One family makes a difference, inspires a Portland school to make care kits

Did you know there are about 4,000 people on the streets of Portland experiencing homelessness?

4,000 people are struggling with homelessness in Portland.

4,000 people are struggling with homelessness in Portland.

Did you know that YOU can change that statistic?

There are many creative ways to join the fight against homelessness. Every time you volunteer, give or even talk about Portland Rescue Mission, you make a difference.

IT ALL STARTS WITH SEEING …

One woman saw the need and did something that grew to impact her family, her children’s school and her community.

“I kept encountering homeless people when out with the kids and couldn’t decide how we could best respond,” said Sue, mother of Zach (age 10) and Mats (age 8). “I wanted the boys to feel like they could help, but not by making a token gesture that wasn’t actually helpful. I ended up looking at Portland Rescue Mission’s website and found your guide to making care-packages.”

A fantastic resource to have on hand, care kits provide someone on the street basic items like water bottles, granola bars and gloves.

“Last winter we invited friends over for a bag-packing evening,” said Sue. “Each family brought 20-30 of one of the ‘ingredients’ and the kids assembled the bags.” At the end of the night the families took the filled bags and gave them out as they encountered someone in need on the street.

A student drew a picture with a message to go in a care kit for someone facing homelessness.

A student drew a picture with a message to go in a care kit for someone facing homelessness.

Sue wondered if this could be a school-wide activity, so she brought the idea of Care Kits to Access Academy. “It started out as a project for fourth grade, but there was so much enthusiasm for it, and such generosity, it grew to involve the whole school.”

Each class gathered items and together the students made bags. Some of the kids even included art and hand-written messages of encouragement.

“We made 142 total kits and dropped off hundreds of granola bars, hot chocolate packets and chapsticks in addition,” said Sue who stopped by the Burnside Shelter with her boys and a number of the kits.

Sue, Zach and Mats didn’t stop there. On Christmas Eve, they joined us in serving over 500 meals to our guests off the street. “Mats squirted cream on 450 slices of pie and Zach was a server. He spent time talking to guests and was really touched by a conversation with a young man who is taking a physics degree,” said Sue.

 

“That evening was the highlight of our holidays and we all want to do it again.”

JOIN US

There are countless opportunities for you to join us at the Mission. Help us give hope and restore life to the 4,000 people living on the streets. Sue saw the need and decided to do something. The key is to start somewhere.

If you want to make your own CARE KITS, give needed items or activate your school or community, find out more on our website. One of the best things you can give someone struggling is a personal interaction. Make sure to tell them about the Mission and the resources we offer downtown: hot meals, showers and shelter. Read more about what we offer and our schedule HERE.

How have you activated your community to partner with The Mission? Tell us your story or tag us on social media with a photo of you and your friends.

Sue (left) and her boys Mats and Zach (right) along with many others, came to serve on Christmas Eve.

Sue (left) and her boys Mats and Zach (right) along with many others, came to serve on Christmas Eve.