Giving Small

       Don't Have a Cow!¬†¬†Give a Cow to Someone Who Needs It

Weekly update newsletter is being moved. Stay tuned.

Friday, May 30, 2008

* I Wonder What Cows Sing When They Have the Blues?

Willie NelsonI just be they listen to Willie Nelson's Milk Cow Blues.

Now you got to treat me right baby,
day by day -(Listen to Sample)



I have a wonderful photo of Fred from Rochester, NY who helped Suzanne Bell who works at Rush Rhees Library at the University of Rochester. Unfortunately these pictures are on my near-dead laptop so I'll post the later.

Suzanne received the message about the wacky cow project and was inspired to help out. She stumbled on pure gold when she talked to Fred, the janitor in the library who helped her and suddenly she had almost $20.00 worth of bottles. Suzanne's efforts to help me involved a few adventures. She was keen to drop these bottles off - feeding them one by one into a machine at the supermarket -- but her Volkswagon had other ideas and conked out. So her car and bottles headed off to the garage for a few days.

Hopefully my laptop will be able to be repaired as easily as the Suzanne's car.

Thanks FRED and SUZANNE!! You're both wonderful for helping with the "give a cow" project. Your contribution puts us at $144.25 - half a cow. Moo! Moo! Moo!

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Friday, May 23, 2008

* Spreading the Moooos - 'Giving Small Blog' Is in the Buena Vista Newsletter

The theme of my local neighborhood newsletter is about being "green". There's an article about Giving Small and the cow project spreading the moooos on how even doing something small can make a difference.

I'm looking for help collecting more bottles and cans to help with the cow.

Here's how you can help:

  • Drop them off cans, bottles, juice cartons, wine and beer bottles at my house at 438-5th St. East (corner of Eastlake and 5th St E) or call me at 652-0947 to arrange for a pick them up or email me at dfichter (at) gmail.com
  • Become a regular supporter - collect ongoing
  • Get your workplace to be a "Give a Cow" supporter and collect recyclables for the project. I have 3 offices collecting and it makes a huge difference

I've already had one BV neighbor email and offer up cans and bottles towards the cow which is a huge help. Hurrah!

Buena Vista is also holding a Green Day in BV Park on June 14 from 10:00 - 3:30. There will be musicians, artists, games and cultural events and an opportunity to learn how we can make our neighborhood a model of environmental sustainability.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

* How Much of the Cow Have We Raised?

1/3 cow

On May 5, I purchased the first cow and started the 2nd campaign. I'd like to finish this project in 5 weeks -- by June 12, 2008. That's $50 per week and 600 bottles and cans. We're definitely on track to reach this goal when you look at the numbers below.

Since May 5 we've raised $105.69 including the carry over $$ which gave us a big boost. There's another donation in the mail from far away en route so I'll post about that when it arrives.

So where did $150.69 come from?

Well from all of us working together. There's no way I found 770 containers or drank that much either in 2 weeks. There were $28.25 in cash contributions and $77.00 in bottles, cans, juice cartons and jugs. The landfill folks must be happy. I know that I have saved a lot of these items from the landfill by picking them up.

To reach $300 for a 2nd cow, so we need to find another 1943 more bottles and cans and probably a few more families or workplaces collecting. :-) If you know anyone who get a chuckle out of this story and project, please pass it along and send them the link to the blog. I'm happy to pick up containers anywhere in the city.

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* More Than a Little Help From Friends


Zac with bottle under paw


It was time for another brunch with the gals and update on the cow saga. At the brunch, Kate, the donor of pennies and many bottles from the Kate & Murray household, pulled out an unexpected gift - a cow statue. This is a heavy duty item and we think it's probably 1/2 a set of book ends.

Edna, her daughter Lauren, and Criss generously donated to the cow fund. There combined gift is $23.50 - that's about 100 lbs of cow on the hoof. I'd say that paid of for the head and tail.

More and more people are helping out with the cow. I popped over to Deborah Lee's house and picked up some bottles. Julie's friends, Nathan, Kyle and Alden, have been great and contributed bottles several times.

I surprised my chiropractor by asking for more bottles. He said, "I thought you got the cow." So there I was explaining that I did, but there a second cow project. :-) So thanks to Dr. Simpson again - he came through with another bag of bottles.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

* Zac - The Newest Member of Bottle Collecting Team

Zac, a energetic Jack Russell terrier, definitely likes to play and has decided that this apple juice bottle is too good to give up for the cow (yet). Fortunately he's not so attached to glass and aluminum.

