Saturday, September 20, 2014

Much progress!

Mike collected over 20 soccer balls and many shirts and socks for Haiti!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Haiti shipments moved up. You can help!

Scheduling issues with the trucking company have led us to move up the shipment of items to Haiti. Items will have to be packaged this weekend.

My plans not working is par for the course, so I guess none of you should be surprised that the plan to ship items to Haiti in October changed.  LOL...

Why?  The trucking company that takes our supplies to Brooklyn before they can go to Haiti is booked throughout October. So they will be picking up items September 25.  The good news is that it means the items will (in theory) get to Haiti sooner!

This means we have to hurry! If you have any school supplies, soccer balls, small toys, shoes, or just want to donate to help pay for the cost of shipping, now is the time!  Ideally you bring them to SBU (the semi trailer by the baseball field at 10:30 on Saturday.)  If you can not, you can donate online at or send items via Amazon--see below).

We are working with numerous groups across Haiti.  From schools, orphanages, to soccer clubs working with the youth of Haiti).  (note this is different than PositiveRipples which will be be working more with Haitian Businesses)

We are helping at several schools (books were given to over 20 schools on our last shipment) as well as orphanages throughout Haiti (From Gonaives, Port au Prince, and two new ones (for us) in the Lascahaboas and Mayer region.  We have also given 3 small solar units out to schools (2 in Leogane, one in Gonaives---but they need larger ones).

Want to know more?  Here are some of the interviews we have done with the people we are helping:

Jeudy Djemson:

Manno Sanon video explaining his soccer program:

Robinson DixyBand Pollyanna Michelot on his school:

 Occeant Jean on his orphanage:  (here is a link to his orphanage page:

Don't know how to help?  Here is an amazon wish list than can give you some ideas and will ship directly to us!    We will be packing and labeling this weekend, so to make it for Christmas now is the time!

If you have any questions, just ask!  Thanks for your help!!  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

First ever meeting!

Very excited to be taking part in the newly formed (actually still forming PositiveRipples!)

This is our NoticeBoard submission from today:

“PositiveRipples Ground floor meeting

PositiveRipples is a new group aimed at improving Economic and educational opportunities locally and around the world via both traditional charity and business development.  This is a PRELIMINARY (think pre start-up) meeting that will lay out our initial plans and the steps needed to achieve theses goals.  The basic idea is that by there are times that giving a "hand-up" can be better for the recipient than a "hand-out".  It can also be more sustainable and a better learning experience for both sides.  

PositiveRipples will combine elements of Embrace it Africa, BonaResponds, Enactus, SIMM, as well as online and in-person learning that will be made available for in class or out of class use.  The plan will be start this exciting program in stages in Uganda, Haiti, and the US.  

Want a few examples to get the creative juices flowing?  A student helping a Haitian Internet cafe create financial statements for the first time, or developing lesson plans and working with teachers in Uganda (or Haiti), or small micro investments in businesses.  (BTW: all three of these have already happened but not as part of a formalized program)    

This evening's meeting to introduce this exciting new program and to gauge interest and get leaders is at 5:30 in the Swan Atrium.  (depending on numbers interested we may go into Swan 100 or another room so look for us if you do not see us immediately).  The meeting should be quite short (ideally less than 30 minutes so that those with 6:00 classes can attend).  

As a personal note, I am totally sold on this and can easily imagine a program where we will be helping start positive ripples (where one good event leads to every more as the benefits expand) literally around the globe.  Come and see if you want to get involved. "

and here is where the meeting can be watched online:

Want even more?  Here is the basic framework of what participants on our side will be learning.  The basic idea is that we need to truly understand the situation before loans and investments are made so that it can be a "win, win" situation for all involved.

 The PostiveRipples Path on Helpified

Monday, September 08, 2014

BonaResponds 9 minute update

Hey everyone, I don't have time for a real newsletter but want to give you a very fast update (have to leave in 9 minutes!)

