Collaboration for Charity: An Exclusive Beer Release Raises Money For A Cause

As lovers of music, Kelsey Roth & Matt Steinberg of Exhibit A Brewing in Framingham know how important music can be in a child’s life. The brewery, having recently planned an event to release a series of test batches known as “Demo Tapes”, came up with the idea to partner with their local neighbors Avidia Bank & Rise Above Foundation.

“Collaboration with Avidia Bank really started by both of us being involved in the community. We just kept seeing each other and realized, quickly, that we have a lot of similar values as far as what a company needs to do to build community and help their community,” says Kelsey Roth, General Manager of Exhibit A Brewing.

Roth, who designed all of the artwork for the Demo Tape cans, explains the choice of name for the series. “In music, a demo tape is something that is not quite there yet but you want to get it out to the public as a rough draft so to speak.” Connecting this to the brewing industry, Steinberg & Roth chose to release test batches of brews they’d been working on and throw a festival at the brewery to celebrate their release.

Yet Exhibit A didn’t just want to throw a successful event-they came up with the idea to donate portion of the Demo Tape Fest proceeds, and collaborate with Avidia Bank in brewing a special test batch to donate a portion of can sales as well. Their charity of choice: Roth & Steinberg wanted to send a foster child to classes at the School of Rock in Natick through the Rise Above Foundation. To their surprise, the School of Rock also agreed to kick in for half of the tuition.

Steinberg says Avidia Bank was extremely hands on with the collaboration brew, even coming into the brewery to help throughout the entire brewing and canning process.

“Demo Tape 19 is a hoppy IPA with mosaic,” says Steinberg, who was visibly excited about how much fun it had been working as a team. “We joined forces to raise money for Rise Above, which at the time we didn’t realize we shared equal focus on that,” says Steinberg, noticing that both Exhibit A and Avidia Bank had ties to the foundation. “It was kind of a perfect mix of make a beer, raise some money.”

To learn more about the collaboration brew or how you can contribute to the cause, watch the full video.Full video: Exhibit A Collaboration Brew

#FeelGoodFriday: Where One Organization Sees A Chance To Harm, Another Finds A Chance To Help

Many of us heard the story going around last week of Logan Blythe, the 15 year old Boy Scout in Utah that carried the dream of one day becoming an Eagle Scout. He’d worked hard for two years to gain nearly two dozen merit badges, and his Eagle Scout project had been approved-or so, he thought.

When his father, Chad Blythe emailed representative for the Boy Scouts Debbie Roberts to confirm his project, he found that she had chosen to reject it. Her reasoning? His disability, Down syndrome, made him in her eyes “unable to fulfill the requirements needed” to both complete his Eagle Scout project or keep any of his badges. Roberts ordered Blythe to cease all work on his project immediately, devastating the young boy’s family and crushing his dream.

Yet his story doesn’t end there-Logan’s father decided to stand up to the Boy Scouts of America, suing the organization for $1 to prove a point-his son worked just as hard as anyone else, his project had been pre-approved, and he deserved a chance.

Earlier this week, I spoke with Michael Rodrigues, President of Thrive Support & Advocacy in Marlborough, who praised Logan Blythe and his family for their courage in standing up for what is right to pave the path for others who may one day face the same challenge. “He probably has used more of his ability than his peers to this point if you think of Logan and what he is capable of doing and the challenges he faces,” says Rodrigues. “I think rather than discourage someone like that, the scouts should look at him and say, ‘This is what a Boy Scout should be’.”

Rodrigues also pointed out that, ironically, the Boy Scouts of America actually have a disabilities badge themselves that they require each boy to fill to understand the challenges that individuals living with disabilities face.  “The Boy Scouts of America actually have a disabilities awareness merit badge, and if you read through the requirements, one of the requirements is to speak with a Boy Scout who has a disability and ask him about his experiences. I think if they were to fulfill the requirements for the merit badge themselves, they may find the situation very enlightening,” says Rodrigues.

Thrive believes so much in the support of those that wish to become leaders in their community that Rodrigues actually created the “LEAD” team at Thrive, a program that guides its members through participating in various community service projects partnering with corporate mentors from around the area. Each of their future LEADers are living with a disability, and work together with their mentors to plan a large, very public community service project at the end of the program followed by a graduation to congratulate their hard work.

