From the Assistant Director
There’s almost nothing that feels better than taking a hot shower on a cold day. Now, imagine that you were living outside in a tent, didn’t have consistent access to running water, and were living the winter months in a constant state of cold. Man, that shower would feel amazing!
Thanks to our partnership with Clackamas Service Center and our dedicated volunteers, we have been able to offer hot showers to about 20 people a week at our SE Hospitality Center. It has quickly become one of our most popular services, and the smiles on people’s faces as they emerge squeaky-clean and warmed up is absolutely priceless. Not only do the showers help Nightwatch fulfill its mission of truly caring for our friends on the streets, but reports from the Outside In medical van reveal that outbreaks of lice and scabies has drastically decreased as well since the showers have been up and running. What awesome news!
Although this is great news, we NEED your help! Our showers have been running on a skeleton crew of two or three dedicated individuals, and the day will come when they aren’t able to come out every week. We need volunteers to step up to facilitate the shower vans, or else the day will inevitably come that we have to turn away our hopeful guests.
ANNUAL REPORT TO BE PUBLISHED IN JANUARY
The 2016 will be available mid-January. With our Executive Director’s upcoming retirement next June, it will in truth be more than an annual report, reviewing much of the past 10 years of his tenure at Nightwatch.
We will send a link to a digital form of the report to all those on our email lists, as well as put an alert on our Web site (www.operationnightwatch.org) when it is available. (Please let us know if you would like to be added to our email list.)
And also please alert us if you would like a “hard copy” of the report. We will send you one in the mail.
New Board Members
We welcome two new members to our Board of Directors.
Actually, the first is not really new. Bergen Allee previously served two terms on the Board, and one year even acted as our Board Chair. As term-limits are stipulated by our by-laws she had to sit out a year, but now she’s back and sits as the chair of our Fund Development Committee. Bergen started as a volunteer when she was still a PSU student and has remained a vital part of Nightwatch since. She works for Lexus of Portland.
We also extremely excited to welcome Michelle Madison. Michelle is the Events and Outreach Manager for NAMI Oregon, and her enthusiasm for Nightwatch has been evident in many ways. Not only has she helped mobilize her troops to put together gift bags for our Christmas parties, but she has helped us network with other agencies in the community and regularly volunteers at our SE Center.
We are delighted to have them both with us!
THE RETURN OF THE NAMI ELVES
Last year a group of NAMI Oregon (National Alliance on Mental Illness) got together and collected all the items for the gift bags we hand out at our Christmas parties. Then they put the bags together, too—500 of them!
This year, they’ll be doing it again.
The bags are stuffed with a lot of practical items—a razor, soap, shampoo, toothbrush/toothpaste, facial tissues, socks, hats, etc—just the things our guests need.
Thanks to all at NAMI for the gift you give us in the support of our guests!
THE BIG NEWS ABOUT BLANKETS AND SOCKS
The two items that perpetually dominate the top of our Wish List are blankets and socks. That’s because among our guests they are always in high demand and we give out a lot of them.
But for the first time that anyone can remember, blankets have disappeared from our Wish List. Why? Because we became a beneficiary of 3000 of them from the US government.
There is a little-known law that dictates disaster-relief agencies are eligible for blankets stockpiled for the Defense Department. Homeless organizations are classified as disaster-relief agencies. Thus, with the support of City Commissioner Nick Fish, we applied for 3000 blankets and within weeks they were shipped our way.
Three thousand blankets is a mountain of blankets! We there therefore had to buy two shipping containers to store them, and gained the agreement of Resurrection Lutheran Church to host the containers on its property. Then when the shipment arrived, we had to recruit a crew to help us unload all the blankets into the shipping containers, which we did in short order.
So now we have enough blankets to last us a good while. And we also have a source for an endless supply of blankets when we’ll need more after this shipment is gone.
As for socks, we last ordered a shipment of 1440 pairs in May for about $1000. By the first week in August, they were gone. Also, our fund to buy socks was exhausted so it looked like we were going to be experiencing a “socks drought” for quite some time. But two donors stepped up so we could buy another 1440 pairs to address the needs of our guests. It was a fantastic gift, indeed!
But we’re going to keep socks on our Wish List, for the likelihood is that in another two- to three-months, the new supply will be depleted as well. It would be nice to see the socks supply be continually replenished so we would never have to face a “socks drought” again. Anyone can help, either by directly donating socks, or by making a donation designated to the “Blankets/Socks Fund.”