Oct 20, 2016

My heart fills with joy...

Warehouse staff wrote Haikus at our last meeting!
Warehouse staff wrote Haikus at our last meeting!

I'm reflecting this morning on how meaningful our work is, and how grateful I am for each of our donors and your role in helping the Warehouse be better each day.

I was in Tualatin yesterday morning and was impressed by the full Warehouse, our rock-star crew of staff and volunteers, and the beautiful store. When I returned to the Portland Warehouse in the afternoon, I heard cheers from the office area – we had just received a big grant from the Maybelle Clark Macdonald Trust. 

Not long after, our Program Coordinator Cristian asked me to come out into the Warehouse to meet a family. I took the photo (below) just as the garage door was closing at the end of a full day.

This mom and her family of 7 fled from California to remove themselves from the violence they were experiencing in their city. After being homeless for over a year, they were so grateful to have furnishings. You could see the peace and ease in her eyes. The young boy, although shy, explained to me how they were "going home" to "set up all their new things."

Goodness knows we face challenges every day – an unexpected rainstorm ruined our hiking plans, your computer won't turn on (GAH), my computer crashed (GAH #2), your car broke (whaaaat??), we had to turn down a frustrated donor, you have ants in the kitchen (EGAD!), or perhaps we served a really challenging family at the Warehouse...

And at the same time, on the other side of every road bump, there is a person or family whose life has become exponentially better because of this work. I wanted to send this note to hold a little extra space for our successes, even the seemingly little ones. Serendipitously, I stumbled across this quote this morning:

"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Yes.

Happy autumn, everyone – and thank you for supporting your local furniture bank.

Rena

Jul 27, 2016

This is what dignity looks like. This is what we do.

From our goofy faces to you, the staff say THANKS!
From our goofy faces to you, the staff say THANKS!

Dear Friends,

Did you know that Community Warehouse turned 15 years old this June?

In the past fifteen years, the Warehouse has redistributed far more than chairs, beds, and can openers. Furniture is our currency, but what we really provide is health, happiness, and housing stability for thousands of neighbors in need annually.

Community Warehouse impacts a breadth of important issues, including:

  1. Social cohesion: client families feel cared about and supported by the community
  2. Sleep: we are the only agency in the region redistributing beds
  3. Food security: we provide kitchenware so families can cook healthy meals
  4. Housing retention: families are more likely to remain in furnished homes
  5. Financial prosperity: once we stabilize a family in their home, they can focus their resources on education, food, employment, or rehabilitation

It is truly a community effort. In the past 5 years alone, you have helped us bring stability, dignity, and hope to 37,000 people.

Here is one small story of a family who accessed the Warehouse this spring (narrated by Client Services Coordinator Vicky):

“A young mother who lost everything when she fled a domestic violence situation came in with her father. When he walked into the Warehouse, he was visibly taken aback. Before me stood a big burly man moved to tears over what his daughter was about to receive.

As we loaded a gorgeous kitchen table, a comfy couch and love seat (very heavy!), bunk beds for the kids, a recliner for mom, and boxes full of kitchen stuff and bedding, he repeatedly uttered ‘I just can't believe something like this exists.’ He gave out bear hugs, high fives and so many thank yous.

This is what dignity looks like. This is what we do.”

Your support makes a difference at the Warehouse, every day, in big and little ways. Together, we are providing comfort and stability to those who are in most need of it.

With sincere appreciation,

Anna

Happy kid helping pack his family's furniture
Happy kid helping pack his family's furniture
Apr 28, 2016

A small window of joy...

A week or so back, I was in the midst of a report when I heard giggles floating through my office door. I had to investigate. I had barely stepped onto the Warehouse floor when this little fellow appeared and promptly stuck out his hand to introduce himself: "Hello!" 

I smiled big - so mature! We were soon moving about the Warehouse while he helped carry the smaller goods that his family had selected to their truck. He was quite the gymnast, and was very proud of his ability to do the splits. Whenever we came across a clear spot on the floor, there was a mini performance – he would drop to the floor with great enthusiasm, then bounce right back up. Oh, to be five again! 

When I returned to my office, I was still smiling. I glanced down at the last image I took on my phone: the young boy was walking confidently toward a full truck, his new chair in tow. 

I felt warmth well in my heart at the significance of this small window of joy and hope....a window that may extend into the rest of his life.

Our services positively impact food security, housing security, physical and mental health, family health, educational achievement, and much more. Thank you for helping support basic needs for families and individuals in our community.

Warmly,
Rena

 
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