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Today two of us donated time at our local human society. We started by painting the caging which will be an ongoing project. We also played with all the dogs and observed 3 adoptions while we were there. What a great experience! This is a project we will continue to do when any of our members have spare time, we will clean, paint, carpentry and interact with the visitors, staff and of course the animals!!
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We prepared a meal of homemade chili, cornbread, salad and brownies for local homeless families. The kids prepared the meal, served and joined the families in dinner and a movie. We sponsored an evening that the local churches in Ojai offer to the homeless in winter. Each church provides a meal and shelter one night a week, so the homeless have somewhere to go every night during the winter months. This is our third year participating.
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We ordered "Beads for Life" bracelets from the Roots & Shoots website and sold them at three local events: a school holiday craft fair, a contra-dance concert, and a Irish dancing concert. We've sold all of the bracelets within a week. They are beautiful and easy to sell!
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Our group, at its first meeting discussed the problems within our town. We learned about the homeless situation and of families who would go without at Christmas time. We decided to start a school wide campaign to collect tarps, blankets, hats, gloves, socks and scarves for the homeless people and donate them to a local shelter. We will do this through the end of January or February. Our group leader also contacted a women's shelter in the community and found a family we could adopt for Christmas. She was able to find a small family that had just moved out of the shelter and was starting on their own. We all went out and purchased gifts for the family and will deliver them before Christmas. We also made Christmas cards for a Nursing Home.
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The Tomah High School Roots & Shoots club held their 4th Annual Holiday Pet Food Drive for the Monroe County Animal Shelter. Since its start, we have raised over 2500 pounds of pet food and medications for the local animal shelter. This year we raised another 1000 pounds of food for them.
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We made Stone Soup from vegetables brought in by the children. The soup was taken to a local shelter for homeless families. Our high school youth led the younger children and helped them cut the vegetables and make the soup.
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The high school youth solicited donations for sample size toiletries from our congregation. They helped the younger children to put these into kits to be donated to flood victims in our state.
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There is currently a project sponsored by the Norwalk River Watershed Association on Schenk's island, a town park area in Wilton, CT, which aims to restore the space to all native wildlife and help the island resemble the way it was before European settlers arrived. Our group decided to help and we were asked to remove bittersweet vines for four weeks in October. Asian bittersweet is an invasive vine that destroys natural American ecosystems by strangling trees and taking up available soil space. We used vine clippers to remove vines growing straight out of the ground and constricting trees. The massive networks of roots make the plant difficult to eradicate completely, but we were able to uproot some. We then dragged the severed vines to a large pile, which was later burned. The results were noticeable almost immediately; dead vines could be seen hanging in trees. We will continue work this spring and next year in an attempt to rid the several acres area of bittersweet. We have also been named the river rangers for this area that has the Norwalk River running through it. That responsibility involves keeping the river clear of garbage and monitoring it's health and condition for the Watershed Association. We will maintain the river through Shencks Island on an on-going basis.
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We held a bake sale in front of our local grocery store, the Village Market, to raise money for the Lamu Marine Conservation Project. This project, through the large organization TUSK, aims to protect nesting grounds of critically endangered sea turtles on the Kenyan islands of Lamu and Manda and educate local communities about marine conservation. The group pays the islanders who formerly dug up and sold the turtle eggs to, instead, protect the eggs from other poachers. Also, if fishermen accidentally catch the turtles, they can bring them to the group and be paid more for them than they would get in the open market for the turtle shells and meat. Then the group releases the turtles. For the bake sale, we all brought home-baked goods and sold them in front of the store. We also had literature available about the charity and answered people's questions. This project simultaneously spread awareness and raised money.
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Making affordable cloth grocery bags out of recycled material. I asked the local grocery store owner if we could set up a table to sell the bags we made. The sale was on America Recycles Day. We made 30 bags and sold more than half in the first 20 mins. The rest were sold in two hours. We were inspired by the positive reaction from so many people and the interest in recycling other things. We are members of a group that is working to create a recycling center in our town. We included a list of ways to recycle many things in our town. People stop us and ask if they can buy bags, so we are going to make another batch. The money made in this project is in a fund for the Save The Whales Again Foundation. We're hoping to raise a few hundred dollars next time.

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