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...
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
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
café 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
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
Here's my new address:
3924 N. Williams
Portland, OR 97227
and my house phone:
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.