Our society often applauds a bold and brassy leadership style. We expect a “take no prisoners” approach from those in power, and we often view concepts like compassion, thoughtfulness and humility as signs of weakness. Lisa Dodge will tell you that her mouth usually gets her in trouble. That may be true, but her bold approach to helping others is rooted in a place of compassion. Her blend of audaciousness and kindness makes events like Scarves in the Park a success, which is why I believe her latest effort, Feel Good February will go off without a hitch.

When we talked about December’s Scarves in the Park (SITP) event, she was humble and quick to point out that it would not have been a success without the efforts of people like Stacey Kenney and other community members who happily volunteered their time and resources. She tears up whenever she thinks about the event, describing herself as overwhelmed with emotion.

“It was the most beautiful day ever. Everyone’s heart was in the right place. I could not have imagined it would have turned out like that.”

Even though Lisa does not consider herself a community leader, in many ways she is. “It’s not mine. It’s not Stacey’s. It’s ours,” she says of SITP. The policy of inclusiveness is the backbone of her success. Lisa believes that the outpouring of support is proof that if given the right opportunities, people will participate for the greater good. Giving the community a platform for ideas and suggestions was important. “There was not one bad idea,” Lisa said and suggested this was a key reason that so many people participated in SITP last December. “I was just happy with scarves.” Lisa laughs, explaining that community members were responsible for expanding the list of items that could be donated.

“If you give the community a platform, we can do anything.”

Since December Lisa has been contacted by people in need who have asked her for advice and help. She is glad that she has made so many connections within the community because she is now a conduit between people and services. Because she sees a great need in our area, she wants to organize seasonal events similar to SITP. Her next effort will be Feel Good February, which will take place in Ambrose Park on February 27th from 11:00am – 2:00pm.

The focus of this event is to collect “blessing bags” to give to individuals or families in need. Lisa and Stacey have asked volunteers to help assemble and collect the bags before the event to aid in organization. They have asked for both food and toiletry bags, and they hope to collect at least 100 of each from the community. The group suggests asking friends and family to help assemble the blessing bags for donation. You can review the list of items for each on their Facebook page or click the images below for a complete list.

The group is also accepting the following items:

  • Hats, scarves, thermal socks, gloves, coats, rain coats, light weight jackets, umbrellas, adult sleeping bags, tarps, hoodies and sweaters. These items can be new or gently used.
  • There is also a need for ladies, men’s and children’s underwear. These items MUST be new.
  • 5lb bags of dog, cat, puppy and kitten food
  • Canned dog, cat, puppy and kitten food

Just like the SITP event, any remaining items will be donated to local charitable organizations. Lisa explained that not a single item will be wasted, and none of the items are given to organizations that resell them. She laughs, “If I was that lazy, I wouldn’t be running around to pick up donations at all hours of the night!”

Everyone has been invited to the Feel Good February event. She hopes to see community leaders present and involved because she wants people to get to know one another. She notes the diverse group of individuals present during SITP, “We had everyone from bikers to grandmothers helping.” Lisa wants to see this happen again. She hopes that the seasonal events, centered on charitable giving, inspire participation and become something that community members look forward too.

Please join Lisa Dodge, Stacey Kenney and all the Feel Good February volunteers at Ambrose Park on 2/27. They will be there from 11:00am to 2:00pm. They will be handing out the blessing bags and other donations to those in need. Hot dogs, chips and soda will be available to everyone who participates. The group wants to thank Martin’s Grocery for once again donating the food that will be provided that day. If you or your organization would like to participate or donate to this event, please contact the Feel Good February event on Facebook.

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