An Ode to Kristen Murray
I’m sure most people reading this are familiar with the famous line from Forrest Gump- “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” Our Nightwatch family recently got a chocolate delivery that is truly bittersweet. Our beloved Downtown Program Director, Kristen Murray, happened upon an opportunity to pursue her dream of opening a bed and breakfast and has courageously ventured on to make her dream a reality this April. While we are ecstatic for what the future holds for her, we cannot deny that Nightwatch is losing a uniquely talented member of our family in the process.
Kristen began her faithful service with Operation Nightwatch as a volunteer in our medical room back in 2013. When Sean Meehan stepped down as our lead health care volunteer, Kristen did not hesitate to step up to the plate. It is without a doubt that our health room is the sustainable, thriving program it is today because of her years of hard work and selfless dedication. With her uncanny organizational skills, her sharp eye for cost-saving measures, and her ability to recruit volunteers with her irresistible charm, we are blessed with an exceptionally well-ran first-aid room- a legacy that will continue long after her departure.
We had the absolute pleasure of officially hiring Kristen as our Downtown Program Director in May of 2017, and for the past year she has excelled, providing the best hospitality Portland has to offer to our Downtown guests. Anyone who has seen her in action cannot deny that her motherly nature and no-nonsense attitude creates an atmosphere that truly does feel like home.
On a personal note, we as staff will truly miss what she has brought to our little family. Even on days when we were running on empty, when everything seemed too much, Kristen’s endless energy and love would bring us back to life. She is truly an unstoppable force of nature, and she will be greatly missed by staff, guests, and volunteers alike.
As sad as we are to watch her go, it’s hard not to be happy to see where she is heading. After 5 years at Nightwatch, she is moving on to open what will undoubtedly be the best bed and breakfast in the country. She has assured us she will stay in touch, and will stop by to visit often. Even though she may not be here to greet us at the door every night, a bit of her will certainly be here with us. Someone cannot give so much of herself to a community for so long, and not leave a bit of her spirit and love behind- she is an inextricable part of what Nightwatch has become, and for that we are grateful.
Happy trails, Kristen. We wish you all the best.
Calling All Businesses (?)
It’s no secret that Operation Nightwatch depends on each and every one of you to keep our light shining in the community. You give freely of your time, your money, your resources- this is the fuel that keeps us going, and in turn keeps our hearth warm for our guests. We truly can’t thank you enough for all you give to our guests through Nightwatch.
We wanted to take a moment to recognize some of our major supporters that we may not all know by face, but certainly by name- our business supporters who provide immeasurable value with their regular contributions. Elephant’s Delicatessen is among one of our largest supporters, providing thousands of dollars’ worth of high-quality food for our guests monthly. Similarly, Starbucks donates delicious cake-pops and pastries every week for our guests to receive the coffee-shop experience. What would Nightwatch be without coffee? For that, we would like to thank Ground Works coffee for their generous donation of pounds and pounds of coffee to keep us sipping. Dave’s Killer Bread hooks us up with healthy, delicious bread every week to make hearty sandwiches for our folks in SE- delicious and nutritious!
Then we have our friends at Neil Kelly, who provide a box truck and volunteer every month free of charge to help us transport blankets that we hand out to guests throughout the month, saving us hours of running around when we can better be serving our guests in other ways. Lagunitas and Sizzle Pie are another pair of generous donors, who donated space and a mountain of pizza to our annual Nightfest- did we mention this year was the most successful Nightfest to date? Of course, how could Nightfest not have been a success with a sponsor like Kuni Lexus, donating a $2,000 matching fund! Our friends at Data Abstract Solutions in Vancouver continue to be one of our largest financial contributors, donating a percentage of their monthly profit directly to our general fund, which provides peace of mind as well as much needed funding month in and month out.
We recognize times are changing. Our economy is changing, our community is changing, and Nightwatch is changing how we think about fundraising. As exemplified above, businesses are an absolute wealth of giving that can create sustainable support for our operations and services. This year, we have set a goal to increase our business support from our community. Business contributions chalk up to more than charity- they are investments in our community.
Do you know a business that has an annual giving campaign we could apply for? Perhaps a business you know has an event we can table at, or are seeking meaningful ways to support their community? If so, please put us in touch. We would love to show them an investment opportunity for a brighter future.
De-Escalation Training at Nightwatch
Operation Nightwatch is pleased to announce the return of Non-Violent Crisis Intervention Training! As of mid-April, our Assistant Executive Director Mikaila will be certified as an instructor, and she will be ready and eager to train those interested. This de-escalation training is central to the work we do- it gives us the tools to handle tense situations safely and with compassion. We love this training so much, that we want to offer it to all of you- it’s too good to keep to ourselves!
Homelessness is increasing rapidly in Portland- and so are tensions between the housed and unhoused community. We see it happening all around us. People are becoming increasingly stressed, and fear has a way changing people’s ability to act kindly to one another. Our hope is that by providing this training, we can give both housed and unhoused members the confidence and skills they need to stay safe and grounded.
The training itself lasts no more than 4 hours (often less), and is well worth the time. Perhaps you want this training offered at your workplace? Or maybe there are a group of regular volunteers reading this newsletter who find themselves interested? If you are interested in this training, or know of someone who may be, please give us a shout! We are extremely excited to spread this training far and wide. The more people trained, the wider-spread the impact is. We’d love to have you join us.
For more information, contact Mikaila at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling us at (503) 220-0438.
Operation Nightwatch has a beautiful, brand new website! We would like to thank Mac Ehlen for all the hard work he has put into designing and launching our new site. Not to worry, our address is the same- www.operationnightwatch.org.
Some things worth mentioning:
-Smack-dab on our home page you can find our Nightwatch video (created and donated by Ryan Maher), which is a great tool for telling others about Nightwatch.
-As always, you can sign up to volunteer by clicking on the “Volunteer” tab at the top of the page.
-Donating is as easy as it ever was for those who would like to donate using a bank or credit card- simply click on the “Donate” tab at the top of our page to find our online donation system.
Please, check it out! We think it’s great, and we’re sure you will too!
Downtown Hospitality Center
1432 SW 13th Ave (in St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church)
Thursday-Saturday, 7 pm- 11 pm
SE Hospitality Center
8800 SE 80th Ave (in Clackamas Service Center)
Friday 7 pm- 9 pm
Saturday 5 pm- 8 pm
To sign up to volunteer, please visit www.operationnightwatch.org
For online donations, please visit www.operationnightwatch.org
Checks can be mailed to:
PO Box 4005
Portland, OR 97208
For in-kind donations (socks, toiletries, sleeping bags, etc.) please contact us to set up a drop-off or pick-up.