  • Great weekend of work this past weekend--scraped a house to paint soon, built a ramp, scouted several jobs, and volunteers delivered a new battery for a woman's wheelchair/scooter.  THANKS to everyone!
  • Great new group of volunteers and leaders this year!  From freshmen to seniors a great group has been coming out to help!  Excited to be working with them and have very high hopes for BonaResponds!
  • 5:30 this Wednesday will be the PositiveRipples meeting.  In the Swan Atrium (or nearby). It is going to be huge!  Get involved now.  Give a helping hand up rather than just a hand-out.  Microfinance and more to help people through education and economic development.  Don't live near here or want to participate online?  here you go:
  • Haiti continues to be an area of great emphasis.  Big needs this week were from an orphanage with 100 children.  Hard to imagine a group more deserving of a helping hand.  Our goal for the year for them is to send school supplies and $1000 to help pay for teachers (they get $67USD per month!), get them solar electric, and help with their buildings.  (See below for an example of one of their current shelters (this is where they cook now for 100 children.)
  • No location has yet been selected for our Fall Break trip. Stay tuned. 
  • Ryland was hired as our first true employee in the US!  He will be working 5-8 hours a week. This is in lieu of the graduate assistant we have had in the past.  NOTE: this is in addition to his role as a regular volunteer student leader.  Thank you to the School of Business and the Pacioli Scholar program for making this possible.
  • MANY jobs coming up: painting, ramps, sidewalk, grab bars, and drywall to name a few.  We are also almost out of WarmSnugglyBlankets and our hope to have material for 100 donated fell through this past weekend, so look for a blanket making day soon.
  • From Facebook: Thank yous: Always very very dangerous to thank some people as undoubtedly I will miss some, but this week we have received much "behind the scenes" help so I would like to mention and publicly thank at least some (and I apologize in advance for missing others). But a partial list of those who helped this week includes: The Khairullahs, Todd PalmerMike Kasperski, Sue Miller, Jerry Godbout, Joe Coate,Mary Jo Stetz Brockel, Father Dan Riley, John Brad Stevens, Pierre Balthazard, Kate HimesMichael Russell, and Mike Muffoletto. THANK YOU!  Thanks also to Jen for updating the website and to Sarah for running a marathon (NYC) as a fundraiser for us!  Here is where you can donate to that:
  • Want something funny to end the update?  Our new BR  upperbody/AB/Back/shoulder workout:  (DON"T TRY IT!!)
  • 10:30 Saturday, 11:15 Sunday.  Come on out!
  • HAVE A GREAT WEEK EVERYONE!  Make the world better for someone whenever you can :)  Jim
  • Shelter where food is prepared for 100 children at an orphanage near Lascahobas, Haiti. We want to make this better.  We can make this better.  We need your help to do it. 

    Volunteer and Change the World!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

First BonaResponds meeting of Fall 2014 and sign up form

Great first meeting!  It was a great first meeting with a big turnout and many new leaders!

Here is the audio of the meeting (the video is not really worth watching, but the audio is really good.

Here is the sign up form.  Remember if we don't get 500 people to sign up, Eric fails finance.  So please sign up :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Welcome back!!

And we are back!  To school that is.  As a working group, BonaResponds worked all summer, but with students back our jobs can grow!

Some fast updates:

  1. There will be a BonaResponds informational and leader meeting on Thursday  (August 28) at 5:30pm in the Walsh Auditorium (in DLR). We will give an overview of what BonaResponds does internationally, nationally, and locally. We will also discuss upcoming events and the very big need for leaders. We will also discuss possible internship positions (for both BonaResponds and HaitiScholarships). We will also be having a special guest via video: Lamarre from Leogane Haiti!
  2. Great opening weekend with many volunteers for Welcome Days!  We painted, moved things, packed about 40 boxes for Haiti and met some great new volunteers!
  3. The first of three solar units were installed this week at schools in Haiti.  They may not be as powerful as we would like, but they are a start! Here is a picture of Robinson in Gonaives Haiti.  
  4. Want to see why and who we are helping in Haiti?  We have started a series of interviews to help others meet our Haitian friends and co-workers.  Here is a video of Djemson's interview.
  5. It promises to be a very busy fall semester!  Painting, sidewalks, wheelchair ramps, and drywall are but a few of the jobs in September alone!  GET INVOLVED!   This Saturday at 10:30 and Sunday at 11:15!  (and don't forget the meeting at 5:30PM on Thursday)

Monday, May 05, 2014

Finals week Update

Hi everyone...

a short fast update before graduation

* We are looking into a possible trip to help with tornado clean up.  If you are interested in going, please let us know.

