Worth Reading

New York Times columnist (and fellow Oregonian) Nicholas Kristof wrote a column this week about the hidden biases we all carry within us. Studies have repeatedly diversityshown that even the most well-intentioned (white) people tend--no doubt, as a matter of cultural conditioning--to treat people of color differently than they do those of their own race.

As we welcome such a diverse variety of guests at our Hospitality Centers, it's well to keep in mind our conditioned preconceptions. Do we tend to favor those who are more "like us" than those "unlike us," without our even knowing it? Let's try to act with more intention, so that we may treat all our guests with equal favor.


Thanks to Dan Vetter, who donated several boxes of equipment for our model railiroading project. We've now got tracks, buildings, scenery, and rolling stock to get us started.

All donations are welcome!

train stuff

Volunteer Best Practices

Consider this scenario:

You're talking with a guest, and he says, "Boy, I could really use a blanket. Could you get a blanket for me?"

Since you're a compassionate person and want to be helpful, you say, "Sure." You go down to our "dungeon" and retrieve a blanket for him.

What's wrong with this picture? It circumvents the procedure we have in place for giving out items to our guests.

For one thing, how do you know that the same guest hasn't already gotten a blanket from some other volunteer he has asked that night. Or how do you know that he already hasn't approached a staff member and been refused. (Because of our blanket shortage, we have to ration blankets to one blanket per person per month. Some like to get blankets just so they can sell them.)

best practicesSome of our guests can be good at exploiting the good intentions of our kind-hearted volunteers. It's a survival skill they've learned by living on the streets. But by falling to it, we end up cheating others: if one guest gets several blankets through his approach to several different volunteers, what about the poor guy who really needs a blanket and gets none because the supply has been exhausted?

You need to know that every evening there will be one volunteer designated by the Program Coordinator to be in charge of all distribution of supplies to guests. If a guest therefore asks you for something, please refer the guest to that person. (And if you are unaware of that volunteer's identity, refer the guest to Katherine, our Program Coordinator, and she'll take care of it.)

A Special Thanks

This was a difficult summer finding volunteers! Some nights, we came to thanks volunteers-nametagsdiscover just how few volunteers we could get by on.

But we owe special thanks to a faithful few who were here nearly every week (some more than once a week!), and it's only due to them that we were able to keep running.

So great gratitude goes to David, Sonnie, Daniel, Benny, Brian, Ciara, Chris, Teresa, Jeff, Trevor, and Lucy.

And also to our nurses Sean, Pat, and Holly.

Volunteer Need This Week Month

Despite the return of students to school, our experience tells us we won't be seeing them immediately as volunteers. Such is understandable. Back from their summers, they need time to re-adjust to campus living arrangements, class schedules, etc.

But, boy, does that make our volunteer roster for September look pathetic! Go to goose eggour online Volunteer Calendar, and you'll see that most of our dates downtown are marked with goose-eggs.

Sign up to volunteer if you can. Call or text 503-220-0438, email info@operationnightwatch,org, or go directly to our online calendar to get rid of those goose-eggs!