Tools Can Build…

A really big bridge!

We love to brag on the blue tools and all the great things our member agencies and their incredibly dedicated volunteers can do. For this posting, let’s hear it straight from the park’s mouth! Check out the fun as our pals from Park Pride review thier incredible adventure at Jennie Drake Park. **Recap totally stolen from http://www.facebook.com/parkpride.

Blue Can Build…

Value of tool borrowed: $19,479
Cost to charitable agency: $705.46 Yep, all this for only $705.46!
Tools utilized: power drills and saws, shovels and spades, weed wrenched and McLeod tools, wheelbarrows, measuring tapes, hammers, sledgehammers, tarps, trashgrabbers, generators, work gloves, socket sets, folding tables and more…

Amazing Feats Accomplished: 

On Thursday, October 29th, 150 volunteers from Bennett Thrasher descended on Jennie Drake Park in the northwest Atlanta neighborhood of Collier Heights.

Jennie Drake Park was an undeveloped park (aside from the beautiful park entrance that was dedicated in May of this year, and the City of Atlanta park sign). There were a number of branch lined paths that meandered through the wooded greenspace, and neighborhood children liked to jump back and forth between the banks of the small creek that runs through the center.

On this Bennett Thrasher workday, however, the park was transformed! Volunteers installed 2 bridges to cross the creek, 2 benches built and installed, cleared land and installed plantings and created a new cobblestone park entrance, build a stone switchback path leading into the park, created about 750 of trail through the park (about 1/2 a raised gravel trail and the other half a mulch trail), and planted almost 400 native plants … WHEW!

It was quite a day and so much was accomplished! We’re proud to have been part of such a great partnership.

Thank you Friends of Jennie Drake Park for your passion for this space and for inviting us out for a transformative day.

Thank you Bennett Thrasher for your enthusiasm for hard-work, community and parks!

And thank you Councilmember Felicia Moore for the role you played in bringing this park to fruition and joining us as we turn the dream into reality!

We look forward to our next workday with you both.

We all invite you out to Jennie Drake Park to enjoy this amazing greenspace!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Blue Tooled Gwinnett…

Your friendly tool lenders love supporting the annual Gwinnett Great Days of Service weekend. 2015 marked our 5th year staffing a 7-day temporary lending location in Lawrenceville, GA. Thanks to our sponsors Nordson Corporation Foundation and Maltbie Street Associates, truckloads of blue tools trucked up the highway to serve a diverse range of projects including: installation of birdhouses and specialty bat caves, school campus landscaping, community garden fencing, city cleanups, nonprofit pressure washing and more!

Impact At A Glance
18 projects sites tooled up.
672 volunteers equipped with ATL ToolBank tools.
90 service projects completed. Done. Finito!
Way too many smiles to count.

Katie Morris of The Gwinnett Daily Post enjoyed the weekend at Duluth’s Glancy Rehab Center – check out her recap below, along with great pics of the entire weekend! And, don’ t forget to CLICK NOW and keep even more volunteers working hard for us all.

Blue Tooled Gwinnett

DULUTH — With clear blue skies and plenty of sunshine, volunteer Patricia Parker said Friday morning was a lovely day to work in the garden.

Gwinnett Great Days“This was perfect weather,” Parker said. “It’s almost identical to last year.”

Parker was part of a group of volunteers from WEG Electric Corp., along with a few community volunteers, who got out their gardening gloves and went to work sprucing up the Glancy Rehabilitation Center gardens.

The project is one of hundreds taking place across the county Friday and Saturday during the 16th annual Gwinnett Great Days of Service. Organized by the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services, the two-day volunteer event benefits local nonprofit agencies that provide goods and services to community members struggling financially or emotionally.

This is the second year WEG Electric volunteers have donated their time to Glancy, a nonprofit rehabilitation center specializing in helping people with neurological and orthopedic impairments in Duluth. With the help of $150 in supplies donated by Buck Jones Nursery, volunteers pruned rose bushes, pulled up spring flowers and planted fall flowers, weeded gardening boxes and more.

Parker said it was great to return and see their work from last year, including a stone wall they built in the Glancy garden, as well as the familiar faces of the center’s staff. Mary Anne Lomma was also happy to return this year.

“The staff is just so welcoming and kind and seem excited to have volunteers,” Lomma said.

According to Kelly Dunham, Glancy Center’s Community Relations Coordinator, the nonprofit depends on the help, and the gardens play an important role in the patient’s rehabilitation. In addition to providing a therapeutic atmosphere, the gardens help patients re-learn gardening skills that they can carry with them when they leave, Dunham said.

Parker has become attached to the project over the past two years and plans to return to the facility in the spring with some of her co-workers to help with planting and maintenance.

