“A Simple Gesture” has collected over 60,000 pounds of food since June 2015!!

Even though Saturday was April Fool’s Day, the Cool, Green Bag Brigade delivered over 11,000 pounds of food to the Cornerstone’s Reston Pantry and LINK’s Pantry in Herndon.

Over the life of the program we have provided 62,798 pounds. That’s more than 31 tons! Not bad for a project that started in June 2015 with just 20 donors and now has a donor base of over 600.

It’s because of people like you that we can do this. If you have a few hours to help, you can volunteer too. We need people to drive, sort food, sign up more donors and help with administrative tasks on a periodic basis. If you are interested, just drop me an email at Bob@CoolGreenBag.org.

Some of the bags this time went to the St. Anne’s Episcopal Church pantry, who has joined us as a partner by signing up 90 new donors last month. We are also experimenting with supplying the new South Lakes High School food pantry. Roberta Gosling took the initiative to help students who need food over the weekends and this is an effort to see if A Simple Gesture can help them.

On Saturday, there were 38 drivers and 17 pantry volunteer workers. Special thanks go to Mary Beth DiVincenzo and Sue Granlund for preparing 500 new cool, green bags for distribution and to Gail Greenberg, Judy Bleiweis and Debby Greenberg who signed up 24 new donors at Congregation Beth Emeth on Sunday. We offer a big thank you to all of them.

Just to let you know, I am a finalist for “The Best of Reston” for my work with A Simple Gesture. We will find out on Thursday night if I win. Keep your fingers crossed.

A Simple Gesture can expand further when you let your friends and neighbors know about us. By having more donors within the same neighborhood, our drivers can be more efficient. Those who are interested can visit our website at www.CoolGreenBag.org and automatically sign-up. When they do, we will deliver a cool, green bag directly to their house.

Your generosity is truly appreciated. Keep up the good work!

Sincerely,
Bob Schnapp

Cornerstones Facebook Announcement for The Best of Reston

Today’s finalist in the Individual or Family Service category of the 2017 Cornerstones of Our Community – Best of Reston Awards is Bob Schnapp!

Feeding People with a Simple Gesture and a Cool Green Bag –

Bob Schnapp is living proof that one simple and easy good idea can change lives for the better. After learning about “A Simple Gesture” in 2014, he approached his congregation – Shoreshim of Reston – about starting an effort in Reston. Participants get a “cool, green bag” to fill up every other month with non-perishable food items and leave on the doorstep for a volunteer to pick up and take to the Cornerstones food pantry.

Bob’s efforts began modestly with 20 families and about 400 pounds of food collected on the first run. Since its inception it has grown to include more than 420 donor families, giving over 10,000 pounds of food picked up by 34 drivers and unloaded with the help of 14 food pantry volunteers.

Bob is proof positive that one person, armed with one generous idea and passion can change the world.

The Cornerstones of Our Community – Best of Reston Awards are presented in partnership by Cornerstones and Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce.

You’re Invited! Click here to reserve your seat for the April 6th Awards Gala https://www.cornerstonesva.org/BOR. Check out sponsorship opportunities too!

Thank you to our Presenting Sponsors: Bechtel Corporation and Reston Community Center, and our Leadership Sponsors: Boston Properties (Reston Town Center) and MAXIMUS Foundation!

#BestofReston #HopeforTomorrowToday

Bob Schnapp Named “Best of Reston” Finalist

Cornerstones of Our Community — Best of Reston Finalists Announced

On Feb. 9, Leidos hosted a Sneak-Peek Reception where 22 finalists were announced as candidates for the Cornerstones of Our Community – 2017 Best of Reston Awards. These people, businesses and organizations were selected from among a pool of nominations, and the chosen honorees will be revealed at the April 6 Awards Gala.

The Cornerstones of Our Community – Best of Reston Awards annual gala and networking event, now in its 26th year, is a partnership between the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and Cornerstones, honoring those who have demonstrated significant contributions to the greater Reston/Dulles Corridor region through their philanthropy and volunteerism. Proceeds from the celebration benefit the programs and people served by Cornerstones. Sponsorship information for this year’s April 6 Awards Gala can be found at www.cornerstonesva.org/BOR.

