!
(which can be found on our website or facebook)

Lo Lesson #6:

-the key to promoting your organization at a job or volunteer fair-
If you find yourself at a table promoting an organization and the neighboring organization has high-tech video footage, food, bevs, and free soap..do not feel discouraged. All of these exciting items will entice people and attract them to your general area. When they walk away feeling satisfied from their doughnuts and energized from their coffee (and excited to use their new soap) they will feel obligated to go to your table too! Yesterday I learned the real secret to success at a job or volunteer fair: strategically place yourself next to the organization with the most stuff, that way you get attention (for free) and you walk away with some free items yourself. Out of office supplies? Sit next to the table with free pens! Left your water bottle at home? You know what to do..

In all seriousness, Clean the World is an awesome organization and I hope we get the opportunity to work with them in the future!

**Special shoutout to Volunteer UCF!**

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

where the magic happens.

la poem de mattress
It ain't no bed of roses
we've heard that phrase before.
A mattress decomposes
in a thousand years or more.

Back in our warehouse
we deconstruct the beds,
that aren't fit for children
to sleep or lay their heads.

There are things within a mattress
like metal, foam, and wood.
All of these can be recycled
for the planet's greater good.

From sixty mattresses in one day
that we broke down and paired,
thirteen hundred cubic feet
of landfill space was spared.

On that old bed of yours
too many nights you've laid.
Donate it to The Mustard Seed
where the real magic's made.

Lo Lesson #5: Its always a good idea to write a cheesy poem. Not only will you find it easier to free-style in your next rap battle but you will also get your point across in an interesting way. A poem can make almost any situation more fun if you obey the following rules:

-Do not quit your job by writing your boss a poem.
-Do not write "Exams are no fun. BAM, I'm done" on your mid-term.
-Do not write obscene poems on bathroom stalls...its just weird.
-Do not get offended when your cat doesn't respond to your poetry.
-Do not get offended when people don't respond to your cat poetry.

Well here is one last hoorah before I go:
This blog was random-its true
but if you donate your mattress
we have a present for you!
A gift so unique,
you can't buy it in stores
I will write you a poem
that you may call yours!

Don't like my skills? We'll still take your old mattress!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Rough Times

This past week was really rough.
My friend and mentor called it a "growing week".

My beloved 20-year-old cousin passed away last weekend, due to a horrible car accident. It was difficult to deal with because she was such a loving and joy-filled girl. And so young. It came as a big shock. My family was not ready for something like this. Thankfully, we have wonderful friends and a strong community who were there for us. When we were feeling sad and lost, they helped coordinate the funeral, drive people around, cook meals, and most importantly, just be there for us. I can not imagine what my family would have done if we had nobody or no where to turn.
I know that it is times like these when we feel the true love that our family and friends have for us.
It is times like these when we realize how blessed we are.
It is times like these when we find who we truly are.

Reflecting back on this got me thinking about The Mustard Seed and what we do here everyday.

I love working at a place where people can come when they feel like they have nobody to turn to. At times when they are feeling low, we can help to lift them back up and help them get on their feet again. They come to us after very difficult struggles, tragedies, and hardships. Our clients come to us in their time of need and we do our best to take make sure they can keep moving forward. 
We provide comfy beds, kitchen tables, dressers, and warm blankets, but most importantly, we are here.
We are here when they cannot afford a bed for their little girl.
We are here when they are unable to get by on their own.
We are here to help them get through the rough times.

What would my family have done without our friends and community?
What would our clients do without us?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Working Together for a Better Tomorrow

howdy yall!

I don't know if everyone got the chance to catch the State of the Union Address last night but it was quite different from those that came before. Its not everyday that Republicans and Democrats sit side by side at such an event. And although opinions on issues may vary between parties, I for one believe that it was truly inspiring to see those differences pushed aside if even for a short while.

In an age of uncertainty and indifference one thing should remain clear:
as Americans (or humans rather,) we are all in this together.

Let the speech be a lesson to us all. Despite one's race, political party, socio-economic status, or religion we are all entitled to the same unalienable rights. For this reason we should take every opportunity we are given to help out the less fortunate, even if it means stepping out of our precious little comfort zones.

Lo Lesson #4:

Everyone has their own political views and I'm not one to push mine on others. Whether or not you agree with last night's seating arrangement, I hope that you can agree with me on this: the well-being of your neighbor directly affects that of your own. It might seem like a daunting task to work with those who think differently than you but try it and the outcome could be beautiful. As the wise, extremely talented, and awesome in everyway (who just so happens to be my heart's one desire..besides Bradley Cooper..) Dave Matthews once sang:

"To change the world, start with one step. However small, first step is hardest of all."

Let's work together to make this world a better place.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day ON or day OFF?!

