National S’Mores Day!

Hi everyone! Just discovered it is National S’Mores Day-who knew!?! But since it is, and I know you always love a quick sweet treat, I thought I would re-publish my Yummy Popcorn S’Mores recipe. It’s easy, quick and you don’t even need a campfire, just some marshmallows, chocolate and popcorn. It makes a ton, and it’s absolutely so scrumptious- handful after handful after handful-enjoy!

Smores Popcorn Trays

https://countrydesignhome.com/2013/07/19/yummy-smores-without-the-campfire/

Have a yummy Saturday everyone…Susan

Mainely Antique Attractions

Recently, Coach and I spent a few days in Maine at the Bethel Inn and Resort for a little R & R. On our way there, we stopped at the Undercover Flea Market in Oxford Maine

Undercover Flea Market

(they don’t appear to have an internet presence, so no direct link. Ah, so maybe they are really undercover…) Thought long and hard about this table, but decided against it-too pricy to paint and flip.

Table

While in Bethel, we discovered not much going on downtown, so we ventured out to find some antique shops in the area that were listed in several brochures he had picked up at the visitors center. The Steam Mill Antiques

Steam Mill Collectibles

was right around the corner from our hotel. Looked promising, with a vast array of junk and stuff all around the property. We visited, several times, but it was never open! Will definitely have to return another time…Next stop, the Picker’s Paradise in Welchville (again, no links here).

Pickers Paradise Sign

We were drawn in by the beautiful Great Canadian wood canoe in the parking lot.

Pickers Paradise Canoe

Inside was a variety of antiques and collectibles. Wishing I had grabbed this chubby old cow doorstop. I often experience what I refer to as “non-buyer’s remorse.” I see something that I love, hem and haw about it, because I don’t need ONE MORE THING, so I leave it, then lust for it when I am back home. Oh, well.

Pickers Paradise Cow Doorstop

This shop featured several pieces that were reclaimed and repurposed, like this LOVE sign, created from old frame pieces and lace. LOVE.

Pickers Paradise LOVE

On our shopping expeditions, I noticed quite a few “Boston” items,

Pickers Paradise Boston Beans

which made me feel very nostalgic for the place we call home. Across the street was this shell of an old building, now being dismantled and sold for parts.

Burned Out Antiques Building

In year’s gone by it was the Welchville Methodist Church turned antique shop.

Burned Out Building Sign

But after being on the market for quite some time with no bites, the owner decided he could no longer afford the upkeep. So everything, including the bell tower,

Bell Tower is for sale. If you are in the market for some architectural salvage, this might be your place! Next up, Pa’s Tradin Company in Oxford, Maine.

Pa's Tradin Company Sign

…a huge co-op shop that was neatly organized into departments like furniture & outdoor gear-snowshoes, anyone?

Pa's Tradin Company Snowshoes and more Boston collectibles.

Melrose Crate

I did score a couple of great items, like this gorgeous cupboard (the vendor literally was loading it in the back door when I spotted it, and he and Coach moved it right back out the back door into my CRV!)

Pa's Tradin Company Cupboard

and my little buck (projects in progress : )

Pa's Tradin Company Buck

Drove by this place, Pic-N-Paw in Norway, Maine a couple of times, but again, it never was open! What’s up, Maine?!?

Pic N Paw

On our way home, we discovered Bridgton, Maine, a country town with some fun shops- again, many not open. But we did find Harry Barker’s Emporium and Harry Barker’s Two, antiques co-operative shops, with some donated items being sold to raise funds for the local Harvest Hills Animal Shelter.

Harry Barkers

There I found Exit, stage left.

Harry Barkers Exit Sign

Nearby was Flowerbed Farm Antiques in Bridgton. True to its name, there were exquisite, colorful flower beds surrounding the property. There are so many massive white homes in Maine with attached barns! Can you say barn envy?!

Flowerbed Farm Antiques Sign

Outside and in, an array of restored, repurposed and reclaimed items for your shopping pleasure.

Flowerbed Farm Entrance

Beautiful minty green bedroom set. Sooo country pretty!!

Flowerbed Farm Mint Green Set

Adorable rustic antique horse cart.