Check out the full story below from this week’s story on WMCT News:

Special Olympics Hosts Annual Polar Plunge

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 12.19.00 PMIn celebration of their 50th anniversary as a movement, the Special Olympics Headquarters in Marlborough hosted their third annual Polar Plunge.

“Polar plunge represents for us the great spirit and camaraderie around athletic competition, because it’s the same joy and energy that comes from participating in sports,” says Megan Hoffman, Director of Community Development.  “This is just an opportunity for individuals that may or may not participate with us already to help give back and fundraise to help offset those costs associated with those competitions. Our athletes are never charged to participate in our competitions, so events like the polar plunge help offset those costs to pay for uniforms, medals, facility fees and transportation so it’s critical that we invite the community to be involved with us.”

The St. Patrick’s Day event was coordinated with the Marlborough Police Department in chilly 30 degree weather-yet despite the cold still raised an impressive $20,000.

Awards were given to those who helped raise the most money by one of the athletes, Ben. “There was a lot of teams this year-we have 9 teams I believe every year, and I just want to say everybody did a great job.”

Lacing Up For a Cause: Boston Bruins Alumni Take On Dana-Farber “Rink Rats”

If there’s one thing the staff at Dana-Farber will tell you, it’s that each of their doctors and nurses on staff are committed to doing everything they can to treat, research and work relentlessly to find a cure for cancer. This includes, at times, unconventional methods-including lacing up a pair of skates to quite literally battle on the ice to raise money.

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Each year, staff at Dana-Farber match up against Boston Bruins Alumni on the Warriors Ice Rink to raise money for the Jimmy Fund. “This is a hockey game, but also they did a lot of hard work to raise a lot of money, which is terrific. That was the most important thing today for me,” said Bruins Alumni player Tom Songin.

According to Robin McGraw, Vice President of the Robin C. McGraw Foundation, Dana-Farber has raised $34,000 this year to bring them to $125,000 in the past four years. For McGraw, being able to raise this amount of money is very personal: what he didn’t tell his team before taking to the ice for the Rink Rats game was that after being cancer free, he recently had been diagnosed that his cancer had returned. “During the game, I reflected on the fact that these guys that I play with are all a team that are fighting to make this go away.”

While it was a very tight game split into two twenty-minute halfs, the Boston Bruins Alumni team did take the win once again this year. To learn more about how you can get involved with the Rink Rats or donate to the Jimmy Fund, visit http://www.jimmyfund.org.

 

#FeelGoodFriday: Happy Mind, Healthy Body

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With the New Year in full swing, it can be tough to stick to those new workout
resolutions while still being able to have some fun. How can you please both your mind that really, really wants a beer and the body you’re trying to sculpt for summer? Medusa
Brewing in Hudson has found a solution to those winter blues, and it’s called Yoga In The Taproom. Yes, you read that right-you can bring your yoga mat into the brewery, where you receive one beer token to socialize once the class is over.

 

Yoga In The Taproom was an idea brought to Co-Founder Keith “Sully” Sullivan, who says the events have been a big hit with the community. “We started with a 20-25 person class that went twice a month, and here we are three years later. We only do it once a month, but now we have a 50 person class,” says Sullivan.

 

Never tried yoga? Not a problem. Medusa’s doors are open to both newcomers and professionals. “What I love about this is that we have people who have never done yoga, and maybe felt intimidated to try it, so this is a more laid back environment,” says yoga instructor Amy Bourque. Most of their beers are even gluten free, catering to those with allergy restrictions and making it an easy transition for those just starting to kick their new year off right. “It’s a great place to try yoga, or maybe just to switch up your environment from the studio-very structured, even flowing class-to something a little bit more lighthearted,” says Sullivan.
To learn more about Yoga In The Taproom or to try it for yourself, you can learn more at medusabrewing.com. 

Clean Out the Basement & Help the Environment? Yes please!

