Thoughts on Martha and Mary
More Wisdom from Marie

Portland Bound

Hello all!
 
This is the first blog among many that I'll be sending out to keep everyone updated with my life as I head out to Portland, Oregon on August 6th .  I hope to post updates at least once a month.  For now I just wanted to fill everyone in on some details about the next year...some of you may have heard some of this stuff already so feel free to skim over it...
 
 
JVC
So here's the gist of it...  I joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) and have committed to living out a lifestyle that reflects values of social justice, spirituality, simplicity, and community. Over the course of the next year I'll be living in a community with 5 other JVs as we volunteer for different social justice organizations. I have no doubt this next year is going to be challenging in more ways than one.  I only hope that I can grow from my experiences and gain a deeper understanding of social justice issues, my faith, what it means to live simply in a consumer driven society, and how to live in a community with others.  And just as importantly, to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between these four values.  Good thing I'm always up for a challenge =)
 
Where I'm working
 
I'll be working at Sisters of the Road Cafe which is located in downtown Portland.  Sisters is a cafe that sells low cost meals ($1.25) to the homeless.  My job responsibilities will include a number of different things such as helping to maintain a safe environment, greeting people, building relationships with our customers, working the cash register, assisting with the newsletter, helping with fund raising, etc...I basically go where I'm needed. 
 
One thing I do want to mention is that Sisters is not a soup kitchen.  A lot of people have asked me why Sisters sells meals to the homeless instead of giving meals away.  Here's the short story - Genny Nelson and Sandy Gooch were two social workers in Portland who discovered that most of the shelters and soup kitchens weren't safe for women.  In fact, most women had first-hand experience with rape, molestation, and physical threats.  Additionally, many homeless people felt embarrassed and shameful for accepting handouts. Genny and Sandy spent 100s of hours asking the homeless what they felt was needed in the community, and it was this answer they heard over and over again - "a place where we can dine with dignity and work for a meal if we don't have money."  So, Sisters of the Road was opened in 1979 and the rest is history.

Here's a blip from the Sisters website explaining their philosophy:
 
Sisters Of The Road supports community driven solutions to the calamities of homelessness and poverty, in an atmosphere of gentle personalism and nonviolence.  Our Portland, Oregon cafĂ© is open to everyone, serving low cost, hot, nutritious meals that can be purchased in a variety of ways, including with cash, food stamps, or in exchange for work. We also provide job training, support to parents and children, and innovative solutions to the issues surrounding poverty and homelessness through self and community advocacy.

Sisters Of The Road is about changing hearts and minds-- by building cross-class community, addressing root causes, and creating systemic change that goes to the root of hunger and homelessness and ends it forever.

Sisters Of The Road is profoundly about love. 
The Sisters website is updated pretty frequently and there is a TON of information on there so check it out when you get the chance.
 
Contact Information
Here's my new address:

3924 N. Williams
Portland, OR 97227

and my house phone:
503.335.8240

I head out west Aug. 6, but won't actually get to my house until Aug. 11th (we're all going camping first!).  I'll have access to a computer during working hours Monday - Friday, and you can reach me by using this email address.  I also hope to post as many pictures as possible on my google photo page so I'll let you know when I've made updates.

I think that's about it.

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