This week the Homeless Families Warming Center opened for the winter season and today city of Portland and Multnomah County leaders gathered with people from the faith community to dedicate the space. Families that moved into this emergency shelter were also on hand to talk with members of this press about their personal experiences with homelessness.
The speakers today included Multnomah County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury, Multnomah County Commissioner Barbara Willer, Human Solutions executive director Jean DeMaster, and The Rev. Brian Heron. I was honored to be invited to deliver the invocation.
Here are the basic facts about this mid-county program:
The Homeless Family Warming Center is a 60 bed homeless family shelter operating November 1, 2010 - March 31, 2011 at Eastminster Presbyterian Church. The church is located at 12505 NE Halsey Street in Portland and will be open every night 7am - 7pm. Here, families with children will have a warm, dry, safe and welcoming place to sleep. Shelter families will be able to acces housing, employment and other services designated to quickly end their homelessness.
Human Solutions operates the center.
Right now the Homeless Family Warming Center has a long list of supplies that are needed. These donations can be dropped off at the church between 7-9 pm each night. Contact Human Solutions if you can donate but those hours don't work for you. Volunteers are also needed.
To volunteer or to donate, please contact Amie Diffenauer, at 503-256-2280 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Recreation Room Attendants: People who want to do evening activities with the families, especially with children early in the evening.
- Food Preparation and Kitchen Helpers: People to pick up from licensed kitchens and bring it to the shelter.
- Mentors: People to read and play with children.
- Donation In-Take Attendants: People to help us recieve donations in the evenings or sort through donations during the daytime.
We especially need non-perishable food and beverage items!
Food Items needed:
Instant and Canned Soups
Powder Baby Formula
Sweet Rolls or Muffins
Vegetables: potatoes, baby carrots, celery, etc...
Fruit: bananas, grapes, oranges, apples, plums, etc...
Gift Cards for pizza places
Cold Cuts for sandwiches
Condiments for sandwiches
Sandwich Bags, Napkins
Paper Plates & Bowls
Plastic Cups and Eating Utensils
Beverage Items needed:
Coffee Grounds, Sugar, Creamer
Hot Cocoa mix
Household Items needed:
Blankets, Sleeping Bags
Pillows, Pillow Cases
Winter Coats for all ages
New Scarves, Hats, Mittens, Gloves, and Socks
New Children's Underwear
Hygiene Items needed:
New Toothbrushes, Toothpaste
Feminine Hygiene Products
First Aid Supplies
Diapers (size 4 & 5)
Invocation At Open of the Homeless Family Warming Center
November 4, 2010
Gracious and loving God,
We gather in this Holy place as people from diverse traditions united together in the belief that to lift up the common good of our community we must begin by taking care of those who are hurting and experiencing homelessness.
We gather to lift up to you the needs of families throughout Multnomah County that cannot afford the high costs of housing, the expense of medical care, or even the rising costs of food. Give all those in anguish comfort and strength, we pray.
We gather to lift up to you the staff of Human Solutions, the people of Eastminster Presbyterian Church, officials from Multnomah County, and all the volunteers who will work here over the winter. Give all those who make this Homeless Family Warming Center possible your blessings, we pray.
We gather, O God, to ask for forgiveness. Homelessness and poverty are a sin - a result of bad policies that have created an economy where the "least of these' are left behind. Help us to build a better community where justice rolls "down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream", we pray.
Soon the warm sun and blue skies will be eclipsed again by the reality of a rainy autumn and a cold winter. Let this warming center be a place of light in the darkness, more than just a place to get warm, but a place to find hope.
With humbleness, we pray.
- The Rev. Chuck Currie