by Pete Mazzaccaro
Five years ago, Night Kitchen Bakery owner Amy Edelman and a group of other Hillers interested in environmental issues started Green in Chestnut Hill (GrinCH) with the idea of spreading awareness for recycling around the neighborhood.
Now the organization runs several recycling events a year, hosts a free Christmas tree composting event, organizes a row of environmentally-minded vendors at both annual art festivals and provides a scholarship program called “Green Warrior.”
It’s still a small group, Edelman said, with only eight board members and an annual budget of less than $8,000, but with 68 tons of recycling to its credit since 2009, GrinCH is a substantial part of the many institutions that make up the civic life of Chestnut Hill and greater Northwest Philadelphia.
“I would say that GrinCH is providing a service to the community that it was hungry for,” Edelman said of the group’s success. “We’re providing an awareness around issues that weren’t really being addressed.”
It was GrinCH that took the lead into getting Big Belly solar trash cans on Germantown Avenue.
“That’s when I really saw how much people here were really behind what we were doing,” she said. “The support for that was really something.”
That said, Edelman said she’d still like to see the organization grow.
“We’d love to get more volunteers and expand the programs we have,”Edelman said. “We’d like to grow the Green Warriors program. We’d like to get into more public schools. We’d like to grow beyond Chestnut Hill if we could.”
The Green Warrior program has had, perhaps, the biggest effect on the neighborhood. The fund helped add money to a budget for Our Mother of Consolation Parish School’s greenhouse for its planting program for students.
The most recent grant was awarded to an Springside Chestnut Hill Academy Sophomore Rekha Dhillon-Richardson, who is hosting a Climate Change Summit in April for girls interested in working on the issue.
“People are connecting the dots,” Edelman said. “They see the effects of fossil fuels on the Earth and the severe storms and the effects of drought on food prices in the supermarket. They see an unpredictable future for their kids and want to do something positive like recycling electronics, installing a water barrel at their homes and educating their kids. GrinCH offers these opportunities on a local/grassroots level. People thank us at all of the events for organizing them.”
Edelman said the GrinCH board meets four times a year and works at the organization’s events. She said the organization also has a lot of opportunities for students looking to get community service hours. The current board of GrinCH includes Edelman, Noreen Spota, Zeta Cross, Linda Rauscher, Lana Corrales, Rena Harris, Lee Meinicke and Mansura Karim.
Anyone interested in helping at an event or being a part of GrinCH can email the organization at firstname.lastname@example.org.