* There are opportunities for a summer marketing intern (could grow into a longer position) to help BonaResponds and HaitiScholarships.  For more info see our Fb page or search for us on

* We still have about 15 glass roses that would make a perfect Mother's Day/Graduation gift!  See Jim or any of the other BR leaders.   (along similar lines, if you are graduating and want to buy a BR shirt or hoodie before leaving campus, let us know!)

* REALLY would love someone local with a pickup truck that could take our generators and mowers in for a tune-up before busy season.

* If anyone with ties to high schools and an interest in helping:   We will be collecting school supplies for Haiti:

From Our Facebook page:
 "With schools ending soon for the summer it is a GREAT time to set aside slightly used school supplies for Haiti! We will be shipping again over the summer, so the sooner we get the supplies the better  (notebooks, pencils, calculators, crayons, chalk, laptop computers, as well as soccer balls are always in great demand!" 

* There are many local jobs queued up for the summer.  With 95% of students gone, we are really going to need the local community to help.  (rule of thumb is we work every Saturday and Sunday)

* Had a great HaitiScholarship meeting last night.  For less than a dollar a day you can allow a student in Haiti to go to school.  Donate at

* One of our goals for the summer is to install 3 solar electric systems at schools in Haiti.  The cost is about $3000 each.  We'd LOVE you to help.  Want to sponsor one?  Or have a fund raiser?

* We only worked once this past weekend (and had very few volunteers) due to finals at SBU.

THANKS EVERYONE and congratulations to all of the students who are doing well on their finals!

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What is happening? A BonaResponds update

A fast update since I have been remiss on getting newsletters out.

  1. We are SWAMPED with wheelchair requests.  Could really really use some more volunteers.  As I just this morning told a woman (Barbara), we can get 4 requests a week and it takes 2 weeks often to do a ramp, so there is a significant waiting list :(  Want to help?  Want to donate for one?  Each ramp costs about $1200 or so. 
  2. Saturday we will kick of the first Haitian tutor session.  VERY exciting!  Have rented out an internet cafe for two hours so they can have internet access.  We'd love to have you involved!Yes you can.  It is not rocket science (although if you want to teach rocket science, maybe it can be arranged too!)  It can be done from anywhere.  Locally, a group will be meeting in the Swan Business Building to walk do it together for the first time.  Come help! 10:45 on Saturday!
  3. Also on Saturday we will be finishing Karen's ramp! :)
  4. Sunday is a trail day.  11:15 meetup.  Garbage pickup and cutting downed trees in Bob's Woods.  It has been a rough winter!
  5. Shoe collections this week leading up to Barefoot Bonas day on April 29th.  We are also selling raffle tickets to help fund the shipping costs.  Shoes will go to SolesForSouls.
  6. BR-Dallas had a great weekend last week.  They worked at a the Circle R picnic for the Kids day.  Here are some pictures.
  7. BonaResponds has been helping in Pakistan.  Shaheen reached out to us and we are helping in there.  Last week he fed (partially with our donation) 300 people.  Amazing.  This is an area with many poor and now homeless people.  Want to help?  Donate and make a huge difference.  Each hot meal is about 80 cents. 
  8. Speaking of meals.  We got word this week from Feed My Starving Children that the 108,846 meals we packed are on their way to Guatemala!  
  9. More Good News from Haiti!  In addition to the tutoring program, we heard from the solar installer.  He can install solar electricity into schools for $2500 USD.  It is not as large of system as we had hoped, but it is all we can afford right now.  Goal: 3 schools by fall semester.  (What a great program for a class or business to sponsor!  Electrify a school and learn about solar energy at the same time!)
  10. Starting a new 501c3: (site will be built soon).  It will tie together many of the areas that have evolved since the founding of BonaResponds.  For instance it will work with Haitischolarships, BonaSIMM, Enactus, and Embrace it Africa on microfinance and education.  VERY excited about it!!
  11. Got a truly heart felt request from Jessie in Haiti.  He volunteered with All Hands back after the earthquake.  He is without a job and his house is in great need of repairs.  We are looking to help him.   The initial estimate for home repairs is just under $1000.  The tools we left (ok, the tools JustRespond left there in January) can be put to good use.  Anyone want to help sponsor this building project?
  12. looking for a summer intern position?  Send your resume to Jim.  It is non paying, but will look great on a resume and you can be helping people at the same time!  Would be partially for BR and partially for
  13. JustRespond may be making a trip to Haiti this summer but it is still uncertain.  SO many reasons to go, but money is tight and can only be send it so many directions.  Still deciding.
  14. Tired of reading?  Here is a soundcloud update (3 minutes of what is happening with BR). 
  15. Thanks this week to John and Anne, Zane, Lisa (another great Creole-English dictionary--Amazon only has 5 more.  Pretty cool!  Lets corner the, and Exxon-Mobil for donations!  It takes both volunteers and donors to make this work. 

