The Red Cart Project through Women United has been preparing all summer for the return of in-person student schedules this coming fall. Thanks to community partners such as Willamette Valley Bank and the Keizer Chamber of Commerce, collection and packing efforts for feminine hygiene products have not gone by the wayside, and United Way has been maintaining communication with schools across our area of service in order to gauge what we'll need to adequately support students as they return to class.
With the state beginning to make an effort to supply schools with feminine hygiene products through House Bill 3294 (otherwise known as the Menstrual Dignity Act), Women United was left to wonder where Red Cart would lie in congruency. Schools have assured us, however, that our support would still be greatly appreciated. With that in mind, deliveries have already been scheduled and Women United is pushing forward to continue supplying students across Marion, Polk, and Yamhill counties with tampons and pads. We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to continue to support our community and for the contributions of our partners that have allowed the growth of the Red Cart Project so far.
If you have any questions about the program or would like to host a drop-off collection location, contact Stephanie Bobb at email@example.com or call 503-363-1651
SafeSleep United has been hard at work serving houseless women in the Salem/Keizer community, and with a significant re-model on the horizon, the program is set to continue its trend of impactful endeavors. Being Salem's only low-barrier shelter, there is never a shortage of work to be done, but this invaluable support offers women a real chance to get back on their feet, or simply have a safe place to sleep at night.
That being said, SafeSleep needs volunteers! The shelter is open from 6:00pm to 8:00 pm every night, and is looking for people to help with opening or closing shifts. If you consider yourself a night owl and would like to prep meals in the middle of the night, that is also a much needed and appreciated task. If you are interested in volunteering or have any questions, e-mail Lynelle Wilcox at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 971-570-4213 to share what hours suit you.
In other news, SafeSleep has been invited to present at various meetings around Salem such as the North Lancaster Neighborhood Association to share information about the program and homelessness in Salem in general. Raising awareness is more crucial than ever as homelessness rates rise due to COVID and wildfires, and homeless campers are displaced by city clean-ups. When eviction moratoriums are lifted, even more people will become homeless. It's vitally important, therefor, to offer safe sleep to as many women as possible.
United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley wants to support organizations or schools with volunteers to complete a meaningful project during our annual Day of Caring on Wednesday, September 15, 2021! If you would like to put together a group to contribute, click here, fill out the form, and United Way will match you with a project. Volunteers are in high demand for this event, and participation is what makes this day special and so successful.
If you are a non-profit that would like to submit a project request, click here and fill out the form to be matched with a team of volunteers that can help support your organization.
A United Way staff person or lead volunteer will be present for additional support and will provide t-shirts and refreshments for volunteers. We will also take photos, which we would be happy to share with you. If you have questions or need more information you can also reach Stephanie at 503-363-1651, or email@example.com.
Good360 Gifts in Kind was able to bring a full truckload of donated goods to the city of Newberg on 8/19 and was generously hosted by the Chehalem Youth Center and Armory. 14 Yamhill County participating agencies were able to take advantage of the mobile event as some are not able to travel to Salem each and every month.
There will now be a permanent Good360 hub located in McMinnville hosted by Share Inc. Furniture Bank. Each Wednesday from 11am-3pm verified Good360 agencies will be able to collect brand new goods from the back of Calvary Chapel - 1825 NW 2nd St, McMinnville, OR 97128.
If you are a non-profit, school, or faith-based organization that is not yet registered with Good360, click here to begin the registration process.
If you would like to register for an event at our main location in Salem for September, click here. An event in Mcminnville will be held on September 24th. If you would like to register for this mobile event, click here.
As always, volunteer contribution is necessary for the Good 360 Gifts in Kind program to run efficiently. United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley is continually grateful for the work our volunteers put in to make our community a stronger, better place. If you would like to volunteer for Good360, click here.
The North Salem High School football team stepped up and volunteered a few hours of their time this past week to help make the expanded Good360 Gifts in Kind warehouse space ready to move into. This large space was previously filled with the overflow of donations United Way received from Wildfire Relief efforts we spearheaded this time last year. Our neighbors at the warehouse, the Union Gospel Mission, have done a fantastic job of coordinating an effort to efficiently store these items so the Good360 Gifts in Kind program can utilize this space as the program continues to grow. The North Salem High School football team was then able to come in and re-paint the space and set up additional shelving in preparation for this. Large projects like this are made possible through significant volunteer contribution as exampled here, and United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley extends its gratitude to the students for volunteering their time and energy! The Good360 Gifts in Kind program is now hard at work finishing setting up and organizing the space, and will certainly benefit from the additional room.
