Turkey Rama Events

This week was the annual festival of the town my internship is located in, McMinnville. It’s called Turkey Rama, and it’s 4 days of festivities including music, carnival rides, vendors, and a turkey BBQ. The Mission took full advantage of the opportunity to get the word out and raise some money! I helped at our booth where we handed out information about the Mission and sold raffle tickets to raise money for the Mission. 

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We also had another garage sale for the Mission on Saturday, and we raised over $1,200!

In other blessings, two more residents found jobs! 

The problem is …

The problem is not only that “justice” is administered unjustly. It’s that people cannot become kinder and gentler, more capable of holding down a job and maintaining family relationships, when they are not offered meaningful education or job training and are isolated, exposed to further violence, and deprived of self-respect for years at a time.

Laura Magnan, Why Now is the Time to Change the U.S. Prison System

Mission Car Wash

We had a fundraiser last Saturday from 9-3. It was a car wash held in the FIrst Federal Parking lot! The weather cooperated, and lots of cars were washed! I held signs out on the side of the road with Seamus, the youngest member of the YCGRM family. I was blessed to be surrounded by so much positive energy. Everyone worked very hard at whatever job they were given (washing cars, holding signs ect). And in the end we earned $689.40 for the Mission! 

Community Connect 2013

So this past Friday I tabled for YCGRM at the 5th Annual Community Connect Event for Yamhill County. This one-day resource event was created to connect individuals and families with resources and services in our community. Although we didn’t see a whole lot of homeless individuals who needed our services, lots of other exciting things happened! Here’s a recap

  • 340 guests, 80 volunteers
  • 100 people received dental care and there were 3 medical vans
  • 58 kids bikes/trikes were given out, with 60 helmets
  • 45 people received free haircuts 
  • Half the gym was full with free clothing
  • 113 households received free pet food

So happy that my community can provide so many people with much needed assistance. Here’s to an even bigger and better Community Connect next year! 

Newsletter Day at the Mission!

YCGRM releases a newsletter every month, and today they were all delivered to the Mission. 5 volunteers and myself stacked, stuffed, and sealed 750 letters being sent to Yamhill County residents, businesses, and churches. These newsletters are super important because not only do they keep the community updated about the activity at the Mission but they also advertise upcoming fundraisers (car wash and garage sale) and solicit donations. Because the Mission runs purely on donations, this is an essential part of keeping the Mission open and running! 

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You can also find an article about yours truly on the Mission’s website that was in this recent newsletter! (: https://www.ycgrm.org/ 

Blessings

So I’ve been here for over a month now (!!!!!!!) and so many wonderful things have happened, I thought I would dedicate a post to them.

  • 3 residents have found jobs
  • One resident just moved to the Oxford House, which is an affordable housing development
  • People from Blanchet Farm (A Catholic Worker-inspired House) brought delicious food for the residents
  • Donations from clothes to blankets to food have consistently been delivered

I am so blessed to have developed relationships with so many wonderful people, and am excited to continue for the rest of the summer!

Reality Check

So I’ve been having some difficulties this past week. One of the residents went to jail while out on a pass, so he lost his bed. This has been hard for me to deal with, because I had the impression that he was working very hard towards finding a job and continuing his recovery. He was always willing to help with chores, and even after he lost his job he was enthusiastic about continuing his job search. I understand that addiction is an ongoing problem and I will probably never understand the extent of how hard it is to commit to being clean and sober. However this is my first experience with seeing a person relapse, and it has been hard to handle because I want to believe that once people are in recovery they can move forward and be successful. I have been pretty naive due to the fact that I have never been exposed to a lot of people going through recovery, so I think this is a factor in how difficult it is to deal with. It’s also hard to see how unsurprised other people are with what happened. I know that this is a reality in the field of work I am going into, and i will need to adjust to this different reality.

Privilege

In addition to my internship, I also have a weekend/evening part-time job at a fine-dining restaurant in the area. I have worked in food service for a long time now, but this is my first experience working in a true “fine dining” restaurant. This has been an interesting experience juxtaposed with my experience at the Mission based on the role that money plays. At the restaurant, I have never seen anyone pay less than $150 for a meal. There are bottles of wine that sell for over $1,000. In comparision, at the Mission, people have to call in favors for $2 to “go in” with another guest for a pack of cigarettes. 

It’s hard for me to fathom how people justify spending even $60 on a meal for one person. What’s even harder for me to understand is how unaware people are of their own privilege. Being middle class, American, and (half) white, I know that I am privileged. I have the privilege of choosing when and how long to shower, when and what food I eat, and access to clean water. However, I am aware of this privilege, and more importantly I realize that others do not have the same privileges that I do. The customers at the restaurant talk about the trips they take to Paris and the wineries they visited while on their vacation, while the guests at the Mission talk about their struggles with addiction, their job searches, and their legal battles. It’s hard for me to connect with the customers at the restaurant because I honestly feel like the way they are spending their money is wasteful. The amount of money spent on one meal could give a homeless person the access to a hotel room for a night and at least 3 square meals. I’m trying to stay positive because I don’t know the intimate lives of each customer, but it is hard seeing such affluence after a day of conversations with people who have nothing. 