Thanks everyone!  Hope you are having a great week.  jim

Looking to donate? click here! :)
Want to buy another dictionary for our tutoring program?  Click here :)
Want to volunteer?  SHOW UP!  :) It really is that easy.
Want a summer internship?  Email
Want to make a difference?  Do one or all of the above!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Haiti Updates

Haiti (Photo credit: elycefeliz)
April 8, 2014

The purpose of this is two fold: one to keep everyone up to date on what is happening and secondly to recapture the momentum we had in January.

(all costs are in USD.  1 USD is about 44.6 HGd.

What is happening? A lot! (Yeah I know, poor English).

* We had a HaitiScholarships Board meeting this past weekend.  It was good.  Several new board members who brought good energy.  They are interested in helping raise funds and hopefully raise the amount we can give.  Due to a lack of funds however we decided against opening the program up to new students at the current time.

* BonaResponds and Haitischolarships are teaming up with Achievenet (Normil’s internet cafe) to provide monthly online tutoring.  I am very excited about this!  We are renting the entire internet cafe (8 computers) for a couple of hours on Saturday mornings.  It is a definite Win:WIN:WIN!  (Haiti, Normil, and the students).  I hope it is the first of many similar programs.   We are also considering a program whereby teachers could get training and tips from teachers here as well.  This would improve the quality of classes in Haiti and likely lead to more interaction with US classes.

* A couple of science kits were sent to Haiti as a test case. The student leaders who are running this want to make it a long term project at many schools (and in multiple nations).  SO NEED feedback on them!  We can not stress that enough.  Think of them as test marketing.  Without feedback we will not know what is working and what is not working.  

*  Due to some troubles between the CJM primary and secondary schools, the primary school fell behind in paying their teachers.  A few of us (not BonaResponds) have stepped in (THANK YOU GREG!) and paid the back pay and committed to the payments for the rest of the semester (April and May).  This is a concern as we can not continue to do this long term.  It is our hope that the school will be approved for money from the Haitian Government by the summer and that will pay for the teachers (primary school students other than those in Kindergarten go to school for free).

* Wesley has identified a lack of food for students as the #1 issue holding back the schools.  We are looking into ways to lessen this problem.  In an ideal world some of the 108,846 meals we packed with Feed My Starving Children make their way to these kids as a short term solution.  Longer term we’d love to be able to sponsor a program there and in Gonaives to buy food (good for Haitian Economy).

English: Satellite image showing deforestation...
English: Satellite image showing deforestation in Haiti. This image depicts the border between Haiti (left) and the Dominican Republic (right). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
* We have been working on a few very exciting “green” projects that we hope have impact both in the US and in Haiti (as well as elsewhere!).  The first is a solar heater made with recycled aluminum cans.  Even in WNY where there is limited sun, we have been able to get the temperature well above 200 degrees.  So far the tests have been mainly “Proof of concept” (as Reed would say), but the results have been amazingly encouraging and have led to an expansion of this idea.   We also are testing a VERY easy way to make a charcoal replacement using scrap paper.  This would eliminate many of the garbage fires that burn as well as eliminate the need to cut trees for wood.  It is so easy and cheap that every family could have their own.  Stay tuned.  Again results look VERY promising.  

