Around Richmond


DIY Volunteer Starter Envelopes / 7th House on the Left / #targetinnercircle

A few weeks ago, the folks at Target called on the members of the Target Inner Circle to give back to their communities as part of Target’s FEED USA initiative. One of the things we’ve always admired about the Target brand is commitment to giving back to the community and those in need. Their new FEED USA line does just that. Each item in the FEED line has a number printed on it which represents the number of meals that Target will sponsor with the proceeds from that purchase. These meals will feed families all across America who are in need. So, if you buy this cool messenger bag, you’re giving a total of 24 meals. Pretty cool idea, right?

FEED USA for Target / 7th House on the Left / #targetinnercircle

While playing around with a few ideas of how Ash and I could give back in our local area, we got to talking about why we don’t physically give back to the community more often. I say “physically” because we do regularly support area charities financially (such as Rebuilding Together Richmond), and we donate things we don’t need/want anymore to places like Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity fairly often as well. Though, we rarely get involved by volunteering our time. But why? Most of the time, it comes down to one simple fact: we just don’t know where to start. By the time we get anything figured out, we don’t have enough time to actually do what we set out to do. Which got us thinking… with people having ultra-busy schedules these days, we wonder if people (including ourselves) would volunteer more and be able to carve out more time for volunteering if the information were easily accessible and already figured out for them.

DIY Volunteer Starter Envelopes / 7th House on the Left / #targetinnercircle

On top of getting ourselves organized for volunteering more regularly, we also wanted to try to inspire others to get involved as well. We ended up deciding to put together what we call “Starter Envelopes”. Inside each envelope is a short letter along with a sheet with all the information people in the Richmond area would need in order to start volunteering.

DIY Volunteer Starter Envelopes / 7th House on the Left / #targetinnercircle

We included information for four organizations in the Richmond area currently needing volunteers and donations. We designed it so it would be a single sheet – easy to hang on the fridge or stick in a family binder. We printed off 100 sheets and put them in brown envelopes with a label Ash designed for the outside.

DIY Volunteer Starter Envelopes / 7th House on the Left / #targetinnercircle

We gathered all of our assembled Starter Envelopes, stashed them in Ash’s Feed Market Bag, put Bentley on his leash and set our for a family walk around the neighborhood. Because it’s illegal to put non-mail material in mailboxes, we decided to place our envelopes on our neighbors’ front porches (Ashley carried along a roll of paper tape for houses with glass storm doors). We also went a step further and hung a Starter Sheet on a few community bulletin boards in the area (there’s one at our grocery store, the local auto repair place and our favorite BBQ joint).

Now that we’ve spread the word, it’s time to swing into action. This weekend, we’re going to be volunteering at the Central Virginia Food Bank (one of the places on the Starter Sheet) and donating 50 cans of beans (their website says they’re in urgent need of canned beans and meat). We’re really excited about volunteering and making it a monthly to-do around our house.

We’re not trying to “toot our own horn” or make ourselves feel better by posting about this. We just want to spread the inspiration that Target Inner Circle gave us to do something for the community in a way we haven’t done before. We really hope you’ll be inspired and give back along with your friends, family, pets, accountants, teachers, pool guys, mail people… yeah, you get the idea.

DIY Volunteer Starter Envelopes / 7th House on the Left / #targetinnercircleClick the image above to download your own Starter Sheets and envelope labels to hand out in your own community.  For you out-of-towners, we also included a fill-in-the-blank version. To make the labels, we suggest printing them on 8.5″ x 11″ full-sheet shipping labels (like these) and cutting them out individually. To find volunteer opportunities near you, here are some helpful online sources: Volunteer Match, United We Serve and Hands on Network.



  • Reply
    July 30, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    What a creative way to give back to the community! This totally inspired me to get to our local soup kitchen this weekend a volunteer for a few hours.

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    Jenny B
    July 30, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Oh, great idea! Ashley’s labels are so cute!