Flowerbed Farm Antiques Horse

Following Rte 302 South to Portland on our way home, we happened upon Naples, a picturesque resort town. And there we discovered Antique Revival. Again, no media presence, but this guy doesn’t need it. Sprawling property loaded with anything and everything you could possibly want or imagine you need!

Antique Revival Sign

A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

Antique Revival Entrance

Enormous, three story barn,

Antique Revival Two Story View

packed to the rafters-literally

Antique Revival Rafters

Greeted by the human-sized roosters at the entrance,

Antique Revival Rooster

once you step inside, you are transported back in time.

Antique Revival Boston Beans

Room after room of antiques and collectibles and junk,

Antique Revival 2nd Floor

an overwhelming assortment of furnishings, goods and finds.

Antique Revival Store

For the serious collector (may the Force be with you)

Antique Revival Star Wars

or the casual collectibles shopper,

Antique Revival Patches

this is one spot that’s worth the trip!  So I’m adding a few more pins to my map, and we’ll be heading out again soon. But for now, it’s good to be back home.

Boston Embroidery Print

Have a great weekend, everyone! And if you are in the mood for some antiques shopping overload, head up Rte. 302 to Maine.

Maine Map

It is so worth the trip. OK, it’s TGWB (time to go wallpaper the bathroom)… Susan 

Global Studies

Globes Multi Vector Jungle

Globes by Vector Jungle

Awhile ago, I wrote a blog post entitled “Map It Out”, showcasing ideas to utilize maps in your interior spaces. Now, since every shop I visit and every page I turn in decorating magazines features globes, all kinds and styles of globes, I figured it was time to round out my orbital perspective. In searching the web, I discovered quite a few DIY variations on the plain old circa 1930’s globe,

Globe B & W Corbis Images

Children and Globe by Corbis Images

and hundreds of ways to use them as your decorating inspiration. I love all of the smaller globes inside the table base, with the larger ones scattered outside. Escaped!

Globe Apartment Therapy

Global Vignette by Apartment Therapy

I discovered stand-alone globes that are painted

Globe 1st Dibs

Painted Globe by Rumba via 1st Dibs

and lighted (this one has DIY instructions…)

Globe Lamp DIY Suite 101

Globe Lamp DIY Suite 101

and chalkboarded too!

Globes Chalkboard Design Sponge

Chalkboard Globe Design Sponge

This child’s room becomes a bit more sophisticated using globes on the ornate mantel. Oh, the places you’ll go, little man!

Globes CorynnePless

Child’s Room Globe Mantel by Corynne Pless

I love taking room color inspiration from globes- the colors of the earth are so pretty!

Room by Jenny Mitchell

Button, button, whose got the button? Amazing!! I spotted this on Pinterest and I actually purchased a similar globe at-where else-HomeGoods, to try this button technique. Yeah, that didn’t happen.

Globes Button Art World of Designers

Button Art Globe by World of Designers

This organizing wall becomes a feature with maps and globes as the background.

From House to Cozy Home Blogspot

Take a look at these breathtaking hand-decorated globes by Wendy Gold on ImagineNations on Etsy.com.

Globes Wedding Etsy Wendy Gold Globes

Hand Decorated Globe by Wendy Gold

This Flower Power globe would be stunning in any interior!

Globes Flower Power Wendy Gold Etsy

Flower Power Globe by Wendy Gold

Globes, both old and new, are available in all sizes and colors. The muted tones in the space below blend perfectly with the vintage sepia globe tones.

Globe Oz Architects

Family Room by OzArchitects

Whereas, this colorful, eclectic space takes its cue from the multi-colored, more modern globe on the side table.

Globe Slicinteriors

Global Space by Slic Interiors

Just remember, you don’t have to be a world traveler to look like one! Just grab a globe, add some pins and you’re off on a virtual tour! Have a time-travelin’ Tuesday, everyone!

Flea Market Finds

                           This past weekend, Coach and I took a trip to the south shore on a flea market discovery mission. Gotta add more pins to my map.

Flea Market Map

We visited the Raynham Flea Market and the Cranberry Flea Market in Wareham, stopping at a few tag sales along the way.  So saddle up, you’re in for a ride!

flea saddle up

 First stop, the Raynham Flea Market at 480 South St West in Raynham.

Raynham Flea Flags

This huge market is primarily an indoor flea, with thousands of square feet of space lined with vendors booths, although there are a few “junk”tique sellers,

Raynham Flea Antiques

both indoors and out.