* I have not heard any updates of late from on the pen pal program.  I hope it is working but typically lack of information is not good news.  Anyone writing? Receiving letters?

* After discussing with a couple of teachers at the Secondary School and George, we plan on going forward with a small solar power project there.  The cost of what we had hoped to get (over $7500) was too much.  We are capping our investment at $2000.  So we will start small.  In the same vein we are still waiting to get an official quote from Robinson on his solar request in Gonaives.  The cost estimate we got did not include shoring up the roof and when it was included the cost was both open ended and likely too much (about $4500).  

*  Five barrels are still in transit containing tools, irrigation kits, school supplies, and books.  They were shipped about a month ago so should be arriving relatively soon. Once they leave our possession we have no way of tracking them.  We will announce it as soon as we know more.  (FYI We paid $2400USD for the last shipment which was slightly lower than initial estimate--that does not count the cost of shipment to the schools via tap-tap.)   Incidentally, this is what the irrigation kits mean to one group in Gonaives: "let me know when you have an update about when the barrels / the Irrigation kits will arrive in Haiti. The irrigation kits will be very important for the participants now as we have just finish with the re-transplanting process and the plants will need a good watering process which the irrigation kits will be very useful for!

The BonaSIMM board rejected our proposed microfinance lending in Haiti (and Uganda) but the result will be a new organization that will be doing it by this fall.  We have already received pledges/donations for $3500 to start in Haiti.  

* GoodNewsHaiti is continuing but at a much slower pace than had been hoped.  We have almost 300 "likers" on facebook, but we are dragging on website and even on participation on Facebook. If someone wants to champion this cause, it would be a great thing!

* On April 29th, BonaResponds is co-sponsoring a Barefoot Bonas day to collect shoes that will be donated to Soles for Souls.  As Haiti is a large recipient of the shoes, this is a good way to help and to clean out your closet!

*  A summer trip to Haiti is still being debated.  This would not be a BonaResponds trip but would be very similar.  Cost is a major issue.  The need is clearly there.  Stay tuned.

* We are aware the HaitiScholarships webpage is currently down. We are working on it. (Anyone want to help/take it over?)

If you would like to help, get involved!  :) you can donate (, collect school supplies, tutor English for a couple of hours a month, write to penpals in Haiti, or much more.  

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Friday, March 21, 2014

This is it! The food packing weekend is here!

BonaResponds (Photo credit: Bona_Responds)
This is it! The 100,000 food packing weekend is here! We have almost 300 volunteers signed up (please honor your commitments! ) 
We are still a few thousand dollars short on the money side, so if you want to buy t-shirts etc (or just make a donation) tomorrow that would be great too!
Remember it is in the Richter Center (right next to Reilly Center on the Bonaventure campus). Come in the NORTH doors (on the side closest to Rt 417 (away from the soccer fields).

A few random things about the day:

* Remember we are making meals: so please be clean. Hair nets will be provided.

* People will be given jobs from labeling bags, scooping foods, carrying more food to the work stations, packing, packing boxes, and moving pallets. ALL are needed. Remember every job is important and without each the process breaks down.

* Strive for speed and efficiency (THINK!) but also have fun. 100,000 meals is a big number and we only have three production shifts. So we need over 33K meals each 2 hours. Given the start of each shift is a video introduction, we will REALLY HAVE TO HUSTLE!

* Feed My Starving Children ( Feed My Starving Children) is a great great group! They will be making the decision where the food goes but where ever it goes I am sure it will be very needed. They have shipped over 244 million meals to Haiti so there is a very good chance the meals will go there.

