It sure has been a couple of busy months since our last report in August!
The Our House Dinner Series “Dinner at My House for Our House” kicked off in July but it’s not until August and beyond that we see the full force of these amazing events. The vents include dinners at people’s homes, venues, wineries, and other locations. “Dinners” can be something as exquisite as a 7 course dinner to creating cupcakes or riding a bike around Sauvie’s Island! 100% of the proceeds go back to Our House and the hosts putting on the event take care of all costs. The dinner series helps us with our programs Esther’s Pantry, Tod’s Corner, and Neighborhood Housing and Care Program (NHCP). It is not only an opportunity to raise funds, but to introduce people to these programs and services that they may not be aware of.
In September Our House was awarded as one of the top ten workplaces to work by the Oregonian Media Group, and number one by the Oregon Business Magazine's 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon 2015 for medium size businesses. This recognition was greatly appreciated by staff, board, and all those associated with Our House and a testament to the people at Our House.
Our Garden Project has been put to sleep until next year. The beds have been covered with leaves and will start again next year.
Looking at the end of another summer and what a summer it has been! The garden has been growing like crazy as has the support that we have seen.
Our House ‘s resident Therapeutic Garden Director planted some seeds and reaped the bounty of a new position at the Multnomah County HIV Clinic; she was also accepted to Portland State for the Master’s in Public Health Program starting in September. Her past years of working in the garden has helped establish the program that it is now which includes a reference manual on how and when what needs to be planted. She also was instrumental in getting volunteers, staff, residents and clients involved with weekly harvests and helping teach people the benefits of outside gardening.
Though we have said “good-bye” to our resident green thumb fear not as we have “hired” a volunteer who has just as much passion. He has helped take over the helm and continued the great work that was started. The residents / clients continue to thrive as we start to get ready for fall planting and cleaning of the summer bounty.
There's a line in a Bob Marley song that says "Sun is shining, weather is sweet, make me wanna move my dancin' feet" That's what Thursday’s feel like around here as the Community Garden Group works with their our own rhythm outside all afternoon. Several new garden volunteers and interns have joined us, and we received compliments from the interim medical director from Health Share!!!! We’ve also sent out several request letters to local garden outlets and organizations to help us with the garden and have received, so far, a gift certificate for 12 4" vegetable plants arrived in the mail from one of the outreach letters we sent out last week!!
The Our House Garden provides sustenance and creates a place of serenity and healing. Residents and volunteers plant and maintain the garden to provide produce for the kitchen and peace for the mind.
April showers may bring May flowers but until then we need to first start working on the garden and get it ready! And this is exactly what Erica Crane, Our House BSN ACRN, has started to do. Erica is in the process of reaching out to our community partners to see where we can get support for plants and tools that will be needed for the garden this year. The residents are excited as we start the gardening season and have already started to clean out the beds in preparation for the Spring weather to come. Erica is helping residents understand the importance, and procedure, needed to make this year’s garden a huge success.
In January we had approval for a student from PSU to complete her organizational experience project with the Therapeutic Garden Program. Her focus will be on program design, evaluation, and policy. She will help with many of the unmet needs: identifying these and opportunities for data collection, creating a framework from which we can all understand the steps in the process and streamlining communication. She will be here from March until August providing 150 hours of work. We are very excited to work with her as she brings experience of being a project manager and garden programmer to the table.
As the holidays come up we look towards our community partners and supporters to help those that would otherwise not be able to enjoy the holidays. In the month of November we had several 3rd party events where donations to Esther’s Pantry and Tod’s Corner were collected with the barrels that we have. Two of our local establishments, Embers and Crush Bar, collected over $325 and 400+ lbs. of non-perishable food and personal care items. On top of this we received over $700 from The Imperial Sovereign Rose Court of Oregon, which was used to buy over 30 meals for our NHCP clients.
The garden club has been working on winterizing the garden by filling dirt where needed as well as other tasks. As we look towards the winter months, they have started to plan what will be planted in the spring. Our head gardener, Ericka Crane, will start the process of contacting individual donors and organizations that helped this year in hopes of getting them to support us once again.
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