Raynham Flea Outdoor Vendors

If you are looking to furnish your man cave, this is one stop shopping for you! Wayne’s World Records awaits,

Raynham Flea Waynes World Records

as well as the $1 VHS tapes booth,

Raynham Flea VHS Tapes

baseball mementos

Raynham Flea Baseball

beer signs

Raynham Flea Sign

vintage liquor bottles

Raynham Flea Tbird

and even some cool liquor bottle lamps.

Raynham Flea Lamp Bottles

For the ladies, we have vacuum cleaner repairs,

Raynham Flea Vacuum Hoses

faux wooden roses

Raynham Flea Wood Roses

Pretty straw hats

Raynham Flea Hats

beads, lots of beads,

Raynham Flea Beads

and a huge selection of cheap curtains and drapes!

Raynham Flea Curtains

For the spiritual among you, I present this paranormal booth

Raynham Flea Spiritual Cave

and even a few psychic readers. (I wonder if they could have told me how much money I was going to spend?)

Raynham Flea Psychic

For the outdoorsman, there are fishing poles,

Raynham Flea Fishing

and rain slickers (could have used those at the ballpark the other night…)

Raynham Flea Slicker

Wrapping up in Raynham, on to the Cranberry Indoor Flea in Wareham on 3065 Cranberry Highway, Wareham, about 20 min south.

Cranberry Flea Sign

This was more our style, with upper and lower floors filled with rows of glassware,

Cranberry flea dishware

interesting antiques (could someone make a lamp out of this?!?)

cranberry flea scale

vintage jewelry

flea jewelry case

and bric-a-brac (for those of you not familiar with this term, from Wikipedia: “refers to lesser objets d’art forming collections of curios, such as elaborately decorated teacups and small vases, compositions of feathers or wax flowers under glass domes, decorated eggshells, porcelain figurines, painted miniatures or photographs in stand-up frames, and so on.”) Like this little statue of the dancing dude and lady.

cranberrry flea cribbage table

Flags for the Fourth…

cranberry flea flags

There were more than a few $1 tables, which I always enjoy, and loads of vintage furniture, art and accessories to choose from.

cranberry flea hutch

So, between the tag sales and the flea markets, we came away with quite an array of fabulous finds. Here is my “loot shoot” of the day!

flea market loot shoot

Some of these items will be making their way down to the Vintage Thymes Market, some of them are staying home with me ” ) Speaking of the Vintage Thymes, next Friday, August 9, there will be a one day clearance sale!! So if you were looking for something at the market but were hesitant about the price, now’s the time to go back and grab it!! My booth will be 50% off to clear the way for the fall merchandise. TGIF everyone!! Susan

Amazing Murals

I love it when something comes across my “in” box that instantly inspires me and gets my creative juices flowing! This morning, I received an email from this company : “Murals Your Way“. If you have ever longed for an instant change of scenery, without all of the packing and moving and traveling, this is your go-to. This company offers wall-sized murals of any type of art and photography you can imagine, including your very own! I love this view of sunrise on the dunes. Makes me want to grab a towel and head down to the ocean.

Mural Beach Sunrise

I started looking at all of the samples, 8000+, and instantly imagined these in my home- I am certain you will find yourself doing the same once you take a look.  Here are a few of my personal favorites (but there are hundreds to choose from, so don’t stop now- click here to go to the website and browse around.)Ever traveled to the Italian Riviera? No, me either. But I could imagine having a cup of espresso sitting on a veranda gazing at this sunset view of Manarola Italy

Mural Manarola Italy

I have never wanted to tag a bridge with graffiti, but I often admire the artwork displayed. You can add a touch of graffiti to your home without breaking any laws with this Home Sweet Home Mural…

Mural Home Sweet Home

Always longed for a view of the Eiffel Tower? Ooh, la, la!! I’ve seen lots of prints, but love this colorful pop art version, because it doesn’t take it too seriously.

Murals Paris

Imagining a trip to outer space? This Solar System 2 would be perfect for a budding astronaut’s room.