Let’s be real: if you have a basement, you have a collection of stuff that needs to go. (If not, I’m coming over.) Getting rid of those larger items can be pretty expensive and difficult to get rid of, so Marlborough Rotary Club came up with a solution. 

7 years ago, Elaine McDonald recognized that there must be a way for the Rotarty Club to raise money for their numerous causes while also helping the environment. 

“This is open not only to the folks that live in the city of Marlborough, but also in the surrounding communities in the state of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont-any of the communities that support the recycling process,” says McDonald. “The average amount of cars that will come through is about 100-150.” 

The event, now in its 7th year, has both a spring and fall event to dispose of TVs, monitors, large appliances and more, and looks forward to another successful event coming up in Spring of 2018. 

#FeelGoodFriday: Lil’ Eddie’s Ride Brings Awareness to Motorcycle Safety

With summer in full swing, it’s important to remember that motorcycles are everywhere and every time you get in the car it’s worth taking a second look to listen and check for bikes. Unfortunately however, that doesn’t always mean that they are watching for you.

It’s up to both parties involved to do their due diligence to ensure that we’re looking out for each other on the road. According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were over 8.6 million motorcycles on the road in 2015, but also 88,000 injuries and 4,976 fatalities. Definitely #NOTafeelgoodstatement.

What’s being done about it? At Lil’ Eddie’s Ride in Worcester,  organizers are working hard to raise awareness for is rider safety, being cautious at their own ride by bringing in police motorcycle detail and ensuring that every rider has a helmet. Lil’ Eddies Ride was started after the tragic loss of Navy Veteran & Worcester Correctional Officer Edmund Lindberg, who was killed in July of 2010 in a motorcycle accident not far from his home. Every year in his honor, a ride is held to remind all those on the roads they travel just how important it is to stay alert. So far, Lil’ Eddies Ride has contributed over $30,000 to Veterans Inc. in his memory. Right before the ride, each of us stood in silence with a hand over our hearts as the National Anthem played in honor of all those that the close knit group of friends and family attending the ride have lost.

 “Just be smart on your bike, you know? Most bike accidents are preventable,” says Tim Noel, rider and organizer at Lil’ Eddie’s Ride. “To people in your cars, obviously stay off your phones. Especially when the nice weather is out, there’s a lot of bikes around and you’re not always gonna see them. You’re looking for cars, not bikes. And to the bikers, just be smart on the road. It’s a tragedy when anyone loses their life in a motorcycle accident, but it’s even more tragic when it was preventable.”

On a personal note, the entire group at Lil’ Eddie’s Ride will welcome anyone that wants to ride with them like family if you’d like to ride next year (they certainly did for me!). You’ll likely catch me joining them next year with a Go-Pro to document the entire ride.

Full video below:

#FeelGoodFriday: Gluten Free & Allergy Friendly Expo Hits Home

For millions of Americans, planning meals around their allergies is a daily struggle; checking every single ingredient to ensure nothing can trigger a dangerous reaction. From opting for peanut-free Red Sox games to carrying an Epi-pen, one can never be too careful when it comes to protecting themselves from a food that can pose a serious threat. As someone who has spent her entire life being allergic to tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, etc.), my brand new diagnosis of “gluten intolerance” and an allergy to soy was a pain and I had literally no idea where to begin. DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY THINGS HAVE GLUTEN AND SOY IN THEM? SUSHI WITH NO SOY SAUCE? The horror!

Lucky for me and everyone else who wants to feel good, right Worcester events like the Gluten Free & Allergy Friendly Expo have been working hard to shed some light on safe, delicious options.

“All of the samples at the event have the allergens indicated on them. So let’s say that you are somebody that can’t eat gluten, but you also maybe can’t eat dairy and soy. You can find that here,” says Jen Cafferty, Founder of the Gluten Free & Allergy Friendly Expo.