  • Reply
    July 30, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Good idea to get my teens in action. Thanks for posting!

  • Reply
    Lori H
    July 30, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Great idea! I will set time aside this weekend to look at the info. Hoping it includes the info on the local Richmond organizations to help? Thanks!

  • Reply
    July 30, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    What an incredible idea!!! As a self-professed blog addict I’m sometimes amazed by the amount if time, talent, money, and energy we all put into making our beautiful houses ever more gorgeous….I never EVER post on blogs but this movement you started was certainly encouragement worthy!!! Way to go!!

  • Reply
    Alexa @ travelmiamor
    July 31, 2013 at 7:51 am

    I love that Target is helping people in the USA. So many charities help others in other countries when people in our own communities are suffering! Thanks for the post!

  • Reply
    Megan @ Rappsody in Rooms
    July 31, 2013 at 8:38 am

    So inspiring and such a great idea!!

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    July 31, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Love this!! I work for my region’s food bank. Hunger is such a basic need and unfortunately 1 in 6 Americans struggle with it. Sometimes the best donations are those “in-kind” services you have to offer and your design skills would be an amazing asset to your local food bank. Great work, guys!

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    July 31, 2013 at 10:56 am

    This is SO neat! I love Target too and how they help others so often. So nice to shop and give back at the same time.

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    Strange's Garden Center
    July 31, 2013 at 10:57 am

    What a GREAT idea, Ashley & Greg! What an inspiring way to get involved in Richmond!

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    Rach M
    July 31, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Printing a bunch of these out right now! #RVA

  • Reply
    July 31, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Very creative way to pass along the inspiration. Good job guys!

  • Reply
    July 31, 2013 at 10:59 am

    I’m printing out a blank one to put in our family binder. Thanks for the site recs at the end of the post. VERY helpful!

  • Reply
    Mia M
    July 31, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Way to go Target! And kudos to Ash and Greg! Thanks for the valuable information and inspiration.

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    Gloria K
    July 31, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Thank you! This has inspired me to get my 14 year old twins involved in the community so they can understand the value of helping others and so they can appreciate the blessings they have.

  • Reply
    July 31, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    I love your blog and I think volunteering and donating are great things, but sorry, this just feels like a Target PR stunt. The vast majority (if not all) the products in their Feed USA Line are made in China and other foreign countries. I find that ironic and sad.

    Maybe Target should offer more products that are made in the USA (they are pretty good with plastic storage containers and candles being american made) which would help encourage local/national job creation and, in turn, reduce the need for things like food banks and shelters.

    You don’t need to buy a special bag or shirt to help a food bank. Donate or volunteer directly through the source! Just my two cents.

    • Reply
      July 31, 2013 at 2:26 pm

      Sure, it would be nice if these things were all made in the US. But if you’re already planning to buy a bag or plates or a set of canisters or whatever, you can choose a FEED product and help a family get a decent meal. It’s a great way to give back with your everyday shopping. For other ways to give back, check out the “Hands on Helping” section of the Target FEED site for volunteer opportunities in your area. Thanks for your input!

  • Reply
    July 31, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    This is awesome, such a great idea!

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    July 31, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    I’m in love with my Feed bag! I bought three different ones and a set of their oversized coffee mugs. My eye is on the white canisters now lol!

  • Reply
    August 1, 2013 at 10:45 am

    I think volunteering at a Food Pantry is a great idea, you will be surprised how much fun it is. In regards to buying cans of beans to donate, make sure you check with the food bank first. Most food banks have purchasing agreements with food distributors and get huge discounts for buying in bulk. You could spend $50 on 50 cans of beans at the grocery, or donate $50 to the food bank where their buying power would turn that $50 into almost $300 worth of food. My local food bank in FL turns every $1 donation into over $7 of food. Just a thought.

    • Reply
      August 1, 2013 at 11:01 am

      Oh, great tip! Thanks!

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