I'm talking about MLK day.
How did you remember and celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr?
It's amazing what happens when you choose to have a
day ON rather than a day OFF!

Oh yeah... before I go off on a tangent about how awesome the volunteers in the Central Florida Community are, let me introduce myself. I'm Lindsay, I'm a Public Ally and the Public Relations Coordinator here at the Mustard Seed of Central Florida. Aka - I guess you could say I'm Lauren and Laura's "boss" & the girl who picked 2 interns with almost the same name! I put "boss" in quotes because they really don't need one - they are amazing and making a HUGE difference here at The Mustard Seed!

Back to Dr. King & Service...
This year I celebrated the Holiday ON and I couldn't be happier about it!

On Saturday, Public Allies of Central Florida volunteered with Hands On Orlando at Grand Ave Elementary School in Orlando, FL. We built benches, landscaped, and cleaned classrooms. We were very lucky to not only participate in a service event together as allies but also work along side dedicated volunteers from the Central Florida Community. I only wished we could have see the student’s faces Monday morning when they arrived to school.

“Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

On Monday, at The Mustard Seed we had a group of Hands On Orlando volunteers assist us in three areas of our warehouse. Drum roll please....They sorted, organized and relocated 2,650 lbs of clothing, linen, and household items! Yup, thats over a TON (literally a TON) sorted and organized for the over 100 families that visit The Mustard Seed of Central Florida each month!

Thank you to everyone who volunteered -
You are an amazing inspiration!

These 2 events are only a small sample of the impact volunteers had on MLK day in the Central Florida Communtiy. It’s amazing what a dedicated group of people can accomplish by deciding to have a day ON, instead of a day off.

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is,
'What are you doing for others?' "
— Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Helping those Outside the Central Florida Community

...i'm backkkk!

Last week I embarked on an adventure to Biloxi, Mississippi with 28 of the most awesome, good-hearted, and hilarious people I know.

Collegiate Challenge: (noun) 1. a trip lasting one week during which Habitat for HumanityUCF members challenge themselves by traveling a minimum of 8 hours on a bus, waking up before sunrise everyday to do manual labor, and most importantly put aside their own interests to help those in need 2. the ultimate bonding experience.

It has been nearly 6 years since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, yet the way it affected both the coastal infrastructure and the lives of those who call these shores home is still incredibly apparent. While sharing their stories, members of the community all referenced periods of their lives as "before (or) after the storm" as if Katrina was a common life experience like graduating from high school or getting your first car. Although Katrina brought extreme deprivation to this area, the unity between members of the community is astonishing and its something we will never truly be able to comprehend.

The houses our group worked on were set on stilts to minimize potential flood damages from future storms. Working at such great heights was a challenging first for many of the us on this trip, but at the same time it made our accomplishments seem even greater!



As Treasurer of HabitatUCF this was my 4th Collegiate Challenge. Although each experience and location has been different, its safe to say that our journey to Mississippi changed my life in ways that are pretty much indescribable. As one of the leaders of this trip, I not only had to look out for my own fun and safety but also the well being of what I consider now to be 28 of my closest friends. It was beautiful to see how much relationships and outlooks on life can change over the course of one week.

My welcome back from The Mustard Seed... 300 mattresses to unload andddd...


Lo Lesson 3:

What Tim the Tool Man Taylor never told us:

If you think it is a good idea to get crafty with a table saw, think again. The piece of wood you are trying to cut a little triangle out of (to give to your site leader as a gift) may be too short for you to "steady" without sawing off your fingers. This is simply because you are not only steadying the wood you are also holding it down so it doesn't shoot off at the speed of light in the direction your closest friend (just like you would see on an episode of Tool Time.)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Truth

Ok, I just have to put this out there. I. Love. Working. Here.
Why you ask? Well, I got a few reasons.

1.  We change lives. Everyday.

2. We have calendars with sweet holidays on them. Like Bubble Bath Day - which is Saturday the 8th, by the way. And then there's National Peanut Brittle Day, International Sword Swallower's Day, and Hug an Australian Day.  

3. I really like all the people I work with.
I have never seen two people more dedicated to their work than Michelle and Jennifer, our Executive Director and Director of Operations, respectively. They are so loving and so passionate about the success of The Mustard Seed. They are always willing to go the extra mile, whether that means staying late, unloading a truck of mattresses, or cleaning the toilet. It is truly inspirational to know these ladies and to be around them throughout the week.

4. They got me my very own business cards! I feel like a real live grown-up!

5. I'm learning a lot. I have been in college for 2 1/2 years and , don't get me wrong, you learn some good stuff, but once you get into the real world and put it all into practice you really start learning. You find out what works and what doesn't. You have victories and struggles. And just like any experience in life, you learn a lot about you.

Oh, and P.S. - Don't forget to take a nice long bubble bath on Saturday!