One or two 2017 Best of Reston honorees could be selected in each of the following categories and will be announced at the April 6 Gala:

Individual or Family Service Category: The finalists in this category have given selflessly of their time for the causes about which they are passionate, and in so doing make the community stronger. Their volunteer service has spanned decades of service in encouraging children and youth, nurturing them and giving them the confidence and opportunity to grow and pursue their dreams. These candidates have tackled tough challenges such as childhood obesity, hunger and homelessness, and are mentoring adults who want to build their skills and find meaningful work to support their families and community. Their service has enriched the community through the arts and in creating and sustaining natural spaces, and lending their talents to plan for Reston’s future. Through their active civic and community participation they have extended a welcoming hand to immigrants in the spirit of inclusiveness on which this community was founded.

Finalists include: Robert Goudie, Vernon and Kathy Joyner, Bill Keefe, Shreya Papneja, Maggie Parker, Bob Schnapp, Vincent and Gillian Sescoe and Herb Williams-Baffoe.

Civic and Community Engagement, Volunteerism through Nonprofit Service Category: The finalists in this category engage the community by turning beliefs into action, promoting the common good and creating impact in ways that many may not realize. These finalists have touched the lives of individuals and families, empowered children and youth, enriched and beautified our community through celebration of the arts, the joy of giving, and engaging the next generation of leaders.

Finalists include: Herndon Community Leo Club Youth, Omicron Kappa Kappa, The Reston Chorale, Touching Heart, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, Women Giving Back.

Large Business, Employee Owned and Small Business Category: The achievements of the business finalists include strengthening advocacy for health and human services, education, veterans and their families, schools, children and future leaders. By partnering with the schools they bring resources to enrich children’s academic experience and open their eyes to new possibilities for the future. The struggles of working families in the community are personal to them, and they have championed causes that address hunger, ensure safety, and create avenues of support for those with differing abilities. Their contributions are building a strong, sustainable community for all.

Large Business category finalists include: JK Moving Services, Navient, Odin, Feldman, and Pittleman, P.C., SOSi.

Employee Owned and Small Business category finalists include: SpeedPro Imaging Northern Virginia, Storycatcher Productions, Synergy Design & Construction, and The CST Group.

At the Sneak- Peek Reception, Leidos announced that it is expanding its commitment to Cornerstones, to Reston and to the greater Dulles Corridor by partnering with Cornerstones as the first Annual Champion Partner. Melissa Koskovich, senior vice president, and director of marketing and communications for Leidos presented Cornerstones with a check of $100,000.

Cornerstones has reached out to 250,000 neighbors in need, helping them overcome tough economic times in an already high cost-of-living region. For more information, visit www.cornerstonesva.org or call 571-323-9555.

Since 1982, the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce has been the catalyst for business growth and entrepreneurship by providing quality programs, education, connections and advocacy for its 650 members and organizations in Western Fairfax and the Dulles Corridor. Learn more at www.RestonChamber.org or call 703-707-9045.

Published in The Connection February 14, 2017

“A Simple Gesture” Hits 50,000 Pounds!!

The Cool, Green Bag Brigade has come through again. For the first time, more than 420 donors filled their cool, green bags with over 10,000 pounds of non-perishable food. All of the food was delivered to Cornerstone’s Reston Pantry and LINK’s Pantry in Herndon.

Over the life of the program we have provided 51,363 pounds. That’s more than 25 tons! Not bad for a project that started in June 2015 with just 20 donors.

On Saturday, there were 34 drivers and 14 pantry volunteer workers.

A Simple Gesture can expand further when you let your friends and neighbors know about us. By having more donors within the same neighborhood, our drivers can be more efficient. Those who are interested can visit our website at www.CoolGreenBag.org and automatically sign-up. When they do, we will deliver a cool, green bag directly to their house.

Have a few hours to help? You can volunteer. We need people to drive, sort food, sign up more donors and help with administrative tasks on a periodic basis. If you are interested, just drop me an email.

Your generosity is truly appreciated. Keep up the good work!

Sincerely,
Bob Schnapp

The Reston Connection Publishes Article on “A Simple Gesture”

‘A Simple Gesture’ Goes a Long Way To Fight Hunger

By Fallon Forbush

People throughout Northern Virginia are signing up to be a part of the “cool, green bag” movement.

Bob Schnapp was inspired in November 2014 when he read an article that was published in the Wall Street Journal about Jonathan Trivers and his charity in Paradise, Calif. Trivers’ charity, A Simple Gesture, provided 500,000 pounds of free groceries to local food pantries in three years by asking people to fill cool, green bags with nonperishable food items.