Trying to get a picture of this fellow was like trying to hold onto a wet eel. He's constantly in motion or a foot away inviting me to play with him and his bottle.


Zac with bottle under paw


Paul and Vicki, the owners of this playful pooch, are the latest household collecting bottles and cans and pennies (rolled even) for the dairy cow. I loaded up my trunk and zipped off to SARCAN with the goodies.

Vicki has a talent for spotting money. Just as I was telling her about my cow she spotted a loonie an dime on the street which I scooped up for the cow fund. Paul also assures me has the same talent and the best places to look are outside pubs.

It's moo-valous to see Paul at home again. I'm definitely hope he recovers speedily and starts visiting pubs, finding money, and drinking beer ... out of cans, of course. :-)

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

* And the Votes Are In - It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a 2nd Cow!

2 Cows Facing each Other


Thanks for all the emails, verbal comments and votes on the site about what the second project should be. So the "second" cow is the popular favourite so it's time to raise another $300 for cow #2. After cow #2, then try something else.

Do you think these cows need names? On the farm our cows had names like Dolly and Daisy and Blacky. I can remember milking these cows to a choir of meowing cats who were lined up and waiting for their supper. We only had a few cows so we did the milking by hand, the old fashioned way. Can't say I miss that chore.

Our new mission - save 3000 cans and bottles from the landfill and give cow #2 (or Daisy) to a family in Africa?

Suggest a name for cow #2. Help me out. I don't think writing about cow #2 for a month will be much fun or moo-tivational.

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Monday, May 5, 2008

* Cow Winging Its Way to Ghana or Zambia

Flying Cow


The cow has been purchased from Plan Canada!

Cow from Plan Canada


A Bit More About How Giving Live Animals Works

"The animals are being provided as part of a larger project that aims to reduce poverty through livestock productivity. When you purchase an animal through Gifts of Hope, the funds are channeled to this livestock program. The $300 for a cow, for example, boosts the budget of that program enough to provide one more cow for one more family.

This program goes beyond the simple provision of animals to families identified as being in need and also includes training, construction of animal shelters and access to veterinary supplies and drugs:

  • Plan is working in cooperation with local partners, such as government agricultural departments and local service providers in the area of livestock production and health. The families who receive a cow undergo training in livestock management, production and health as a pre-condition to receiving the animal.
  • As part of the project, community members are expected to contribute labour and local materials to construct appropriate housing structures for the animals.
  • A central community committee of trained livestock volunteers will have a drug kit and other supplies to support the families involved in this project." (Plan Canada FAQ)


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Sunday, May 4, 2008

* Here a Cow, There a Cow

Now, what based on photo of a toy cow by Alicia Marie Photografy

Alicia Marie Photografy via Flickr
Creative Commons license


A Look at the Numbers

Frank Cervone from Chicago has bought a dozen lattes for the cow ($40), mootastic! So that definitely has jumped me into the next "giving" project.

As of Saturday May 3, I have collected:

Money Raised from recycling Bottles, Cans etc. $212.42
Donations$140.34
Total$352.77


More Cow Contributions are in the Works


Suzanne Bell is collecting bottles at her Library in Rochester, New York. And there are more contributors in the wings.

Cheryl Avery is writing a little article in the community newsletter so all my neighborhoods will find out about the cow project and my efforts to tidy up the neighborhood as I pick up the cans, bottles, etc.

Tell Me What You Think

Do you think I can do another cow in six weeks? So I'm thinking we should get a second cow. But what do you think?

When I asked Tim, my archivist buddy, he quipped, "A large screen TV". Not likely. :-)

Here are some options. If you have another idea, suggest away - leave a comment or email me.

Other Ideas


Vote for the project you think I should work on next.



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* Holy, Cow! We Made It!

Holy Cow by gamescoreblog

gamescoreblog via Flickr
Creative Commons license

Thanks to everyone that has helped with the cow project. Your interest and willing to listen to the story of the project has meant a lot. And special thanks to all of those that have contributed bottles, cans, martinis, lattes and cash!

Lots of people chipped in the past week so here's a slew of pictures and quick stories.