Mural Solar System 2

So soft and sweet- perfect for a bedroom or dressing room. Delicate Flowers

Mural Pink Floral Delicate

If you have a barn (like we do) but don’t actually live on a farm (like we don’t), here is your inspiration in Ready or Not

Mural Ready or Not

Imagine waking up to this view every morning? This is the Manitou Lighthouse in Michigan

Mural Manitou Lighthouse

Need an Instant Garden? Add a pop of color with Miami Blooms

Murals Poppy

And, if none of those inspire you, they can create a giant mural from your own photos!

Murals Make Your Own

And if you like the idea, but not sure how a mural would look in your home, this feature will seal the deal. You choose a mural, then you can build a virtual room, deciding on the style and size of the mural that fits with your furniture. Brilliant!

Mural Design A Room

Believe me, this website is a time-stealer like no other. You’ll find yourself transported to another era, another country, another world while browsing all of the photographs. The artwork is so striking and colorful, and Murals Your Way makes it simple to add drama and design to any room! So take a look, then tell me, what’s your favorite?!? Susan

Cleaning Copper Caper

This past weekend, I scored this beautiful copper coffee pot at an estate sale.

Copper Coffee Pot Before

It even had the cute little card inside, but that did not have any cleaning instructions inside.

Copper Pot Portugal

So once I brought it into the house, I decided to give it a quick wash just to remove the surface dust. Then I thought I might try to polish it up just a bit. Then I decided I liked the polished finish, so I kept cleaning. So first, I tried my trusty Cape Cod Metal Polish, which typically does the job with little effort, and a pleasant scent too.

Copper Cleaner Can

It was working, but that required a lot of elbow grease. So, I pulled out my Mr. Clean Dry Eraser Sponge.

Copper Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

That also worked, but I was still using a lot of elbow grease. And I am all about getting stuff done quickly and not using up all of my energy so that I can’t go tile the front hall or build a table top. So now I had dull coffee pot with shiny spots. My mom suggested salt and lemon juice-nope. So I went online to see if anyone else had come up with a non-elbow-grease solution to clean tarnished copper. Some guy on You Tube had created a magical formula from everyday kitchen items: salt, flour and white vinegar. So because everything you see on the internet is true, and I liked the idea of not using chemicals anyway, I decided to try it. Here is the recipe: Place 1 tsp salt and 3 tsp flour in a small bowl, then slowly add enough white vinegar to make a creamy paste. Looks good enough to eat, right?

Copper Salt and Flour

At first I added too much vinegar and it was watery, so I added another dose of the flour and salt. Bingo! Nice smooth paste, ready to make my copper pot shiny and new. The video said to pat it on the item with a rag-I used a moist sponge, but you get the idea, you want to coat the surface.

Copper Solution Sponged

Then allow it to sit for thirty minutes.

Copper Timer

Then rinse. No rubbing or buffing required!

Copper Rinse

In the video, his copper-clad saucepan came alive with pretty copper color-away old tarnish! In my kitchen sink, this technique was a big FAIL. No difference after I had rinsed, then rubbed, then rinsed again. Hmmm. So now I have a beautiful copper coffee pot that is shiny and bright in the middle of each side, but tarnished all around the bottom and tops.

Copper Pot Half Shined

So, thus far, this is the collection of stuff I have tried.

Copper cleaners

Anyone else have any bright ideas? Susan

Junk ‘n History

Over the past year, I have researched and blogged about so many topics, including some of my favorite DIY projects like my shutter slat table

Patio Set finished

Reclaimed Shutter Slat Table

and my preppy pin-striped whale coffee table

Whale Table with Eye

Preppy Pin-Striped Whale Table

and scrumptious recipes,

Smores Popcorn Trays

Yummy S’Mores Popcorn!

our travels, both at home

Maine Two Beers Please

Two Beers Please!

and abroad,

village laundry

Village Laundry Dominican Republic

and all kinds of fabulous country-style decorating ideas.

