THANKS TO THE HELPER ELVES FROM NAMI!
Our guests have gone away from our Christmas parties without Christmas stockings. They have been stuffed with a lot of practical items—a razor, soap, shampoo, toothbrush/toothpaste, facial tissues, sewing kits, etc—with the stockings themselves being real socks they can wear.
This year, the stockings will take the form of gift bags which are being compiled and put together by volunteers from the Oregon chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They are striving to have enough to grace us fully with 500 gift bags!
NAMI has become a great partner with Nightwatch, and we thank them for their help.
THE GIVE!GUIDE CAMPAIGN IN UNDERWAY!
Once again, Nightwatch has been privileged to be included among 143 Portland-area nonprofits in Willamette Week’s holiday Give!Guide.
The campaign is underway and by midnight of December 31, we hope to raise $25,000 through the campaign (that’s an increase over the nearly $15,000 goal we raised last year). Everybody who gives gets something in return (other than the warm feeling in their heart). All donors received a coupon-laden Chinook Book for gifts and discounts from local businesses. And donors of $1000 or more receive gift bags of appreciation that include wine and other goodies.
Give on special “Big Give Days,” and you will be entered into drawings for extra-special gifts, including Blazer tickets and vacation stays.
Keep up-to-date as to upcoming gifts being offered, as well as progress in the campaign by frequently checking in to our Web site, www.operationnightwatch.org. (You’ll also find links to donate there.)
LOCAL BANDS STAGE NIGHTWATCH BENEFIT, DECEMBER 6
Alder Street Records and RLM Entertainment have put together the first annual "Keeping Portland Warm" event to collect blankets, coats, and warm clothing for Nightwatch on December 6.
If you're a party person, put it on your calendar. If you're not, we still need blankets, so however you can help in that regard would be most welcome.
CHAPLAIN’S NOTES: “Comfort"
Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her.
–Isaiah 40:1-2a NRSV
When we think of comfort, we might envision a long, all-expenses-paid stay at a five star resort. Perhaps a private stretch of white sand beach, sleeping quarters opening onto a secure courtyard with sliding glass doors that could be opened to gentle night breezes under starry skies. A daily massage…
Our downtown hospitality center is hardly that picture of comfort as the aging facility groans and crumbles under the weight of over-use. Definitely not five stars! But starting with the October 31 monsoon, there has been an extraordinary amount of discomfort for folks on the street. It hasn’t let up. People who otherwise could stay warm cannot do so when everything is wet. Predictably, with the sweeping of campsites by ODOT and the police, other folks who had the essentials have lost them to theft. It’s worse than having your bike or your car stolen. It’s having your home stolen—all while being sleep deprived and suffering from many kinds of physical ailments, some life-threatening.
It’s humbling to be able to offer someone a hot meal, dry socks or a blanket as they prepare for anoth-er long night outside. I know these crumbs of comfort won’t last very long. Still, they are comfort and a reason to hope. We offer a welcome, some space, some rest. We offer our presence, our patience, our participation in other people’s lives. We offer ourselves. That matters enormously.
I as Chaplain am called to offer something else: spiritual care, grace, forgiveness, the physical presence of Christ in Word and Sacra-ment. And prayer, a chance for folks to say out loud what’s weighing on them, what they are thankful for, what they care about. Those are a huge comfort.
There’s more. You, Opera-tion Nightwatch volunteers, you are a comfort to me. You affirm that our efforts are not in vain, that human beings are valued as persons who have names and life stories. May God bless and empower you to com-fort our guests and all whose lives you touch. Blessings and comfort, all!
FROM OUR PROGRAM COORDINATOR
"All of my stuff just got stolen;" "Everything I had to keep me warm at night got soaked in the rain today;" "I just don’t have enough layers to stay warm in the cold of the night."
If you’ve spent much time at Nightwatch you have probably heard these sorts of statements many times. I know I have. And it has been great in my time thus far at Nightwatch to be able to meet these needs and help out our guests living in very vulnerable circumstances by being able to provide blankets for them.
But now we are out of blankets—just as the cold and wet weather of late autumn and Winter is setting in. So now our volunteers and staff members have to tell our guests that we can’t help them stay warm at night with a blanket, and we have to do this know-ing they have no other places to go to get a blanket during our hours of opera-tion.
Needless to say, I am writing this to shamelessly plea for blanket donations. To help out in this time of need you can make a monetary dona-tion to our blankets and socks fund, or you can bring in blankets and give them to us directly. So please check around your house for blankets that you don’t use anymore and/or consider making a monetary donation for this need. I know our guests will really appreciate it!