United Way Women United held their second in-person meeting of the year this last Friday, where discussion surrounding students returning to school was covered in a variety of aspects. ASPIRE, a program headed by United Way's Jodi Blackman, is a nation-wide mentoring program that offers students access to adult mentors outside of school. The ASPIRE program within Salem-Keizer school district is currently seeking additional volunteer mentors, and this message was extended to members of Women United. If you are interested in this opportunity, contact Jodi Blackman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Red Cart has been preparing for the return of in-person schooling with the invaluable support of United Way's community partners. The LDS Girl's Camp recently collected and packaged nine boxes worth of ready to distribute supplies. Willamette Valley Bank also contributed with a considerable effort by packaging donated supplies. The Keizer Chamber of Commerce ran a collection drive that contributed over 1,000 tampons and 300 pads, which is a terrific indicator of community support. That being said, Red Cart will continue to need donations of light, regular, and sport tampons. As September approaches, communication with schools will pick up and the project will continue to expand. With expansion of the project in mind, Women United is also looking into the needs of elementary schools. More age-appropriate kits including underwear, pads, light tampons, and sanitary wipes will be put together to contribute towards these schools' resource cabinets or closets.
SafeSleep United was also discussed, as we are hiring a night associate to help support efforts at the shelter. Currently open every night with a capacity of 19 ladies, we have received funding of $400,000 to cover costs for a remodel which would increase capacity to 50. Although this work will not begin until next year, an additional support staff is needed as soon as possible. If you would like to learn more about the position and the application process, please click here.
Lastly, important upcoming dates regarding United Way's Kick-Off Week were announced as a reminder. National Day of Caring will be held on Wednesday September 15th, where United Way will work with local businesses and non-profits for service projects. If you would like to participate, contact Stephanie Bobb at email@example.com
SafeSleep United is hiring! To find out more about the application process, click here.
We are also ready to begin using the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) database, which will enable more coordinated, holistic, and wrap-around services to our guests. We are Salem’s only walk-in overnight, low barrier, year-round, women’s shelter. Low barrier means that we meet our guests where they are at - we don’t run background checks for criminal history, we accept pets, and we accept women who may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol as long as their behavior is acceptable. We recently began to require eligible women to try to get into other shelters first, so that most of our beds are available for people who may be struggling with drugs, alcohol, or criminal history that disqualifies them from higher barrier shelters.
In 2020, we served 185 unduplicated women stay at SafeSleep. We are currently at 247 unduplicated women served since opening on 12/15/2019. The chart below shows bed nights and meals served for 2021 to date. We look forward to serving many more women through the years!
Women United and the Red Cart Project has been working and operating throughout COVID, but has just recently been able to hold its first in-person meeting in over a year. At this meeting, discussion ranged from state legislature to upcoming important dates. House Bill 3294 was recently introduced as an incentive to require schools to provide free feminine hygiene products to students. Although the Red Cart Project already works to achieve this, Red Cart also places a focus on empowerment and independence, marking a valuable difference between this bill and the project.
As students return to school, Women United wants to ensure that all students are as prepared as possible. With this goal in mind, United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley is making steps to provide resource cabinets starting with all Title I schools in the Salem/Keizer school district. Hygiene kits and other basic necessities will be available through these cabinets and school's already existing resource rooms. Women United will be holding a supply drive in August to support this effort, and is looking for drop-off locations. If you know a suitable location, please contact Stephanie Bobb at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lastly, notable upcoming dates were announced:
ASPIRE is the state of Oregon's mentoring program that helps students access education and training beyond high school. There are ASPIRE programs in each of Salem-Keizer’s seven high schools.
The program matches trained and supportive adult volunteer mentors with high school students to develop a plan to help them meet their future career and education goals. Under the guidance of the College and Career Coaches, mentors will meet with students and assist them with their post high school goals and plans. Training will be given to all mentors and mentors can pick the school and length of the time commitment. Mentoring students fosters their interest in education/training beyond high school, improves classroom attendance, increases academic performance, and gives students hope for their future. We are actively recruiting mentors right now, and the need is high after COVID. All students will be returning to school and could benefit from additional guidance and support.
If you are interested in becoming an ASPIRE mentor please contact Jodi Blackman at email@example.com or call 503-363-1651
Good360 has served more than 65 organizations with retail goods in the month of July. A record number of recliner chairs were donated throughout this month through our partnership with La-Z-Boy. Seven chairs found new homes to benefit families and nonprofit partner programs! We also wrapped up the summer "Unplug & Play" Toys for Tots event this month after giving out more than 20,000 toys! This project was meant to help children move away from screens and back to a summer life where they could enjoy fun with friends and new toys after more than a year of isolation due to the pandemic. 75 agencies helped in the distribution to an estimated 8,050 children across the three-county area. Thank you to all of the volunteers that made this event successful! If you would like to volunteer with the Good360 program connect with Colman Crocker at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up here.
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