* If anyone would like to make a video of the day, that would be beyond great! Here is a video of the last one:

* PLEASE show up 15 minutes (or more) prior to your shift to get a name tag and sign in. Again with such a tight production schedule we can not afford to lose work time with forms etc. (you can speed the process somewhat by printing and filling out the waiver form in advance. It is here:

Finally and most importantly, this will be a great day. We are honored to have you work with us to make the world a bit better. We encourage you to remember that this is just one way that BonaResponds strives to "Change the world" and we'd love you to stay around and help us on a regular basis. It is great fun and you will be doing great work!

THANKS EVERYONE! We look forward to seeing you all on Saturday!

(with apologies to the old Kenny Loggins' song)
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Monday, March 17, 2014

Food Packing "Press" release: BonaResponds looking for help to feed 100,000 meals

Want to help make 100,000 meals?  BonaResponds would love your help in doing just that this Saturday March 22..  The  Bonaventure based volunteer organization that is most known for local jobs and disaster response trips is teaming up with Feed My Starving Children to make 100,000 meals but they need a total of 300 volunteers to pack and ship these meals.

This is the second time that the group has undertaken a food packing like this.  The first was after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.  “The 2010 event was great.  It was fun, successful, and  we made over 113,000 meals,” said Jim Mahar the founder and leader of BonaResponds. “It is really a great opportunity to help others without ever having to leave Western New York” added Olean’s Reed McElfresh a BonaResponds volunteer and graduate business student at St. Bonaventure.  

“Planning for this food packing event started back in the fall after the Typhoon hit the Philippines.  We had hoped to make 200,000 meals but even at only 22 cents a meal, the cost adds up and we were unable to raise enough money do we had to settle on 100,000 meals.  We have not quite made it to the $22,000 cost but we are confident we will” said Greg Faughnan a senior chemistry major and BonaResponds student leader.  

Senior Chemistry major Nick Turgeon explained that BonaResponds does not know exactly where the meals go, but that they trust the Feed My Starving Children people.  “They feed millions of people a week around the world.  They are a great group and excellent to work with.”

“Personally I hope the meals go to Haiti” said Lilly Whelan a senior math major.  “I was one of several volunteers who worked in Haiti over Christmas break and I fell in love with the people.  They have so little but were always willing to help us.  Whether the exact meals that we make go there or not, I am glad we can be helping people in need.”
The work day is broken into three two-hour shifts (9-11, 11:30 to 1:30, and 2-4) and is open to all who would like to help.  “Young or old, everyone can help some and we’d love to have you work with us” Mahar finished.  

Volunteers under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.  Volunteers are asked to sign up at  Volunteers should arrive 30 minutes early to sign in and to get “trained”.

The group is also still accepting donations to cover the cost of the meals as well as many of their local projects.  Donations can also be made via or mailed to BonaResponds. Box BY, St. Bonaventure NY 14778.

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Spring Break Trip to Breezy Point

I sent this out to those who had asked via email earlier, but we do have room for a couple others (especially those that will be meeting us there!) :

We will be going to Breezy Point and Far Rockaway--staying in Breezy Point.
 We will be working with Habitat for Humanity again (the last 8-9 trips there we have worked with them).  Sleeping on cots in a church. ( Big news there is now heat and indoor plumbing!)

We will aim to leave 5PM on Friday (will need help packing van as many of the "regulars" are not going--new crew!)   Work will be about from 8:30 or 9 to 6 or 7 most days.  

As a reminder to those of you staying at "home", subways and buses do not run all the way to Breezy.   As I think I will be the only driver, I can not be running back and forth all the time.  SORRY.

we will be returning Late Wednesday (probably 1-2 AM on Thursday) as I have to be back Thursday and Friday.  (if you want to continue doing BR work, there will be jobs Sat and Sunday as normal!)

Given it is still cold, PLEASE dress for cold weather.  We may be working inside some, but I would bet outside as well.  Wear layers. Wear boots. 

here is a past list of what to bring...still works pretty well:

I spoke with Habitat today and there is much work, so be ready to work :)
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"Tattoos on the Heart: Power of Compassion" - Father Greg Boyle - 04/14/11

I just finished ristening to Tattoos on the Heart.  It is a great book.  Indeed so good that upon finishing it I immediately restarted it.  It was that good.

