Homeless Families: Changing Colors in Times of Adversity

As the crisp breeze of fall sneaks into the Northwest, the sun casts an orange hue on our lush folliage.  Beautiful autumn is here. Nevertheless our community faces challenges of the season. How do families keep warm, stay fed and maintain a roof overhead? 

    “According to the National Coalition on the Homeless (2002), the systemic or structural causes of homelessness, poverty and lack of affordable housing are on the increase… In every state, more than the minimum wage is required to afford a one or two-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent. The gap between the number of affordable housing units and the number of people needing them has created a housing crisis for [people with a low-income]… The increases in poverty are partly due to a decline in public assistance programs. Early studies from the Welfare to Work program have concluded that although the total number of individuals who are on government welfare programs has gone down, the number of individuals who are now attempting to subsist on below living wage jobs without medical benefits has increased significantly. These people are always one paycheck away from homelessness.” (My Father’s House, KA)

    “Homelessness is growing exponentially at a rate of 37% each year, and the average age of a homeless person is 9 years old. There are more homeless families than there are homeless singles, and in Multnomah County there are over 3,000 homeless families on any given night.” (My Father’s House: A Community Shelter, OR)

The many organizations throughout Oregon which strive to support families facing homelessness and poverty are reliant on their volunteers.  Through service events and activities, Marylhurst University students, faculty, staff and associates are partnering with different organizations to provide these families the services they need. These organizations include but are not limited to the Oregon Food Bank and My Father’s House: A Community Shelter.

Marylhurst University Food Drive and the Oregon Food Bank: Marylhurst has traditionally held a food drive during the alumni events of Homecoming Week. The University will be collecting non-perishable, protein-rich food items and cash/check donations October 13th-18th.  There will be baskets dispersed all over campus. To contribute non-perishable, protein-rich food, please bring your donation to one of the following drop off points: Flavia Hall,  Marion Hall, The Old Library, BP John entrance, Clark Commons. To contribute funds (Oregon Food Bank’s greatest need), please visit Amanda Baker, Service Program Coordinator at Marion Hall Room 109, call (503) 699-4063, or e-mail abaker@marylhurst.edu. You can also make a donation online. Just click here.

Marylhurst University and My Father’s House: Students, faculty, staff and associates are invited to serve with an extraordinary oragnization whose mission is to meet the needs of homeless families. To find out more about volunteering with My Father’s House, please click here.

As colors change in fall, so do the needs of the season. “We must be the change we want to see in the world.” (Ghandi)

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Christmas in July at Marylhurst

The Marylhurst University community will be collecting canned food for The Oregon Food Bank.  Baskets will be placed by mid-week (July 22nd) in buildings around campus including the BP John Administration Building, Flavia Hall, Shoen Library, and the Bookstore.

The Food Bank also appreciates monetary gifts.  From their website:

For every dollar you donate, OFB can move five pounds of food through its food distribution program. A $10 gift means enough food for an emergency food box that will feed a family of four for three to five days.

The Human Resources office will collect cash and check donations.  Checks should be made out directly to The Oregon Food Bank.

Human Resources – BP John Administration Building
Marylhurst University
17600 Pacific Highway (Hwy 43)
PO Box 261
Marylhurst, OR 97036-0261
Phone: 503.699.6256
Toll free: 800.634.9982, ext. 6256
FAX: 503.635.0139

Visit the Oregon Food Bank website if you have specific questions about the agency and to learn more about hunger in the Oregon community.