A Day of Firsts

I came in this past Wednesday to make up some hours (I will have to leave early on Sunday because of work). Because of a move-out, there were some blankets, sheets, towels, and miscellaneous clothing items that needed to be washed. The Mission only has cold water, so I made a trip to the laundromat, which was a first for me. I remember when I was younger my mom used to take me to one and I would play the Pac-Man game, but this was my first time going on my own and actually operating the machines. $23 and 2 hours later, I was done.

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I also got a chance to sit in on my first house meeting. Below are the notes I took.

House Meeting Notes 5/22/13

Start with prayer

  1. The Mission is God’s House. For the people who are upholding the Mission’s goals, doing what you’re doing. If you’re not doing what you’re doing, staff will start looking at an  exit plan. Exit plans by this week (not necessarily a bad thing, don’t get scared) Exit Plan Strategy (EPS), scheduling this week
  2. Exchanging chores without consulting other guests NOT OKAY. Please talk to another guest before switching. Several guests taking all the chores, this is not fair. Talk to staff on duty and tell them that the person is not there before doing their chores. Doing others chores enables and doesn’t hold the person accountable
  3. Messy cubbies in the men’s area-not labeled, PLEASE LABEL WITH YOUR NAME. Masking tape/labels (from Dennis) can be used. If not cleaned, write-ups will be issued.
  4. If you’re new and don’t understand a chore, look in the front of the chore book for explanations of the chores.
  5. Inappropriate movies making their way into the Mission. NO MOVIES ABOVE PG. Please do not bring these in. Movies about Christ may be approved, but they must be staff approved
  6. Please make beds by 9am.  Try and keep rooms neat for tours.
  7. Anyone with a car-NO PARKING ON LOGAN STREET. The city will be called and complaints will be made.  Also no parking directly across from Mission or in Ed’s yard. Parking allowed in front of the yellow house.
  8. Pick up cigarette butts. We don’t want to lose smoking privileges.
  9. Ladies door must always be kept closed at all times! Curtains must also be closed in case the door is left open
  10. Please pick up trash in the perimeter of the mission if walking around. Want to keep the neighborhood looking clean and keep our good image and also keep neighbors happy
  11. Last-minute passes are not going to be granted. All passes are stopping temporarily (doesn’t include already approved passes) for the next 3 weeks.  Lots of people are asking for passes, staff is starting to think people have other places to go.
  12. 20 minute limit on computer unless you are filling out a job application or an apartment application. Please be respectful of others needs. Please use green sign in book
  13. Person who puts food away must also label and date of the first day it was cooked the food they are putting away. This will prevent people from getting sick. Use the roll of masking tape to label.
  14. We are allowed one shower per day 6-8 minutes per shower. Light and water bill over $800. We cannot afford this. Hot water is limited, respect other guests needs as well.
  15. Doing chores late is not acceptable. Chores are in a structured time for a reason; based on Bible Study times. Everything should be cleaned, put away and done before Bible Study so it doesn’t interrupt.
  16. Exit plan meetings this week starting tomorrow (Thursday). Times will be written on board to sign up for whatever day/time works best. 10-30 minutes long. No meetings early in the morning or during lunch
  17. Dress code for warm weather. No tank tops, no wife beaters, no short shorts, no mini-skirts. Must be below the knee. Wear cotton shirt over tank while at the Mission and remove it after leaving. No pajamas allowed in the common areas, only in the sleeping areas.
  18. Cannot park bikes and lock them on the railing of the smoking area
  19. Request to change time of smoking stick till later because of changing daylight. Linda will ask staff about this request.
  20. If you want to donate food stamps talk to Linda and Dennis. YCAP doesn’t always have meat or the things we need, so food stamps are appreciated.
  21. Question about incident with volunteer regarding rules. Cheryl is bringing up concern about rules with volunteers.

End with prayer

Productive Day

The other day I noticed that the clothes closet was severely lacking. One of the residents was talking about how she had outgrown all her clothes, and needed some new ones. This is the area where both residents and people who come into the Mission can choose new clothes. When I went to look, there was a total of one women’s shirt (and it was ugly). Here’s a picture of how the closet looked before.

before

 

Because the Mission recently had a garage sale, there are lots of leftover donations in the back room waiting for the next garage sale. However, I decided to be proactive and add some of those donations to the clothing closet. This would give people more options and allow people to find clothes that would a. fit right and b. they would look good. Here’s a picture of the clothing closet after.

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Aaaaaaaaaaaaand then I helped Dennis make some dinner (Mac and cheese, salad, apples, green beans) while accidentally cutting my finger in the process. All in all, pretty productive day.

dinner

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