Wednesday, May 26, 2010

JOIN - Paying it forward

Yesterday, the Assistant Market Manager and I visited with a new neighbor in the Montavilla neighborhood - JOIN recently relocated their offices from SE Powell and 17th to NE 81st and Halsey, just next to the MAX station. JOIN is a non-profit focused on helping homeless individuals overcome the barriers to stable housing. Emily Nelson, retention worker, gave us a tour of their facilities and explained their mission and how they work within the homeless community to improve people's daily lives. In 2009, they helped 460 people end their homelessness.

Formerly housing a boxing ring and bridge center, JOIN gutted the building this past year and renovated it with reclaimed materials, energy efficient fixtures, and a lush community garden with raised beds and fruit trees espaliered along the sidewalk. Their administrative offices are located in the basement of the building, cozily illuminated with solar light tubes and sporting a staff lounge dubbed "Cafe JOIN", complete with kombucha tea on tap (where can I get me one of those?). The upstairs serves as a day-use center where people can shower, make phone calls, pick up mail and just hang out and socialize with others.

JOIN approached the Montavilla Farmers Market about creating a regular volunteering opportunity for their clients. An important part of JOIN's success are the post-placement support services they offer including help with job finding, navigating social service benefits, transportation to important appointments. As most us can relate, establishing healthy and meaningful relationships is the best way to feel invested and rooted in the neighborhood. JOIN has a strong volunteer program that allows those who have asked for help in the past to give back to their community.

We are excited about working with JOIN in the upcoming season and offer them a warm welcome to the neighborhood!
If YOU want to volunteer for the Montavilla Farmers Market, visit our website or send an email to Kyle, our assistant market manager at

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