Summer Porch Country Design Home

But I have to say, of all the topics I have blogged about, vintage and flea markets, antique sales and auctions have won this recycled, repurposed, reloved girl’s heart! So, in order to share that love of junk and fabulous finds with all of you, I have created a special new category called Junk ‘n History. It appears in the left hand column of my blog home page. There you will find the links of many of my favorite blog posts featuring not only our fabulous finds at places like The Vintage Bazaar @ Pettengill Farm,

Chicken @ Vintage Bazaar

The Vintage Thymes Monthly Market @ WinSmith Mill Marketplace,

Vintage Thymes

The Elephant’s Trunk in Connecticut,

Flea Jaws

The Brimfield Antiques Show,

Brimfield Crash Test Dummy

and the SOWA Open Market in Boston,

SOWA Market

but also the story behind the story. I like to share where the market originated, who runs the place and what do they offer for the avid flea market junkie. From this day forward, I am making it my mission to find the best (and the worst-remember the hairy guy getting a massage-yuck!) of the flea marketing world. To date, Coach and I have travelled all around Massachusetts, as well as New Hampshire, Maine & Connecticut in search of the best places to find treasures and trinkets, but I am certain we have not even scratched the surface of the flea market world! So now, we need your help! We are hitting the road again in a couple of weeks,

Aqua Thunderbird

and are searching for new places to explore and share with you! This time around, we are heading out by auto, so we are sticking to the Eastern part of the US. If you have a great flea market or antiques co-op in your area, or even a cute little town where there are lots of shops to browse in, drop me an email @ countrydesignhome@gmail.com, post in the comment section here or on my Twitter or Facebook pages. Your market or auction can be indoors or out, seasonal or year-round, but it must be some sort of medium to large-scale, co-operative effort (we are not looking for local yard sales or single antique shops, for instance). It must have interesting and colorful stuff,

Flea Circus Sutdent Desks

Flea Circus

old and refurbished or freshly dug out of the barn stuff,

Vintage Collection from Repurpose Shop

fun and funny stuff,

Flea Soldier

Elephant Trunk Flea

painted stuff,

Yellow Dot Bear

The Yellow Bear at Brimfield

just plain old stuff

Mill Old Bean Carriage

The Old Bean

or even gilded gold stuff.

Flea Trinkets

Gilded trinkets at The Elephants Trunk

Doesn’t matter, as long as we can shop there, learn a little about the history of the place and share that information with my readers.  And, for all of you who are lusting after the amazing items Coach and I (well, mostly Coach) have dug up at the various sales, shortly we will be introducing his new Etsy page: Junk ‘n History. Here you will find many of his favorite items (well, except the anchor, we can’t ship an anchor…)

Anchor

available for purchase. So, dear readers, you’re up-start sharing your auctions, fleas and markets now! We will need the name of the place, an address or town and hopefully a website or link to the Facebook or Twitter page for reference. The more the merrier, we just need to know soon so we can chart our path for the upcoming road trip. (thankfully, it’s summer, so this is probably not likely to happen, but you never know…)

snow in lap

And, from this point forward, Fridays will be now known as Fabulous Finds Friday. Whatever we find, we will share with all of you! Have a fabulous Friday everyone! Susan

Maine, Unplugged

Literally. Last week Coach and I spent a few days away at the lovely Bethel Inn and Resort in, where else, Bethel, Maine.

Maine Bethel Inn

A quaint, rural town with a few little downtown shops and pubs, Bethel is a great place to kick back and unwind for a couple of days. The resort special was 2 nights, 2 full breakfasts (I made that waffle myself-yum!)

Maine Breakfast

one four-course dinner in the tavern and unlimited golf. Now for Coach that meant 3 days of 9 holes of golf each day. (Now if this had been me searching for my ball hit from the first tee of the first hole on the first day in the blazing sun, not sure I would have persevered for three days…just saying…)

Maine Coach Search

For me that meant one day of 7 holes, driving the cart around and replacing the divots I had made on the greens and fairways PLUS two other days of hanging around, trying to find somewhere that gave me some bars on my iPhone. (because what’s a blogger without internet?!?) I would like to know, AT&T, why Coach can call me from Germany on his old 1990’s flip-phone and it sounds like he’s in the next room, but I take a road trip to Maine and have no service at all!?!?!

Maine No Service

So, since my iPhone was not much use except as a camera and since today is Wanderlust Wednesday, I am sharing some of my favorite sights from our road trip. We took the inland route up (or down, depending on who you ask), but the coastal route home. Hope you enjoy!!!

