In March we received a $7,500 PGE Foundation Award toward Our House’s food program Esther’s Pantry. We utilized the services of dieticians to ensure that the meals that we serve at our residential facility (Our House) are healthy and meet the needs of the people with HIV. In addition, we also strive to provide fresh fruits and vegetables as well as healthy cuts of meats at Esther’s Pantry so that each monthly food box contains adequate nutrition. With Spring here we have started the planning stages of the garden that we have on site. Our garden was is built at different levels so that those with different types of acuity are able to still enjoy the process of gardening. We use the garden for therapeutic purposes for our residents but also supplemental food for our kitchen and pantry. Many of the seeds and plants have been donated by local establishments that we have created relationships with. We are also in the process of looking for a volunteer Garden Manager who will work with residents and staff for 8-10 hours per week. This position will help with planting the garden, weekly care, and harvesting of the vegetables and fruits that will grow this season.
Last year in December we had a number of different organizations who did food and coat drives for Esther's Pantry and Tod's Corner. One of the groups that was part of the drive was Pride Professional Alliance, a networking group, who had several of its members who had our barrels in their own businesses. We were also the recipient of food and clothing drives from third party events produced by the Portland Leather Alliance, Starky's Bar & Restaurant, Hobo's Restaurant and Lounge, The Imperial Rose Court and several others. The Imperial Rose Court also provided Thanksgiving turkey dinners to all of our clients that are part of the NHCP (Neighborhood Housing and Care Program).
New Seasons and Whole Foods continues to provide high quality donations to Esther's Pantry on a weekly basis. These donations are used by over 200+ monthly clients and consist of food that typically are not affordable to our clients.
MAC Cosmetics presented us with a $25,000 check from sales of their VivaGlam product. This money is for our food and nutrition programs. MAC also participated in a World AIDS Day event for the Our House residents where they made Christmas cards for their family and friends.
Last month Joel Goldman, the Managing Director of the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation made a site visit to Our House and Esther's Pantry/Tod's Corner after giving us a generous grant. Joel also brought Ms. Taylor's grandson and granddaughter to join him on a tour. They were able to chat with volunteers, staff and clients, and took some great photos for the Foundation. One of the Esther's Pantry/Tod's Corner clients was able to share her amazing story with the group.
The MAC AIDS Foundation also gave us $25,000 to help fund Esther's Pantry and Tod's Corner this month. This amazing gift is a continuation of their ongoing support of Our House.
We are so very grateful for donors like these who make it possible to keep our food and nutrition programs running.
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.
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