Last month we celebrated our 25th Anniversary. We started in 1988 in a 5 bedroom house, and now operate a 14-bed 24-hour specialized residential care facility. Other services include our award-winning Neighborhood Housing and Care Program where we serve high-need people in their homes, Esther's Pantry (food bank) and Tod's Corner (free thrift store). Many of our staff, volunteers, donors and clients were there to help us celebrate, present awards to people who gave of themselves over and above any expectations, and honor the clients who passed away during this past year.
The Oregon State legislature allocated $350.000 towards the Neighborhood Housing and Care Project at the end of the legislative session. With this money we will strengthen the infrastructure of our program by adding some administrative staff as well as upgrading some equipment, and adding to funds for Caregiver training. We will use this money as leverage to get additional funds to expand our services to a larger population of people with HIV as well as their caregivers. We are currently working with CareOregon and FamilyCare to address the needs of their highest utilizers of services and will work out a funding model that can be sustainable for these services in the future.
Last month Walmart presented us a check for $35,000 for our Food and Nutrition programs. Over the past few years, they have given us a significant amount of money for our food programs. We have used it to provide healthy food for both Esther's Pantry as well as daily meals for Our House. Local management of Walmart will be working closely with us to provide additional benefits for our organization. With their support we can continue to run a safe and stigma-free foodbank for HIV+ individuals.
They are one of several organizations who continue to support Our House and our food and nutrition programs. We also get groceries, baked goods and fresh produce from local Whole Foods and New Seasons grocery stores.
Each year the residents and volunteers at Our House create a resident vegetable garden to supplement the food that is prepared for them with freshly picked vegetables and fruits. Much of this harvest will also go to our food bank, Esther's Pantry to provide others with HIV to supplement their food supply.
This year we collaborated with Growing Gardens - a non-profit company in Portland that provides materials and expertise to build gardens throughout the metro area. With the help of significant fundraising from our donors, we were able to build planter boxes that are wheelchair accessible so that all of our residents can plant, nurture, grow and harvest from the garden.
All the people involved in this project are excited to see what this new garden can produce. It not only enhances the lives of the residents, staff and volunteers, but also adds to the beauty of the neighborhood and the environment.