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.
Much of the food that we get for Esther's Pantry comes from the Oregon Food Bank. We obtain very high quality food weekly at a very reasonable price and are able to give our customers a wide variety of choices.
This past week, employees from Our House spent a Saturday at the food bank volunteering to do various jobs, but mostly to put together packets of food for the thousands of people that depend on the Oregon Food Bank to supplement their food budget.
It was a very satisfying day and is one of a series of days that Our House employees will be volunteering for this organization.
We all benefit - no matter how we give back!
Winter is always a difficult season - with the Holidays, and cold and wet weather, and the long nights, it can sometimes be difficult for our clients to maintain a comfortable household and positive attitudes. Since all of our clients are low income, many times they don't have enough money to pay their bills and also buy good food.
Each year, around the holidays, we have many organizations who have food drives for Esther's Pantry and Tod's Corner. Examples are: Imperial Soverign Rose Court, Pride Professional Alliance, Oregon Bears, Portland Leather Alliance, Kivel and Howard, Albina Rotary and others. We also have drop boxes throughout the Portland Metropolitan Area.
Last December we collected almost 7000 pounds of food, and this year we expect to match that.
Along with our Food Bank, we also provide a free thrift store, Tod's Corner. It is conveniently located across from Esther's Pantry has clothing, household items, small appliances and other non-food items. It gives low-income clients with HIV a chance to obtain needed items of clothing or household goods at no cost in a stigma free environment. Similar to Esther's Pantry, there is a comfortable waiting room if clients need to wait to be served.
In addition to Esther's Pantry and Tod's Corner, when clients have no where else to turn and no other funding is available, we provide other services such as:
- Basic Veterinary care or Euthanasia
- Eye exams
- Birth Certificates
- funding for lost ID cards
- basic cremation costs
Pets are a critical part of many of our clients lives. Not only do they provide unconditional love and companionship, but they also can help with those who tend to "isolate" or are suffering from depression. They provide a reason to care for another living thing - that is dependent upon us for their care.
With the help of the Banfield Charitable Trust and several generous veterinary clinics in Portland, we will be able to provide free veterinary services for those of our clients who have pets, but are not able to pay for them.
That along with the availability of monthly food boxes from Esther's Pantry, household goods from Tod's Corner gives significant support to those of our clients who need additional assistance.
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