Maine Road to Nowhere

The Road To Nowhere

Maine Cow Barn

Cow Barn in Bethel

Maine Chicken Barn

Chicken Barn

Maine Log House

Bethel Inn Lake House

Maine Porch Rocker

Porch Rocker on The Lake House Dock

Maine Bales of Hay

Bales of Hay

Maine Antler Tree

Antler Tree

Maine Ocean Edge York

Ocean Edge York Maine

Maine Kennebunkport Harbor

Kennebunkport View from the Bridge

Maine River Cottage Kennebunkport

River Cottage in Kennebunkport

Maine Sunset Kennebunkport

Sunset in Kennebunkport

Aside from all of the golfing and eating, we managed to do quite a bit of junking and antiquing. It is just astounding what my little CRV will hold!

Maine Cupboard 1

Have loads of pics of shops and treasures and finds, but that’s a blog for another day! Hope you had a “main”ly great day!!  Susan

Sweet & Salty Showers of Happiness

Last weekend I gave a sneak peek of the sweet stuff we served at the bridal shower that my dear friend was hosting for her adorable soon-to-be daughter-in-law.

Smores Bowl of Popcorn

Since I love me a good shower of any kind, I volunteered to assist with the food and decorations. This was planned as a small shower with a few special guests, since the bride-to-be originally hails from Maryland, and another shower had already been held in her honor back home. The decision was made to host this shower as a “wine-tasting party” at a great little gourmet shop in Sandwich

Shower The Brown Jugcalled The Brown Jug.

Shower Brown Jug Sign

Purveyors of fine beverages, and adjacent to a gourmet food shop, the wine shop has a charming, rustic feel, with floor to ceiling crates and shelves filled with wines and craft beers,

Shower Brown Jug Tables

chunky, aged butcher block tables and sweet little café sets in the front windows. Along with some vintage enamelware overflowing with colorful garden flowers (these cut glass vases were filled with sand and seashells, borrowed, ah-hem, from the dunes of Cape Cod…)

Shower Flowers and Candles

and the inspired nautical decorations,

Smores Bags on Table

it made for a fun and relaxed party setting. And how can you not be in a party mood anyway, surrounded by great food

Shower Cheese Board

and hundreds of bottles of wine, just waiting to be opened and tasted?!  BTW, do you happen to recognize those gorgeous chevron striped table runners?

Shower Favors and Flowers

I don’t know what it is about chevron, but it’s just so appealing, and blends with a variety of styles and colors, including Caribbean Blue (St. John wedding), Baby Girl Pink (Wakefield baby shower) and Nautical Navy (on Ol’ Cape Cod). Those runners have certainly been around the block-thanks Lindsey-I owe you!!  The shop’s manager pulled out all the stop(pers) to make this shower a memorable occasion for the guests and guest of honor alike. Along with the gorgeous cheese, meat and fruit board that the shop had provided (with cheeses I had never even heard of, but boy were they delicious!),

Shower Cheese Board Closeup

we also put together a few scrumptious bites for the guests.

Shower Brown Jug Food Platters

Included on the menu were homemade bruschetta, chicken and grape croissant sandwiches, stuffed spinach cheese bread and of course, the various wines and Prosecco chosen by the sommelier,

Shower Brown Jug Wine Assortment

just for this very special occasion. Finished off with our “life-changing” Sea Salt Caramel Dark Chocolate Cupcakes, and S’Mores Popcorn,

Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Cupcakes

the shower was deemed a sweet success! It was truly a magical evening, with family and friends coming together with this loving young couple to celebrate their upcoming nuptials, and to shower the new bride with gifts and love.

Shower Gift Table

And isn’t that what a shower is supposed to be about? Here’s hoping someone showers a little love on you today! Susan

Greater Boston Food Bank

Saturday was Volunteer Day with The Next 26 at the Greater Boston Food Bank. If you have never been to this gigantic 117,000 square foot warehouse on South Bay Ave in Boston, you will be astonished (as we were) by the overwhelming size and scope of this incredible organization.

Greater Boston Food Bank Shelves

Entering into the main lobby, I noticed this symbol on the wall,

Greater Boston Food Bank X Symbol

which is there to pay tribute to Kip Kiernan, a social activist whose grandmother fed the hungry during the Great Depression. After eating, upon leaving her grandmother’s  home, the people would mark an X by the entrance to let others know that it was a safe house. Kip was the founder behind many of Boston’s great service organizations, including Rosie’s Place, Boston Healthcare for the Homeless and Boston’s Emergency Shelter Commission. To read more about this incredible woman, click here:

Kip Tiernan

Once entering the distribution center, you are facing vast shelves stocked with food and supplies, two stories high, stretching as far as the eye can see.

