As part of our annual holiday giving campaign, OnPoint is donating $25,000 to each of these three organizations dedicated to providing food security, day shelter and valuable resources to underserved communities in the Portland metro area: Habitat for Humanity of Oregon, Blanchet House and New Avenues for Youth. We also found additional donation opportunities for community partners throughout our region. We extend our gratitude to all of these amazing non-profits that help support at-risk populations who are especially vulnerable during the holiday season and colder winter months.
OnPoint is proud to support community partners across the state this year for #GivingTuesday, and these organizations are wonderful examples of the season of giving.
Homeownership with Habitat for Humanity.
Homeownership remains at a generational low. On average, more people are renting now than at any time since the 1960s. While some people choose to rent, many others have no choice. Homeownership is not a reality for many families, couples and older adults throughout Oregon and SW Washington.
Habitat for Humanity of Oregon believes stable and affordable housing is critical to quality of life. Its goal is to provide people in our region with a place to call home—a place to spend all of life’s moments, including seasonal celebrations such as Christmas, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving.
“The holidays become a time for us to spread that message to share the transformational power of homeownership and what it means to have a safe, healthy, warm home at this time,” says Megan Parrott, Director of Engagement at Habitat for Humanity of Oregon.
A path to homeownership is more challenging now than it’s ever been. Rising construction costs, inflation, increasing interest rates, supply chain issues, and volunteer efforts still hampered by concerns over the pandemic are all contributing factors.
Still, Habitat for Humanity of Oregon and its 24 statewide affiliates are making strides. Its year-long leadership program—Habitat Equity Academy for Leaders—focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion. Additionally, its new fiduciary organization, coming in April 2023, will magnify funds deposited by eligible individuals to further their impact goals.
New ways of living at Blanchet House.
OnPoint’s donation to Blanchet House will help provide thousands of hot, nutritious meals for people experiencing homelessness and food insecurity in Portland. The non-profit aims to provide food, clothing, community and hope to anyone who needs it at the Founders Kitchen on NW Glisan.
Blanchet Farm, an hour outside of Portland, is a place for men to experience a transitional program. It provides an opportunity to get and stay sober in a safe, nourishing, rural setting. Afterward, they can transition to a life of meaningful work and secure housing.
Homelessness is often a faceless problem for people who do not experience it personally. Blanchet House seeks to make the faceless seen.
“Bob” is one example. A single man who recently suffered a stroke, Bob lived alone without family support. He had nowhere to turn when he lost the use of his hands and speech. That meant he could not communicate with his workplace or even log in to collect his disability checks. Bob lost his home. His job. Everything. Once he got to Blanchet House; however, he had time to begin to heal. He started working in the kitchens on tasks suited to his physical abilities and has now regained the physical abilities he’d lost. Now the goal is to get Bob a job that pairs with his disability and can help him secure a place to stay long-term.
In addition to its farm program, downtown residential program and daily meal services, Blanchet House hosts a special meal for people on Christmas Eve. This gives visitors something to enjoy during a time of year that’s often quite challenging. That, along with gifts for the residents of its transitional programs, helps to bring this joyous time to underserved communities in the Portland area..
Addressing barriers to stability with New Avenues for Youth.
Over the last 25 years, New Avenues for Youth has helped transform the lives of more than 30,000 young people. By combining supportive housing, educational programs, and essential services for 9 to 24-year-olds, New Avenues’ lofty goal is to end youth homelessness. That’s a challenging goal to meet.
“Without supportive education, young people may not have a path to pursuing their goals,” says Lauren Eads, Director of Development and Communications at New Avenues for Youth. “Gifts like this make it possible for our education program to support youth as they pursue their GEDs, explore their personal career goals, and work toward achieving their dreams.”
Founded in response to the growing number of young people experiencing homelessness, New Avenues for Youth centers on the individual stories that characterize Portland’s youngest generation. This aim has become more challenging with gentrification, rising housing costs, racism and the pandemic. All have resulted in less secure housing for children, teens and young adults. BIPOC communities have been hit particularly hard.
New Avenues is fighting back. The organization addresses homelessness and instability in various ways, from simple showers and hot meals, to more complex endeavors such as career counseling and job training. Whether young people need a safe place to stay or a warm space to get lunch, New Avenues for Youth is here to help.
Regional recipients of OnPoint’s holiday donations.
Since our donations are only made possible by the support of our members, OnPoint makes sure to distribute its donations widely to better serve the community as a whole. Below are additional organizations that are each receiving a $5,000 donation.
The Giving Plate.
Founded in April 2010 in response to the challenging economic times following the great recession, The Giving Plate continues to provide essential services to the community. As the largest food pantry in Central Oregon, the charity is dedicated to ensuring community members get the help they need with dignity, compassion and hospitality. Today, The Giving Plate serves more than 3,500 individuals a month through its weekly grocery program, a community garden and various programs for children.
While it might not seem long, 15 nights is often all it takes for chronic homelessness to become a reality. As such, The 15th Night is dedicated to positive intervention in the lives of Eugene-Springfield housing insecure youths by providing clothing, food, application assistance and mentorship, among other services. Today, The 15th Night provides a safe environment for nearly 800 students.
FISH of Vancouver.
FISH of Vancouver (Friends in Service to Humanity) has one goal: to provide balanced meals to Washingtonians in need. This guiding light has helped them serve our community for more than five decades—even as demand has grown throughout the region. When COVID-19 began, FISH met the challenge by distributing a million pounds of food and serving more than 13,000 households. Funds from OnPoint will help FISH of Vancouver keep up with the demand and allow the purchase of food for local families.
Marion Polk Food Share.
Salem’s Marion Polk Food Share is dedicated to ending hunger. The non-profit works with more than a hundred local partners—including Meals on Wheels—to ensure everyone, from homebound seniors to young families, gets the food they need. In addition to its community centers, Marion Polk Food Share also operates an urban farm and network of community gardens.
Yamhill Community Action Project.
Distributing an average of 2 million pounds of food annually, YCAP believes that no one should go hungry. YCAP has 35 partner pantries and distribution sites, helping to disperse meals throughout the county. OnPoint’s donation will help YCAP deliver high-quality, nutritious food to thousands of families in need and a hope for something better for those most vulnerable.
Thanks to all of our members for making this and our other donations throughout 2022 possible. Please consider making a donation to one of these amazing non-profits, or volunteer at a special organization in your community. Learn more about OnPoint’s community giving.