Companies like Smart Flour have gone the extra mile to make sure fast, tasty options are available that are safe from several common allergies including peanuts, gluten and soy. “Let’s see. We are rice free, egg free, nut free, soy free which is huge. Then we do sell our crust separately which is dairy free and certified non-GMO,” says Tonya Phillips, Marketing Coordinator at Smart Flour. As she offered me a slice of pizza, she commented on the “crunch” it made. “Did you hear that crunch when you bit it?” she asked. “Like I tell everybody: even if you’re not gluten free, it’s a healthier way to eat pizza. So you have mixed households a lot where 2/5 people are gluten free so then the other ones end up having to eat gluten free anyway and they’re like, ‘I’m never having that pizza again!’ This one that the whole family can enjoy.”

 Just in case you’re out with friends or traveling and in a pinch, the Gluten Free Media Group also offers a handy app and website that tells you where you can find local gluten free restaurants in your area: http://www.FindMeGlutenFree.com. A couple of local places I’ve found in my travels bouncing between Boston and Martha’s Vineyard are Wolf Den Pizza in Edgartown and Blaze Pizza here in Boston. They both have a gluten free, soy free, nut free crust, but always call and ask to check labels. If they use Udi’s, it’s safe from gluten, soy and nuts.

#FeelGoodFriday: Thrive Support & Advocacy Hosts FREE Fun Fest!

On Saturday, July 15th, Thrive Support & Advocacy held its annual Thrive Fun Fest in Hudson and it was absolutely perfect. (**PAUSE**: For those who have no idea what “Thrive” is, they’re a support & advocacy group for those with special needs and disability that serves as an outlet for them to explore their passions, dreams, and learn how to be the best version of themselves. They’re based in MetroWest Massachusetts, but are happy to welcome anyone who comes to them.)

Volunteers, members and supporters all enjoyed an afternoon filled with activities such as mini golf, face painting, raffles, dancing, and even a dunk tank. “All of us have abilities, all of us have dreams, all of us have a life that we want to live. What we really do is to help some people who need a little assistance getting to the same starting point that everyone else enjoys,” says Mike Rodrigues, President & CEO of Thrive.  “(The festival is) really a day for all of us as a community to get together.”

There was one boy in particular who stood out to me wearing a shirt that read “Autistic Kingdom”, who came up as soon as he saw the camera come on and was very excited to learn about what I was doing with it. “I am a celebrity in my own right,” he said directly into the camera, happy to be filmed and talk with me about his favorite parts of the festival. He explained to me how Thrive has encouraged him to explore his gifts; detailing his many talents (including his love of writing). This boy is just one of many that Thrive has been able to help along the way, and I met dozens of others each with a unique history with the group that prove just how happy this organization makes so many people.

How can you help support Thrive? Visit http://www.icanthrive.org to learn more about volunteering, donating, and how you can help others Thrive.

#FeelGoodFriday: Fresh Start Furniture Bank Receives Large Donation

For Fresh Start Furniture Bank in Hudson, every day is a new opportunity to help a local family in need of making a house a home. On Tuesday Long Automative was kind enough to give those who put so much work into helping others a hand themselves. In celebration of their 90th anniversary, Long Automotive is offering a $10,000 grant to one lucky charitable organization, and Fresh Start Furniture Bank is one of the 10 finalists. Going above and beyond, Long also agreed to donate 100 pillows to Fresh Start as it is one of their most needed items.
“Many of these people, if you’re just starting off, and you don’t furniture-you don’t have pillows,” says Sue Wadby, Director of Fresh Start Furniture Bank. “You’re sleeping on an air mattress on the floor with nothing. If you don’t have a pillow, how do you have a good night’s sleep? If you don’t have a good night’s sleep, how are you a good student? How are you a productive citizen? How do you go to work?”Fresh Start Furniture Bank started in April of 2013, and with the help of now over 75 active volunteers and over 230 agencies offering referrals, the team is able to provide a fresh start to families in need. Wadby, her husband Jeff and their team take the time and care to collect donations, process them, repair any items damaged in transit, and keep the showroom organized.
“We give one fresh start,” Wadby says. “After that, they have to get their feet beneath them because otherwise the same people will keep coming back and there’s no way to break that cycle of poverty.” Wadby explains that their passion is being able to offer others a second chance, from Veterans both young and old to victims of fire, mental illness, and those fallen on financial hardship. To learn more about how you can volunteer or donate to Fresh Start Furniture Bank, visit freshstartfurniturebank.org.