We hope you are enjoying the warmer weather and with it the opportunity be spend more time outside. The vibrant green and colorful blooms of spring in the Pacific NW is so welcome this year!  We are proud to share two recent accomplishments with you: we welcomed new residents into our newest housing community in East Portland, The Nick Fish, and we surpassed our fundraising goal at our virtual gala a few weeks back (thank you, donors!). When there is so much inequity to overcome, it is important to celebrate the wins along the way. ?

We hope that some of the opportunities below speak to you – we need all hands on deck!

WHAT WE NEED NOW, PART 1: Summer Sandal Drive

We are hosting a summer sandal drive for our shelter residents next Saturday, and we need your help! Donations will ensure residents have the footwear they need as the temps rise, and especially support Gresham Women’s Shelter residents who share facilities.

Here are the details:

When: Saturday, June 5 from noon to 4 p.m. (add to calendar)

Where: 10550 NE Halsey St., Portland, OR 97220 (map). We will be outside the building near the corner of 106th & Halsey. Look for balloons!

What: A range of sandal styles and sizes – from flip flops to slides, toddler to adult. Please, new items only!

You can purchase new sandals from the store of your choice and drop off at our event, or shop our Amazon Wishlist and have the sandals sent directly to us. Call or text Brielle with any questions at 971.806.7759 or volunteer@humansolutions.org.

WHAT WE NEED NOW, PART 2: Culturally Specific Foods

We’re hosting a food drive for Somali families in our affordable-housing communities. Often, donations that come in standard food boxes don’t include foods that are culturally familiar and considerate of common religious diets. Having a pantry stocked with the ingredients you need, know and love is essential across cultures – and differs across cultures – and we’re thrilled that this food drive will respond to a critical gap.

When: Thursday, June 17, from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (add to calendar)

Where: Lincoln Woods Apartments community room, 2333 SE 130th Ave., Portland, OR 97236 (map)

Requested foods:

  • Produce: bell peppers, bananas, grapes, cilantro, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, strawberries, apples, lettuce, cabbage, onions, garlic, ginger, spinach, corn, serrano peppers, lemons & limes
  • Cooking oil: vegetable oil, canola oil, olive oil & sesame seed oil
  • Dry goods: basmati rice (basmati only, please!), flour, cornmeal flour, sugar, barley, grits, lentils, beans (fava, adzuki, mung, garbanzo & black eye peas), pasta (macaroni, angel hair & spaghetti) & oatmeal
  • Preserved foods: tomato paste, tomato sauce, Medjoul dates
  • Seasonings: cumin, coriander, garlic salt, cardamom, cloves & Vegeta all-purpose seasoning*
  • Milks: canned coconut milk, evaporated condensed milk & Nido dry milk*
  • Meats: Halal meats* & canned tuna
  • Beverages: black tea & ground coffee

*These items will be easy to find at specialty stores, such as smaller local Halal grocers.

Our team will sort perishable and non-perishable food items and distribute them evenly among our different communities. Call or text Brielle with any questions at 971.806.7759 or volunteer@humansolutions.org.

Portland Commissioner Dan Ryan Visits Lilac Meadows

Our Lilac Meadow family shelter recently hosted Commissioner Dan Ryan, who oversees the Portland’s Housing Bureau and Joint Office of Homeless Services, for a tour and conversation. We’re glad Commissioner Ryan could spend some time with us, chatting about the ways we can work together to support families experiencing housing instability. These conversations are among the many ways we advocate for families and the needs they express while moving toward stability and permanent housing.

One of our three emergency shelters, Lilac Meadows is home to around 120 residents at a time, including about 60 children under 18. Access happens through 211info.org, a regional referral system for folks seeking assistance. Our emergency shelters are actively supported by community members – in fact, we couldn’t do what we do without you. If you’d like to be part of the Lilac Meadows community of volunteers, there are plenty of ways to get involved. Email our team at volunteer@humansolutions.org to join us!

We Want to Hear from Volunteers!

If you have ever volunteered with Human Solutions (donating time, food and other needed items), we would love your thoughts on how we can operate the best possible program – for you and the community whose needs we are working to meet. We believe deeply in the power of community to heal – all of us – and see connecting through volunteering as part of that.

We invite you to complete our volunteer survey when you have 10 or so minutes to give. Everyone who completes it on or before June 30, 2021, will be entered to win a copy of Mia Birdsong’s wonderful book, How We Show Up: Reclaiming Family, Friendship, and Community. Mia spoke at an event we hosted in 2019 and has such great things to say, especially about the power of community and how we can co-create it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us – we so appreciate you and your time.

Community Partner Spotlight: Mission Bar-B-Que

Last month, our partners at Mission Bar-B-Que food truck made their way to our Chestnut Tree Inn shelter, yet again supporting our residents and being a crucial link in our communities! They served up delicious pulled pork burgers, salad, jalapeño mac-n-cheese and baked beans – all from scratch, by participants of the Portland Rescue Mission’s year-long addiction recovery program.

When the pandemic first hit, we lost many of our volunteer meal providers to safety protocols. Portland Rescue Mission stepped in to provide meals for all three of our shelters to bridge the gap, and we’re thrilled to continue our relationship with them. Community partnerships like this are essential to providing the range of services people need. Plus, it deepens ties to our neighbors, which benefits us all. If you have a business or service you’d like to share with our residents, let us know! Email our team at volunteer@humansolutions.org or contact Shawna at 503.278.1637.

Volunteers, donors, and supporters like you have been crucial to Human Solutions’ success this year. We couldn’t do this without you! Thank you, as always, for your commitment to the people of East Portland and East Multnomah County. We all benefit when we embrace our region’s cultural diversity and build anti-racist programming – both priorities for team Human Solutions. We’re glad to be doing this work alongside you!