Greater Boston Food Bank Warehouse Shelves

41 million pounds annually are distributed to eastern Massachusetts families and children. Folks, the statistics are staggering. 8% of the population in eastern Massachusetts are hungry- one of every four are children.  This food bank provides meals for 475,000 on a daily basis, just for eastern Massachusetts!! There goal is to provide one solid meal per day per person, distributed through the various hunger-relief agencies scattered throughout the commonwealth.

Greater Boston Food Bank Stats

Our job, for this day, was to sort frozen foods that had been donated by various grocery chains and stores. We were to open the boxes, sort them, then have them weighed (each was to be between 34-37 pounds), seal them up and move on to the next box. (Oops, Coach, you’re just a bit over on that one!)

Greater Boston Food Bank Coach Weighs In

We had been forewarned that we would be lifting 30# boxes repeatedly, and they weren’t kidding. Two long tables were set up, and forklifts started bringing over palettes stacked with the boxes filled with a variety of assorted frozen offerings-everything from gizzards to prime rib were available to sort.

Greater Boston Food Bank Sorting

We opened the boxes, sorted the foods into new boxes labeled Poultry, Beef, Processed (sausages, etc), Misc (frozen meals), Pork and finally, garbage (these were products with ripped packaging, browned or frost bitten meat, etc. The general rule of thumb was “If you wouldn’t want to eat it, then no one else should-toss it! We filled two gigantic crates with those throwaways!)

Greater Boston Food Bank Discards

Initially, during our orientation, our supervisor made a comment that we didn’t have quite the number of volunteers he had expected, so we would get done whatever we could, but we would stop working at noon sharp. But what he underestimated was the grit and determination of this hardy crew of workers, some with groups, (like our 14 Next 26 participants!)

Greater Boston Food Bank Next 26 Team

others just kind-hearted individuals willing to give up a Saturday to work for the greater good. We grabbed our work gloves, (these make quite a fashion statement, no?)

Greater Boston Food Bank Fashion

and cracked open the first boxes at 9:25 am, cranked up the music and began the sorting process. The supervisor kept mentioning we should take a break, because it was hot, and we were working so hard, but we were so determined to finish our shift, that just wasn’t happening! At 10:30, He finally shut us down for 15 minutes to grab a cold water (thanks for providing that GBFB!) and take a breather in the air conditioned break room. Quickly back in the warehouse, the time just flew by, and suddenly, at 11:42 AM, there were no more boxes to sort! We had, our little band of 41 volunteers, sorted and repacked 20,195 pounds of frozen foods!!! Which, I am so proud to say, translates to these stats:

Number of meals made possible:12,423

NET pounds of food salvaged: 16,156

Total pounds sorted per volunteer: 492

NET Meals made possible per volunteer: 303

Our leader, Ann, was so grateful for the amount of work we had done in such a short time.

Greater Boston Food Bank Ann

We were so grateful for the opportunity to give back just a little. Knowing that what we had accomplished in so little time was going to touch so many lives was a bit overwhelming and so very gratifying. If you are interested in volunteering at the food bank, click here for info.:

Greater Boston Food Bank Sign

Even if you can’t do the grunt work, there are plenty of other ways to help too! For all of the Greater Boston Opportunities available, including donating food, money or partnering, click here:

GBFB Donate

A special thanks to the amazing folks at Greater Boston Food Bank, who strive to feed so many people that otherwise would go hungry. And also thanks to our team leaders, Chris Mathison

Greater Boston Food Bank Chris Mathison

and Nicholas Leydon, the co-founders of The Next 26, who organized this volunteer effort.  The Next 26 is a non-profit that was founded to bring Boston together in the aftermath of the Marathon bombings, raising awareness and funds for the One Fund Boston. Their goal? To raise $100,000 in 26 volunteer and fun-filled events in the months leading up to the 2014 Boston Marathon, in hopes of raising money and awareness of the great city we call home. With Event #3 under our belts, it’s on to event #4 at Fenway Park! For more information, or to join in the movement, click here:

Next 26 1

Have a great Sunday, everyone. It’s a birthday and anniversary celebration day (34 years today for me and Coach-amazing!!) for us! Stay cool and strive to do one thing today to give back! Susan 

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