On May 18th, the Riveters’ Community Outreach Crew dropped off our Oral Care Drive donations at Rose Haven. During that visit, we got a tour of their facilities and developed a better sense of how they are making an impact in our community.
Rose Haven, located in NW Portland on 18th and Irving, provides assistance to 70-90 guests a day, or about 3,000 people a year. These guests visit a total of 15,000 times a year with holidays and busy periods. Guests can have warm meals, access to clothing, shoes, personal supplies, and medical care, as well as participate in community events. Rose Haven operates out of the basement of the First Immanuel Lutheran Church’s administrative building. We met up with Katie O’Brien, who is the Community Outreach & Development Officer for Rose Haven. She showed us around their modest facility, which is a safe haven for women and children.
We have an open door policy, and accept any woman in any condition who needs our help. Staff and volunteers form a compassionate and supportive team for women who are traumatized by homelessness, abuse, and other disruptive life challenges. Rose Haven is a safe, respectful environment where change begins. We address basic needs, and help women build confidence and sustainable lives for themselves. Through reflection of trust and mutual respect, the foundation on which personal healing and healthy choice making begin.
During the tour, we got to watch guests play Bingo as well as enjoy a hot meal served by volunteers. Rose Haven has several community partners who donate meals to their guests, be it full meals from Elephants Deli or sandwiches from a local shop. While Rose Haven does not have an on-site kitchen with the capacity to cook meals from scratch, they do have enough room to prep the donated meals. The ability to help with the basics, such as a healthy meal, allows guests to focus on their other needs.
Rose Haven also has a store on site full of clean, donated clothes, shoes, underpants, bras, and hygiene products. There are no cash transactions in the store, as each guest has access to “shop” and pick out new articles once every 30 days. They then can get advice as to how to make different outfits out of the choices they made, whether they are going in for a court appearance or visiting with their kids. The assistance Rose Haven provides is to help build comfort and make to take away some of the stressful parts of their guests’ everyday lives so they can focus on finding ways to improve their environment.
Women can come in with their children, too. They can also bring in their pets. Rose Haven works to always have a stock of pet foods, as they know that pets are some people’s companions.
It was a very inspiring visit. Rose Haven strives to create a safe place for any woman to come and seek out support. While the Riveters were able to donate over 35 pounds of oral care products (200+ toothbrushes, 90+ tubes of toothpaste), we were also able to experience how quickly they go through their donations. Helping 70+ women a day takes a lot of resources. We will continue to work with Katie and her team on future events and drives.
As a follow-up to our first Match Day Drive post, I want to provide some additional information regarding our Match Day Drives and other Community Outreach opportunities.
One area in which that the Riveters have wanted to do more, but have not been financially able to in the past, is outreach. Historically, we have engaged in ticket exchange and merch production/sales to help fund our tifo and game day operations. Everything had been self-sustaining at the minimum; we’ve reused tifo materials until they had too many layers of paint for seams to hold in overhead pulls, or we reused the materials from past displays to keep costs low.
We had a very successful “Tifo Superhero” fund drive this spring where we were able to raise $3,400 from the sale of limited-edition pins. This funding, along with some other donations earmarked for tifo, will support all of our planned tifo activities for 2016. This means that we need another focus for the ticket exchange and merch proceeds aside from our operating expenses.
We plan to still generate revenue, but we have minimal operating expenses (smoke, flags, photocopies, upfront merch production costs) that need to be covered. There’s also a little trophy we like to hand out at the end of the season. But those are all costs that are easy enough for us to plan for. And we anticipate that the gear we put out this year will help us increase our capacity to do so much more.
Going forward, resources will be set aside to aid in community outreach. This year we are working with quite a few different agencies throughout the Portland area to get them the physical donations they need through the Match Day Drives. We want the capacity to provide them with additional support as well. We want to start being a bigger voice in the community, as well as take on small projects where we see a need. We want to be able to contribute our time, our energy, and our resources to helping those who need it the most. Buying Riveters merch is going to help us do all of this.
We also want your input on our merch line. We have set up an email address for you to send us your ideas, be it in the form of a description, a rough sketch, an item you would like us to make, or even a full-on design. If you want it, let us know! Email us at email@example.com, and the design team will review your submission and send a response. Note that for copyright reasons, merch designs cannot include the word “Thorns” or any player likenesses.
As our focus pivots toward community outreach, we want to make sure that all of our members are aware of our financial shift as well.