“You feel like it becomes yours and you want to come back and help maintain what you started,” Parker said.

Gwinnett Great Days of Service 2015Gwinnett Great Days of Service 2015 4Gwinnett Great Daysof Service 2015 2

Ready to keep the blue tools serving across GA? DONATE NOW.

Real Tools Bringin’ Real Progress…

RiverwalkAtlanta

Better Together…

Great Friday of service as Youth Villages Americorps, Friends of Riverside Park and Park Pride put the blue tool magic to work transforming a former incinerator site on Atlanta’s West Side into a 100-acre park. OK, the vision was not completed in one work day. BUT… the plan is in motion and great progress abounds. Volunteers removed invasive overgrowth and construced new trails – all in preparation for the future Riverwalk Atlanta. This amazing park space is located close to the Chattahoochee River and will offer local residents and vistors alike ample opportunity to get active, enjoy nature or maybe even relax with a real book or two! Stay tuned for exciting updates.

Park Pride Atlanta, GAFriends in Service…

We love supporting local parks and working with the Park Pride team. And, special thanks to our photo “model” John, for always keeping the blue tools so organized! Nonprofits like Park Pride and all of their affiliated Friends of Parks teams are THE reason we can stay active, enjoy nature and gasp – maybe even crack open a real book under a balmy sky. This year alone, more than 1,000 volunteers have already put almost $50,000 worth of ‪#‎ATLToolBank‬ tools to work under the direction of dedicated coordinators like John. So, go enjoy those safe and pretty parks. And, when you get a chance, support a nonprofit fundraiser, high-five a volunteer and be sure to hug up on a nonprofit staffer. We can all make an impact, in our own unique way!

Ready to keep even more volunteers working hard for us all?
CLICK and Donate a buck to your Atlanta Community ToolBank today!

Save The Ducks… One ToolBank Booted Foot At A Time!

Zonolite4No one wants to swim in the muckety-muck. And now, thanks to some seriously adventurous volunteers, local ducks can wade free and clear. It was all hands on tools at Zonolite Park in Druid Hills this weekend, as Park Pride, South Fork Conservancy and Community Bucket joined forces to tackle the great cattails invasion.

Clearly, fun was the order of the day. But, the hard work addressed a serious issue, as the spikey and often pesky cattail is competitively superior under stable water conditions. A hostile takeover pro, this crazy plant blocks wildlife and reduces plant bio-diversity – and that’s just not good.

Kudos to all the brave souls who leapt in to save the pond, and kept on smiling even when a little water made it through those ToolBank rubber boots!

ToolBank Tools At Work: 10 Loppers, 30 Rubber Boots, 30 Rubber Gloves

 Ready to keep even more volunteers tooled up to serve? Click and DONATE NOW!
*Photos stolen — err, borrowed from Park Pride

Blue Tool Tippin’ – Compost Style!

Your ATL ToolBank’s fab new intern, Bernie Atkinson, has already mastered the warehouse – so we’ve set her loose with her first #DIY blog! Check out her adventures in compost below and stay tuned for more of Bernie’s Adventures in Tool Land…

Super Easy. Super Stylin’.  How to MakeYour Very Own Compost Bin Out of Pallets!

We are fast approaching the end of summer here in Georgia, and with that, gardening season is coming to a close.  That doesn’t mean, though, that you can’t do something to make next years’ plantings even better, starting right now.  If you don’t already have a compost bin working in your backyard, fall is a great time to start it off.  The last of this years’ grass clippings mixed with some raked up leaves and kitchen scraps make up one of nature’s finest soil amendments so that your veggies can grow bigger, more productively, and, if you’re doing it right, cheaper.

PalletCompost1Pallets are a great source of upcyclable wood, and can frequently be found for free on Craigslist or even on the side of the road.  Be sure, though, that the pallets you have are safe to be used for vegetable gardening.  Look for an “HT” marking somewhere on the wood.  This stands for “Heat Treated”.  The other treatment used on pallets is Methyl Bromide, marked MB, which is a pesticide and fumigant that could potentially leak into your compost.  If a pallet is unmarked, it is best to fear the worst and not use that pallet for a food contact application.

Pallet Compost2For this project, we will be using the following tools and materials:

  • Hammer
  • Wonder Bar
  • Cordless Screwdriver
  • Drill Bit and Phillips Head Bit
  • Clamps
  • Saw
  • Safety Goggles
  • 2” Screws
  • Four Pallets of the Same Size

We also enthusiastically recommend a hardy pair of work gloves and a bucket for catching nails.

