Saturday, October 15, 2011

It Was Just the Right Thing To Do

Day 148 (Year Two)

My fellow Kiwanian, Rich Stewart, is the Director of Legacy at Clover Blossom, an adult care facility with 240 residents in Rochester, NY. On September 1, 2011, his site joined the other seven Legacy’s in town committed to "going greener" by eliminating styrofoam take-out containers and cups in their dining room! Eco-clamshell boxes are now used for take-out food and only ceramic cups or glassware for beverages. Although the to-go option still exists for food, albeit in much smaller containers, to-go coffee is no longer an option their dining rooms.

The initial program was tested at one of the sites, and with great success, it was adopted at the other three.

Originally, the discussions on their to-go policy with the administration, owners and principals centered around environmental, financial and health issues. Besides these common concerns, they also knew that the to-go option meant that many of their residents were not spending as much time in the dining room at meals as they perhaps could by enjoying their second cup of coffee with a fellow resident.

They explored the positive social implications of reducing the take-out options. Could this impact the way people connect - in person - and perhaps build a stronger community? The pilot site answered that question with a big yes!

Rich facilitated two months of on-going conversations with his Residence Council – walked and talked everyone through the pending changes. Viewed once as a potential inconvenience the new policy is now embraced as a welcome change! Residents are grounded in new habits they know are good for the environment - and good for their environment! They are taking more time to talk with each other in the dining room and conversations and relationships are carrying over way past breakfast. What an excellent example of the sustainability triple bottom line in action - people, planet AND profit...well did Legacy!

"It was just the right thing to do", Rich said. He also shared with me that people do not seem to miss the old to-go option. Once in place and after a few weeks, everyone was on board. He also recognized the decision for Monroe County to accept recyclables up to Number 7 as another facet of their decision to go greener....Thank you Monroe County!

Problem. Solution. That was easy!

It is a privilege to know this story. Thank you Rich and the Residents at Legacy Clover Blossom!

Have a Nothing New Day! Kristin