by Jessica Storm, SSP Expeditor Manager
It’s no secret that there is a huge houseless problem in Portland and all over Oregon. As a native Portlander invested in making my city better, I wanted to find a way to contribute to a solution rather than being frustrated and judgmental. Over the years, I have tried to jump in when I’ve had the opportunity to act. It’s nice to know I’m doing something with purpose, big or small, that has a real effect on people’s lives.
For over 11 years, my family has been participating in community projects via our children’s schools, St. Rose (Pre-K-8th) and Central Catholic High School. It started with sack lunch and food donation collection, and my husband helping to facilitate the school program. Efforts grew as we built relationships with the donation centers we were helping. After COVID shook our worlds and school became a home-based event, St. Rose specifically struggled to find a way to contribute and still support the community in need. My husband and I reached out to our partners at Blanchet House and learned that care kits and basic items such as toothbrushes, gloves, hats, and socks were the most needed. Working with St. Rose and its families, we put together and delivered care kits during the rest of 2020 and through 2021. Along with continued lunch donations through Central Catholic, this became our new focus.
In 2020, I decided to apply to the MacMiller Giving Fund on behalf of St. Rose. As a member of the Giving Fund Committee, I saw a great opportunity to help Blanchet House achieve their diverse goals. Instead of helping with just care kits and lunches, I wanted to help fill the gaps for their other programs. Blanchet House has meal, clothing, residential and farm programs, all of which benefit the whole person in terms of recovery and community involvement. That’s really what I love so much about them – their mission “to alleviate suffering and offer hope for a better life by serving essential aid with dignity.” That attitude makes such a difference. The core values of Blanchet House are Hospitality, Dignity, Hope, Integrity, Community and Authenticity. As an organization that helps men gain sobriety and learn job skills, create a sense of community and personal responsibility, and gives them hope and a safe place to move into a better future, it is a wonderful place to support. Luckily my colleagues in the Giving Fund Committee agree! Since 2020 I have continued to apply for donations to their cause. And, their staff are always so gracious and appreciative of all the efforts made to help them. I look forward to our continued relationship and passing on MacMiller’s amazing contribution in support of their mission.
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