PalletCompost4Step 1:  Remove the bottom slats

Start by removing the bottom slats of the pallet using the hammer and wonder bar.  A few gentle taps with the hammer should allow you to finagle your pry bar in and start getting some work done.

Remove all three bottom slats from all four of your pallets, pull any nails still left in the stringers, and your pallet should look something like this:

PalletCompost3

PalletCompost5Step 2:  Remove the stringers from two of the pallets

Next, we are going to pull the two outside stringers off of two of the pallets.  Using the same hammer and pry technique we used in step one, start loosening the slats from the 2X4’s.

To get the nails out of the slats with as little effort as possible, tap each board with the hammer.  This pushes the nail heads out of the wood and allows some purchase for your hammer to pull them out.

At this point, two of our pallets should look like this:

PalletCompost7

PalletCompost9Step 3:  Cut a pallet in half

Next we are going to take one of the pallets we just created and cut it in half.  You can use a lot of different kinds of saw to do this, so long as it can cut a flush line through a 2X4 against a slat.  We used a circular saw.

Step 4: Screw it all together

Take one pallet with three stringers and one pallet with just the middle stringer and stand them up to make a corner.  Square up the edge and PalletCompost10clamp the pallets together.  (We had to set them on another pallet to give us a flat working surface, but it isn’t attached.)

Starting at the top, begin predrilling holes two per slat.  If you try to screw into the pallets without predrilling, the wood will split.  When you’re done predrilling, go back through, this time with screws.

Join another three stringer board to the other side and repeat the predrilling and screwing steps.

PalletCompost11Finally, screw the half pallet to bottom half of the front of the bin.

That’s it!  Put the bin somewhere in your yard and start filling it.  With the occasional turn with a pitchfork, you should have a heaping helping of loamy, nutrient rich compost to add to your gardens next spring.

PalletCompost13 PalletCompst12PalletCompost13PalletCompost14PalletCompost15

Sound the Alarm…

Photo: Grace Lee Photography

Photo: Grace Lee Photography

It’s another volunteer victory in the big city ya’ll!  A whooping 625 Atlanta volunteers hit the streets this simmering June 11th-14th weekend, donating 2,500 hours of service to pretty much every cause you can imagine. And the one thing they all have in common? Blue tools. Lots of blue tools. $26,450 worth of blue tools, to be exact. And just what did all those ToolBank tools do? Check it out:

  • Weeding and Mulching in the Old 4th Ward along the Atlanta BeltLine
  • Facility repair and fresh paint for Heart to Nourish Hope’s DORM program, a transitional housing service for adult males
  • Neighborhood clean-up with the Camelot Condo Association
  • Awesome art exhibit with Dashboard Co-op
  • Community fair with E.L. Connally Elementary
  • Greenspace improvement at Lindsay St. Park with Greening Youth Foundation
  • Fundraising race for Midtown Assistance Center
  • Repair work for Risla Institutes’s farm building
  • Plantings with Trees Atlanta
  • Landscaping for Historic Oakland Cemetery
  • Painting across Gould Street with SEED
  • Neighbor helping neighbor home improvements with Cabbagetown Initiative Community Development Corp
  • Atlanta Bicycle Coaltion raising funds for the Atlanta BeltLine via the Tour de BeltLine
  • Community Bucket all-stars improving the Atlanta Community ToolBank warehouse

AND THE BEST PART?
Total tool use cost to the charitable sector for all this fun – Only $795.00. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Special thanks to Grace Lee Photography for the awesome pics of Community Bucket in action.

Ready to keep even more volunteers working hard for us all? Click and Donate Now – every dollar given puts even more blue tools in volunteer hands. 

Game On! #WithMyToolBank

So, how do you build an entire playground in just one day? Laurel Ridge Elementary knows just how to get it done!

1) Align with top-notch, community lovin’ sponsors.

2) Organize 600+ awesome volunteers.

3) Purchase $17,713 worth of tools… Oh, wait… spend $3,500 to rent enough tools.
OH, WAIT… Stop the sledgehammer – there’s a ToolBank in town! OK, Whew; borrow all the tools you need for just $531.67, and keep them for up to 7 days. That was a close one, folks. 

4) Have a great day building camaraderie and one heck of an amazing play space.

Congrats to the children, volunteers and staff of Laurel Ridge Elementary. Dreams do come true!

LaurelRidgePlaygroundSponsorsLaurelRidgePlayground

LaurelRidgePlayground2

Ready to keep kids playing hard for a brighter future? Click to DONATE NOW!

Why Play?

