This week: Stand with UMKC students against sexual assault, donate old summer clothes to help the homeless, canvas the city for future tree plantings and get involved in a literary effort that could save you from another inane conversation about Michelle Obama's wardrobe over lunch with your co-workers.
Remember the days when our attention spans were longer than 500-word blogs and great entertainment was contained between two covers rather than displayed in HD? The Big Read, a regional effort spearheaded by the Libraries of Greater Kansas City, is an attempt to make literature a water cooler subject again by getting everybody to read the same book: Tobias Wolff's Old School. The effort is hitting the airwaves starting this week, when local personalities will read excerpts from the book every weekday from 11:30 a.m. to noon on KKFI 90.1 FM.
Unless you're a U.S. government bureaucrat, you're probably not invited to the International Food Aid Conference in Kansas City this week. But if you're interested in hunger issues, experts like Max Finberg, director for the Alliance to End Hunger and Allan Jury, director of U.S. Relations for the United Nations World Food Program, will speak at a free, public panel from 4:30 to 6 tonight in the Century Ballroom at the Westin Crown Center.
If you live in Johnson or Wyandotte counties, Tuesday is election day. Though voting for a city commissioner may not be as inspiring, your local officials have at least as much impact on your day-to-day life as Barack Obama. Surf your local election board Web site to find out who's on your ballot.
Tuesday evening students from the University of Missouri-Kansas City are marching to "Take Back the Night" and draw attention to rape and domestic assault. Join them at 6:30 p.m. at the UMKC Women's Center or catch up with them at 7:30 p.m. for a rally at the J.C. Nichols fountain near the Plaza.
It seems like Kansas City officials have been talking about their Climate Protection Plan long enough for entire ice caps to melt, but residents haven't seen much action on the ground. Starting this week, citizens can get involved in one of the CPP's initiatives: planting 120,000 new trees in the next decade. From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, help Bridging the Gap survey the city to find viable sites for new greenery. Contact Jessica Gonzalez -- 816-561-1061, ext. 125 or email@example.com -- to sign up.
Jackson County CASA -- Court Appointed Special Advocates -- makes sure kids embroiled in the family court system have someone watching out for their best interests. The agency's critical, annual fundraiser, the Light of Hope Breakfast, is this Friday starting at 7 a.m. at the Hyatt. Click here for more information.
You've read about him on the Plog, now do something to help Richard Tripp. An ambassador to the city's poor and homeless, Tripp's hosting a spring break for Kansas City's needy on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. in a garage at 31st and Baltimore. In addition to volunteers that day, Tripp needs summer clothes and hygiene products for distribution; take donations to the Trinity Lutheran Hospital Garage anytime between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. this week.