It sounds as much like BR (at least how I see BR) as anything since Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea and Stones to Schools.   Highly recommended regardless of your religious views. 

My version:

1. Better not perfect.

2. Everyone has something to offer.

3. Life is in part skill and work but also luck.

4. Until you walk a mile in their shoes, you have no idea of the real story is.

5. We are working with friends and for friends (or at least potential friends), not just giving things away or doing things for strangers.

Many of the stories in this talk are also in the book.  Now I have to figure out how BonaResponds can work with HomeBoy Industries.


Here is a longer list of our "mantras".  I bet you will like them! 

Here are several NPR stories on HomeBoy Industries.
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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Giving Tuesday request

From our FB account:

In the year since Sandy hit we Bona Responds) have made 12 trips to the NYC/NJ area, and a trip to Oklahoma after their devastating tornadoes there. We have built over 20 ramps (lost count), and sent 10 pallets of supplies to Haiti (soon to be 11). We have helped start a new BR branch in the Philippines, had countless local work days where we did everything from clean streets to paint homes, work on trails, clean homes, and just about anything you can think of. We have spent roughly $4000 at the SPCA for fences etc, We have given out WarmSnugglyBlankets to people with cancer. The list goes on.

BUT we have spent almost no time on fundraising. (actually we tried twice and made less than $100 per attempt). These trends can not continue. Where do we cut? How do we say no?

I am getting very concerned we will have to scale back the food packing event. Our first payment of $15,000 is due in 2 weeks. Help?!? You can donate at (

One of our efforts that has really taken a hit this year is HaitiScholarships. Today however, we have an "anonymous" donor who will match donations today. (See below). But frankly BonaResponds has so many needs right now, any donation to any of them would be very much appreciated: Haiti, local, Bona Responds Philippines, our huge food packing day for 200,000 meals in March-at 22 cents per meal it will cost $45k, WarmSnugglyBlanket, and of course HaitiScholarships. ‪#‎GivingTuesday‬ ‪#‎Bonas‬ ‪#‎Volunteers‬

Don't forget: it's Giving Tuesday! And your dollar counts as two with a donor matching all donations up to $1,000. We're having trouble with our website but you can donate via Paypal: Thank you!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Today's update from the Philippines

Map of the Philippines with Cebu highlighted
Map of the Philippines with Cebu highlighted (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Executive summary:

Things are going well. If in Philippines, we'd love you to volunteer with us. If in the US, a donation goes a long ways to helping those in need."

Longer update:

 From Facebook (like the BonaResponds-Philippines page)

 * BonaResponds reaffirmed our intent of making this a long term program that is working long after the current disasters (earthquake and flood) have faded from the news. Totally expect this to be a permanent part of BonaResponds.

* Discussed their upcoming volunteer plans. From Shamae: we will be taking food to "Pilar Camotes this weekend [where] we will work on feeding in the evacuation centers and maybe start working with Gawad Kalinga."

* Are you in the Philippines? Want to volunteer, they have a ton of work to do and could really use some more volunteers. Leave us a message. 

* We have no plans on going from the USA. We have looked into it, but the cost of one plane ticket is about 12,000 meals. That tradeoff is not worth it in our opinion at the present.

* If you want to help and are in the US or elsewhere, we will gladly accept donations and make sure that 100% of what we get (credit card fees are still credit card fees) is used for the Philippines if you explain where you want the money to go.

* BIG NEWS: Rather than spending money on shipping, we have found a large hardware/home improvement store in Cebu where we will be buying gift cards to set up the tool "library". This is actually HUGE news. It cuts costs, reduces lead times, increases flexibility, and helps the local economy.

* Jen and Shamae's father (who has been drafted to help with the tool library) having been having computer and internet problems, but that is expected and hopefully getting better as Jen is back online today.

* Personal note: BonaResponds volunteers have never ceased to amaze me from the first trip. Bringing hard work, ingenuity, and a willingness to work with others to all jobs. BR-PH and especially Shamae and Jen are truly living up to this high standard. From identifying jobs, working in the field, and looking for ways to partner with other groups to help as many as possible, they are doing a great job!!

Salamat, Jim

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