We’ve all heard it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it takes a ToolBank to build that village and keep it safe, sustainable and strong. When it comes to keeping kids on the move, your Atlanta Community ToolBank is dedicated to supporting local efforts to keep our youth engaged in serious fun. Check out why it benefits us all: 

Developing Leadership and complex problem solving: It all starts on a playground. Right now, future leaders are learning to delegate monkey bar rotation, developing slide rules and even negotiating terms for swing use. Lifting a friend after a fall, sharing gummy bears from a lunch sack, working past a spat – all good stuff!

Enhancing concentration and focus: We all want future drivers in our community to stay on point, right? Those cherubic faces on the playground will be sweet sixteen in a blink. Today, they are learning to stay on task thanks to organized play and games. Learning to follow, and when to break, those basic rules of play that will ultimately govern society for a lifetime.

Building imagination and creative spark: Let’s face it. Most dreams started at recess. It’s where you don that first super-hero cape, the first time you really believe you can fly, that initial inkling of what you just might want to become. Not to mention, all the mud pies you can make.

Maintaining overall health: Stronger immune systems, higher vitamin D absorption, lower obesity rates and all the associated chronic health issues – play is preventative medicine at its best.

Look For The Helpers…

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”  ~ Mr. Fred Rogers

Inspiring to see the compassion and swift response to the recent tornado devastation. Since the arrival of the ToolBank Disaster Services mobile unit in Fairdale, IL on Thursday, ToolBank tools have powered more than 3,000 volunteer hours in support of community recovery. We thank these brave men and women tirelessly giving their time. Such tragedy is hard to process and understandably raises many questions for residents across our city.

“What would I do?”

“How should I respond?”

Developing a personal plan for disaster prepardness is critical to increasing your chances of survival and decreasing risk of serious injury. Join your Atlanta Community ToolBank on April 30th for a one-hour PrepareAthon.  This hands on workshop is free and filled with important resources, and even the vital supplies, you need in the event of natural disaster. Register now: http://atlantatoolbank.org/AtlantaPrepareAthon.aspx

Volunteers in Action Healing Fairdale, IL

19705_904466692906878_4897343683120299960_n 10425033_873605559365305_3541414979137795821_n 11150388_873606809365180_1148628622505959143_n 1606958_873606666031861_7997199393118439538_n 11150271_873606789365182_4101458765979942546_n

What Does It Take….

To build a community garden? Watch Revive Atlanta in action, putting $1,710 worth of blue tools to work. Teachable moments and community building abound – and, the best part? They did it all for only $51.40 That’s the #PowerOfToolBank!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So, what’s the big deal with urban gardening anyway? A big fat multiplier effect, that’s what! Consider this:

THE BLUE TOOLS WORK: On average, ToolBank tools support the construction and ongoing care of 18 full-scale ATL community gardens each and every year. What tool do you think our urban farmers check out most? HINT: Your hands love them…

YOUR KIDS GET BETTER: The CDC reports – nationally, community gardens decrease rates of childhood asthma and lead poisoning by increasing consumption of fresh produce and increased natural immunities to yucky stuff like local pollen types. Anything that fights the yellow and green works for us!

OUR WATER STAYS CLEANER: Community gardens filter our rainwater, working to help lakes, rivers and our groundwater stay crisp and clean.

THE EARTH STAYS GREEN: Local community gardens recycle massive amounts of grass clippings, tree trimmings and all kinds of organic waste. And – it all goes right back into the soil. Circle of life, ToolBank Style!

HUNGER DECREASES: Literally thousands of pounds of fresh produce grown from local community gardens of all sizes are donated to food pantries and hunger alleviation services across Georgia MONTHLY. Yes, not yearly – we said MONTHLY people!

BOTTOM LINE EFFECTIVE: Urban agriculture is 3-5 times more productive per acre than traditional farming. Dang, us city folk do know a thing or two…

WE ALL BENEFIT: Prettier green space, reduced crime rates in lower income areas, stress reduction and improved property values are all directly linked to the establishment of community gardens. And, that effect only increases over time. Well managed community gardens are the centerpiece of thriving neighborhoods in Atlanta’s inner city and a huge piece of the revitalization efforts underway right now in places like Vine City. No matter where you hang your hat, stronger neighborhoods mean economic growth and decreased crime across the board for greater Atlanta.

Cocktails and Ladders - FINAL-FINAL-3-13-2015-convertedSo now you know – community gardens make life better for us all! Ready to harvest? Simply click NOW to buy Cocktails and Ladders tickets, and keep the blue tools gardening away!

Painting With Purpose…

3,263 painting tools checked out this year equals a whole lot of improved shelters, schools and outdoor learning centers! To be exact that’s – 36 freshly painted school hallways, 12 newly minted outdoor classrooms, 124 sparkling benches, 22 bright shelter walls, 68 improved local homes…

Thank you ATL volunteers!