We hope during this unprecedented time, our letter finds you well, and that you and your loved ones are staying healthy and safe. As we have all witnessed, the COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted our entire community, and we see through our work with Our House clients and residents how far reaching this pandemic has truly been. We are thankful the protocols we have followed at our residential facility, and through Neighborhood Housing and Care Program (NHCP), have kept our community free of COVID-19 infection. Nevertheless, the pandemic has impacted every area of our organization, and we’d like to share our ongoing journey through this public health crisis with you and our other devoted supporters.
This pandemic has caused Our House significant and unbudgeted expenses. Our ability to bring our community together to support and celebrate Our House, through annual events has been severely limited. Our staff has been challenged to re-evaluate the ways we provide care and discover new strategies through which we can continue to thrive and take care of our residents and clients through this fearful and socially isolating time. Esther’s Pantry has always provided our community a place of hope, comfort, and belonging. It is easing clients’ stress and fears now more than ever, as our community faces continued joblessness and hunger. Since March, Esther’s Pantry has been serving three times the usual volume of daily visitors, 20% of whom are also experiencing homelessness. All who currently rely on Esther’s Pantry are struggling to both feed their families, and also afford rent or mortgage and utilities. These are dire times for our neighbors, and we are committed to taking care of our community by alleviating hunger and providing families a little bit of comfort at home.
For the past 27 years, Our House has run the “Dinner at My House for Our House” event series, a tradition started at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It originated as a humble way to connect with our community and show united support for the amazing individuals served through Our House programs. The Series, enjoyed year after year by many of you, has since evolved and now not only highlights the power of food to bring people together, but celebrates our regional flavors and local culinary talent. For the first year ever, we are being forced to postpone the start of the Dinner Series to keep our community safe, and not put extra burden on our local chefs and restaurants also struggling greatly due to the pandemic. We currently anticipate losing 82% of the projected contributed income, from the Series upon which we usually rely to fund our programs. It’s an unprecedented loss at a time when many of our programs are costing more to run.
Despite this loss we are optimistic we can still rely on our supporters like you to help us through this challenging time. While this year, we may not be able to provide you an opportunity to attend a public dinner, or to enjoy a delicious meal with friends at a local restaurant through the Dinner Series, we hope you will consider making a donation to help us feed our neighbors in need. One hundred percent (100%) of your donation will support Esther’s Pantry and our other programs that ensure the health and safety of people in our community living with HIV. Whether a one-time gift in any amount that is meaningful to you, or an ongoing monthly pledge, we invite you to support and celebrate our work during a time of imperative social distancing.
Please give online today by going to clicking on the “donate now” button at the top of this page. Thank you for your ongoing dedication to our neighbors and friends living with HIV. We appreciate all your support along Our House’s ever-evolving journey to provide compassionate care, stifle stigma and end suffering, for individuals with HIV in Portland.
"Being a single mom, it’s [Esther’s Pantry] been lifesaving at times. They work tremendously hard to make sure it’s a variety of food that’s also healthy. It’s useful, everyday items that we need to survive. I’ve never walked away with only canned goods and that’s one of the reasons it feels like such a normal experience, I feel like I am going to the store. Even with what you are doing now, bringing the food to us, even just looking at the food boxes, I can tell it’s the highest quality with some things I wouldn’t have ever thought I could get for my son...."