When COVID-19 hit, and our volunteers could no longer join us in shelters to cook and prepare meals, we put out an urgent ask to our community for support. One donor, Christi Cawood, showed up to support our participants and her community in a big way!
Christi had been serving as a volunteer for more than 40 years for Transition Projects. For the past nine years, she's coordinated a holiday party for residents of Jean's Place, a women's shelter for 60 people. Each year, Christi and a team of friends decorate the shelter, provide beverages, and a delicious meal - including a holiday sing-along and a raffle that provides each resident with a gift:
"It's the highlight of our Christmas and we will be heartbroken if we cannot share a celebration with Jean's Place residents this year - so we're thinking of how to hold this event virtually!"
Jean's Place Manager, Leanne Sliva, says that the event really makes the women feel pampered and that it "makes all the difference" during what can be a difficult time to be in shelter.
When Christi heard our urgent call for meal providers to provide food to our shelters - she sprung into action to support small businesses in her neighborhood and meet the need of our residents. She worked with local restaurants, Cha Cha Cha - Milwaukie, Papa Murphy's - Milwaukie, and Smokin Barrel to get meals out to our shelters and bring them crucially needed business during the pandemic. The businesses were eager to help - offering discounts and coordinating special meals for our shelters.
"We're a community-based business and value being able to help our neighbors in need, " says Papa Murphy's Manager, Leeanna Kern.
Since COVID-19 began, Christi has provided more than 32 meals feeding 1,630 participants across four shelters through this partnership with local businesses. This incredible support has been crucial and allowed us to continue to offer quality meals to the hundreds we serve nightly. When we spoke with Christi earlier this month, she explained that:
"being able to do something in the face of this crisis feels great. At the end of the day, I believe that everyone should have a home and this is one small way that I can contribute to that goal. "
We're so grateful for her support and the generosity of the small businesses she's partnered with! We're in need of meal providers to help feed our shelter guests. Ready to make an impact in your community? Visit our volunteer page today!