“The beauty of this is that it keeps the pantries stocked throughout the year and not just during the holidays.” —Diana Katz, a spokesperson, Giving Circle of HOPE

”I wanted to do something about hunger because the numbers are staggering,” says Schnapp, a 40-year resident of Reston.

After calling Trivers and getting advice, Schnapp created A Simple Gesture, Reston in June 2015, which donates food to the LINK food pantry in Herndon and the Cornerstones food pantry in Reston

He started by recruiting 20 families within his Jewish congregation to participate at the Shoreshim in Reston. The congregation agreed to buy 250 cool, green bags.

It grew from there.

“The idea is to make giving as simple as possible,” Schnapp says. “All they have to do, outside of buying the food, is literally placing the bag outside of their door at 8:30 in the morning the first Saturday of every other month. That’s all the work they have to do.”

THE GROUP has 32 drivers who volunteer to pick up the bags and deliver them to the food pantries.

By word of mouth, more and more people signed up.

Now in December, there are 400 participants who fill their bags. This month alone, they collected 9,380 pounds of nonperishable food items.

Since the last collection day on Dec. 3, more than 30 new people have already signed up to join in.

“There are 35 cities across the country that are doing this,” says Schnapp. None of the groups are affiliated, but they are all using the same logo: “A Simple Gesture.”

Catherine Hudgins, who represents the Hunter Mill District on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, is on board.

“That sounds easy,” Hudgins says. “I can put my bag outside the door.”

She was not surprised that the community found a way to help neighbors in need.

“Cornerstones empties quickly,” she says. “It really makes a difference.”

In total, 41,138 pounds of nonperishable food items have been donated through the cool, green bags since the group started.

There has been so much interest that Schnapp asked the Giving Circle of HOPE for help.

A giving circle is a form of participatory philanthropy where groups of individuals donate their own money to a pooled fund and decide together which charities receive grants.

“We found that it was such a simple, no-brainer kind of thing to make people give food,” says Diana Katz, who is a spokesperson of the Giving Circle of HOPE.

Katz also volunteers to drive to pick up bags on collection days to deliver to the Cornerstones food pantry.

Katz’s organization could not provide funding, but she was able to connect Schnapp to another donor who was willing to help.

Now there are more bags and more room to grow.

“The beauty of this is that it keeps the pantries stocked throughout the year and not just during the holidays,” Katz says.

THOSE WHO WANT to get involved by filling bags, driving routes or sorting food can sign up by going to www.coolgreenbag.org. Those who sign up will have a bag delivered to their house and will receive a reminder email when the pick-up date is near. A food list of suggested donations is also printed on a tag of all the bags.

The U.S. Tennis Association, located in Isaac Newton Square, fills 20 bags every two months and delivers them to the Cornerstone’s Reston Pantry. Other businesses can participate by emailing Schnapp at Bob@CoolGreenBag.org.

Published December 14, 2016

http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/news/2016/dec/14/simple-gesture-goes-long-way-fight-hunger/

A Simple Gesture Featured in Cornerstones Newsletter

cornerstones

 

A Simple Gesture was recently mentioned in the March 2016 newsletter of Cornerstones. Cornerstones is a nonprofit organization that promotes self-sufficiency by providing support and advocacy for those in need of food, shelter, affordable housing, quality childcare, and other human services.

January 20, 2016

State Delegate Ken Plum mentioned A Simple Gesture in his January 20, 2016  e-newsletter.  Look down a ways on this link and you will see that he recommends “A Simple Gesture” to his constituents.

“A Simple Gesture” Leads to Giving on a Big Scale

This article inspired the start of A Simple Gesture — Reston.

The Wall Street Journal, November 30, 2014

A Charity Started by a Single Family Helps Distribute Free Groceries to Food Pantries

By Kristi Essick

Starting a nonprofit in retirement doesn’t always require huge amounts of time and money. Jonathan Trivers runs a charity called A Simple Gesture, which has provided 500,000 pounds of free groceries to food pantries in 35 towns in the past three years.

And all it took was a good idea, a bit of organizing and the purchase of a few thousand reusable shopping bags. Continue reading ““A Simple Gesture” Leads to Giving on a Big Scale”