Pillows for Puppies: Donations from Pillow Fights!

Leveraging the power of flash mobs for good since 2010

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NYC Pillow Fight: April 2, 2011

This year Pillows for Puppies was out in force at the New York City pillow fight on April 2. Our fifteen agents collected 1,050 pillows for five local non-profit shelters.

Our 17-foot truck was filled to the brim with pillows donated from generous participants in the pillow fight.

Keith and I delivered 1050 pillows to five non-profits in the Bronx and Brooklyn which serve marginalized populations. (I don’t have their permission to use their names, because their press officers weren’t around when I thought to ask on Friday - oops!)

They said thank you so much for our thoughtful donations. Because of our amazing Pillow Agents, 1050 people will rest a little easier during particularly tough parts of their lives.

Having a little fun between drop-offs

The Wall Street Journal gave us a mention

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Success! 200 pillows donated and Justin Herman Plaza left clean!

Pillows for Puppies had two missions this year at the San Francisco Valentine’s Day Pillow Fight: Donating pillows to charity and cleaning Justin Herman Plaza to make the pillow fight self-sustaining!

We collected and donated 200 pillows to the Sisters of Mercy, who distributed them to their low-income housing residents today. Thank you for the kind donations, pillow fighters!

We coordinated 30 volunteers, through facebook and on-the-spot requests for help, who stayed until 10:30pm cleaning the plaza. Dozens of participants also filled a bag or two with fluff before heading home, after a kind request from our volunteers. We filled 150 big trash bags with the stuffing from burst pillows and left a very light smattering of feathers, rather than the usual 4-6 inches of fluff, feathers, and empty pillowcases. Next year we’re bringing power washers of our own - that’s all there was left to do!

Our volunteers reduced the event cost for the city from $16,000 in 2010 to $3,500 in 2011, according to numbers provided by Gloria Chan of the DPW [edit - the $35,000 previously cited turned out to be incorrect: it was the 2009+2010 costs combined]. This 78% cost reduction is due to our amazing volunteers and the participation of pillow fighters in cleaning up after themselves when offered trash bags and loving encouragement to pick up.

Here is Justin Herman Plaza mid-fight, ankle-deep in fluff and discarded pillows.  This is the condition it’s been left in previously. (Photo courtesy bapnoyndamix)

This is Justin Herman Plaza after we finished, before the power washing was done by the Parks Department (Following photos courtesy Jennifer Small):

And some of our volunteers in action! (I didn’t take many pictures because I was cleaning, too!)

The Department of Public Works employees, the Parks Department, and the local Police Department were happy to see us collecting donations and cleaning up, and let us borrow brooms and rakes. Thank you for being accomodating, Departments!

The fountain had been drained for regular maintenance and was not clogged this year, which was a major source of damage in previous years. We’ll try to coordinate a draining each year with the DPW.

What a great evening! Thanks for having us San Francisco. We’ll see you again!

Look, we’re in the blogs! Neat!

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San Francisco Pillow Fight!

Pillows for Puppies is coming to SF for the Valentine’s Day Pillow Fight! We will provide collection points for participants to donate fiber-filled pillows to charities. In 2010, NYC pillow fighters donated 1,000 pillows to great causes. That’s $10,000 worth of fluffy love. We know SF can top that, easy.
We will also distribute hundreds of trash bags for participants to help clean up after the fun. Our goal is to do good and leave the public space clean!
Two new rules:
1. Bring FIBER-FILLED pillows to donate (shelters do not take feather pillows due to allergies).
2. Donate to one of the Pillows for Puppies collection points.
3. Help clean up - we have infinite trash bags and gloves for you.
4. Enjoy the warm glow of two good deeds in one day.

Please email us for information or to volunteer. We love to make the pillow fight as positive for the city as it is for the participants!


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Union Square NYC: 2010

Pillows for Puppies has two purposes:

  1.  Provide collection points for pillows to be donated to charities.
  2.  Encourage clean up after the event, providing trash bags, brooms, and loving encouragement to participants. This is a disrespectful way to leave the space.

At the 2010 Newmindspace Pillow Fight in Union Square, I decided it was time to do something with the leftover pillows, and to clean up the mess. I coordinated with the organizer of Newmindspace, who loved the idea of collecting pillows for donation to animal shelters. The organizer asked participants to bring fiber-filled pillows instead of feather pillows, so they could be donated.

Pillows for Puppies, totally run by volunteers, formed three donation stations at exit points, to catch pillow fighters as they left the battle zone:

(Photo by Haydur Agha)

I thought we’d collect 200 pillows.

(Photo by Haydur Agha)

(Photo by Haydur Agha)

We collected 1,000! That’s $10,000 worth of donations to charity!

After delivering the 200 pillows the animal shelters had storage space for, we had 800 left. We parked our truck in Bushwick, opened the cargo door, put ads on craigslist and freecycle, and invited everyone to come get free pillows. We donated to animal shelters, homeless shelter’s, battered women’s shelters, individuals, and city agencies. We had just a few left by the end of the weekend, which were too raggedy for use. Those we did have to put in the trash.

I can’t wait to do this again next year, with a bigger truck!

(Photo by Haydur Agha)

As the second part of our two-part purpose, we provided loads of trash bags and brooms for clean up. I was happy to see so many people step up to help clean up!

(Photo by Haydur Agha)

We left the park nearly spotless, with all the leftover pillows and bags of trash in one spot for the waiting Sanitation truck to pick up. Thank you, wonderful volunteers!

(Photo by Haydur Agha)

Look how clean it is behind us!

(Photo by Haydur Agha)

Email PillowsforPuppies@gmail.com to volunteer to help in 2011 in SF or NYC!

Filed under pillowsforpuppies cleanup unionsquare nyc