Giving Back to the Community

by | Dec 30, 2021

In this week’s podcast, we talk to Grant Denton, founder of the Karma Box Project, and Jason Merlis, who walks around his neighborhood cleaning up trash. They both saw a need in their community and were inspired to fill it.

Jason’s community is Sun Valley, and he just got fed up with all the garbage lining the road and littering the park that he decided to pick it up. Just like that. Pick it up. How many of us see a problem and think: “Who’s in charge of that? Who do I call to get that fixed?” or: “I don’t know how to fix that.” Those thoughts are perfectly valid. It often IS someone’s job to pick up trash or fix what’s broken. And it’s not wrong to leave to it to the experts. But what if…?

What if I scanned the area immediately around me the next time I’m at a park with my kids? I don’t have to pick up dangerous items, but it wouldn’t hurt me to grab that plastic bag snagged on a bush and stuff it in a can with the rest of my garbage. What if, rather than stepping over the broken bottle in the parking lot, I put it in the garbage can, or at least scoot it to a curb, out of the way of tires and tiny feet?

Karma Boxes are everywhere in Reno-Sparks. What if I grabbed a couple cans of food or an extra set of gloves at the store and put them in a Karma Box? These are such small actions to take. Jason spends hours picking up garbage. Grant created a whole volunteer model that evolved into work he’s now doing running Washoe County’s Safe Camp. But they started with small actions. Small actions by single individuals.

Not quite sure where or how to start in your community? Volunteer with a local organization like Volunteers of America or Crisis Support Services of Nevada. If you have a heart for the vulnerable populations in Washoe County, we are recruiting for staff to work at the emergency shelter. Learn about the county’s homelessness service program here.