Cody, Cows and Freecycling
Before I report on the past week, I need to tell one story about a Cody. Cody posted a grab box to freecycle group on Yahoo called Full Circles Saskatoon. I saw that he had "cows" and thought I'd pick those up. They might work well in some of the pictures. Some gifters are camera shy. Cody is moving off to Toronto and told me he used to play in a band called Cow Pie. Yep only in Saskatchewan! Hence the cow paraphernalia. One doesn't collect 3000 bottles by being shy, so I asked him about the bottles I spotted on his shelf and told him the cow story. He was happy to have someone haul the bottles away. Thanks for the cows and the bottles Cody. Enjoy Toronto.

Mystery Donor
I posted a request on the freecycle list for bottles and cans for the cow and also in the emails I sent to a few people that I know. A few days after I had posted the request, I was thrilled to come out on my step and find bags of cans and bottles from a "secret" donor. I know something about what they like to drink but no idea who it was. Thanks so much -- made my day!

Eco-Friendly Friend
In the past week, I have gotten emails from friends from near and far who are enjoying hearing about the project and pitching in. I don't have photos from all of these. Beth Matheson, from Natural Sciences Library, saw me and handed me some money, saying that she didn't have any recyclable bottles to add their libraries box. That gal is really thinking green. Thanks Beth!

You, Too, Can Wear a Stylish Cow Scarf
Frank Winter wrote that he and Dianne would contribute the dollars from their latest run to SARCAN and $20 magically appeared in my mailbox. Thanks Frank and Diane. He also graciously agreed to pose for a picture wearing the "cow scarf".

Frank wearing cow scarf


Dean's Office Lunch Room
Friday May 2 was my first official day back at work and I visited a few departments and talked about my "cow" project. I talked to a few of the gals from Dean's Office who were having lunch and collected a couple of cans. They simply popped their cans in the recycle bins in the Library so were happy to save them for the cow project. I'll be bringing them a special "cow" decorated box for these goodies.

Anne Marie's Last Day and ITS
Friday was the last day at work for one of my favourite library people - Anne Marie Moulin. She immediately offered up the bottles from the Information Technology Services. So off we went to see her office, decorated by her co-workers for her last day, and Woodrow, the Library bear and department mascot, who has big blue tears over Anne-Marie's retirement. Have a great retirement Anne Marie.

I tried to take a picture of Darryl, John, Mike or Rory but they were all camera shy. Lori and Laura seemed intrigued by the project and I made my big pitch about becoming a "cow" project workplace supporter and there's interest. I promised a special cow "collection" box. Thanks to everyone in ITS for the bottles: Anne Marie, Glenda, Doug, Darryl, John, Lori, Laura, Mike Rory, Pat, Alicia and Diana.

Anne Marie with Woodrow, in her office, last day


You Can Find Almost Anything in the Archives
Cheryl Avery, one of the University Archivists, has been a supporter of the cow project since the get-go. She helps me spot bottles as we walk along to exercise class or are out and about. I popped up to see her at the end of the day and she asked co-workers about the bottles and voila ... I had another bag full. Kulwant, who works for Special Collections that is co-located with the Archives, was in the workroom heading out the door and heard about the project and popped back to her desk and contributed her stash of bottles to the project. Wow. Thanks Kulwant.

I had definitely made my cow pitch to Tim Hutchinson, another University archivist. He's told me that he's not convinced that charity efforts like giving a cow really work. Fair enough. Lots of things can help. There's Kiva (microloan site) which I support and work with. I tend to come from the perspective "It's All Good" and work many levels at once. And I do know that the family that gets the cow, will be better off for it. Who doesn't like milk, cream, and cheese? Tim is a great sense of humor and always has some pointy comment when I come round. When I pop by his office and spot a bottle, I ask for it and he's always is willing to contribute them. I'm sure he'd look great in a cow scarf, too.

Bottles from University Archives


I knew by this point, I had definitely made it to $300 for the cow. Given some of the email commitments about donations coming in soon, I knew I'd be over and have to figure out what to do. A bigger more deluxe cow? Nope. Two cows? Maybe.

None of this would have happened with the generosity and help from everyone I met. It's truly amazing to me that in 6 weeks, we could "gift a cow". Also I'm thrilled with how much fun, and silliness, laughs and few "moos", neat conversations and connections I made over the past 5 weeks.

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