Everyone’s journey as a soccer supporter is unique. For me, the rhythm of the game has been the underlying beat driving my life. I have lived in a lot of different places, experiencing and being influenced by soccer in all of them. However, it wasn’t until I joined the 107ist and the Riveters that I felt like I had found a true home in the soccer community. We are a family that mobilizes our love for the beautiful game to help the community around us. “Spread the Love” has become synonymous with soccer support in Portland and in our other affiliated communities. It is an important part of being a Portland supporter, one which we take very seriously.
In the last few months, the Riveters have been driving this charitable ethos by supporting not one, but three organizations in our match day drives. These three worthy causes are Impact NW, Rose Haven, and Raphael House. These organizations were chosen because each one offers key programs and support to the most vulnerable populations in Portland.
Impact NW works to help combat poverty and empower people to better their lives. They help an estimated 36,000 people each year to break the generational cycle of poverty. They have programs that help a wide variety of people, including children, families, seniors, and adults with disabilities. These programs include everything from domestic abuse help, to parenting courses, to housing and food assistance. Impact NW works closely with other community organizations, schools, businesses, and governmental agencies to help as many people as possible.
Rose Haven focuses specifically on helping women and children who are victims of abuse, have lost their homes, or have had other disruptive life experiences. In 2015 alone they helped over 3,000 people. They are LGBTQ friendly, and they also accept pets of all kinds. They have a health clinic, a community center, and a place to “shop” for clothing on site. In addition to these services, they also offer food and financial aid, career assistance, help in transitioning to permanent housing, creative courses, and support groups. Here is what they said to us in a recent letter:
Clothing rack at Rose Haven. Photo credit: Marrion Kaufman
“Thank you so much for supporting the lifesaving work of Rose Haven. We are so delighted to be in a partnership with your amazing group. The oral hygiene products recently donated as a result of your drive are so appreciated. We want you to know that you have played a significant role in helping the increasing number of women and children who are suffering from homelessness and abuse in our community. Because of you, we are able to maintain sanctuary for those who need it most.”
Raphael House also helps victims of abuse, assisting people of all ages, genders, backgrounds, and sexual orientations. On site they have an emergency shelter, a food pantry, a clothing closet, as well as an advocacy center to help people get back on their feet. They have career resources such as resume writing help, an interview style counselor, and computers and phones to help people with their job searches. Over half of the people they help are children, so homework help is available, as well as a safe space for children to play basketball and soccer. They also offer support groups, crafts, yoga, and therapy animals to help people heal from the trauma they have experienced.
Over the last few months we have collected a total of 1,571 oral care, bath supply, and pantry items for these three organizations. This equates to 394 pounds of supplies which have gone to help people in need. Out of these totals, 209 pounds of food were collected for Impact NW, completely filling their bare pantry. Those provisions have specifically helped people who needed emergency food assistance. We were also able to collect 937 travel-sized personal care items for Rose Haven and 178 full-sized personal care items for Raphael House. These donations have assisted the many different types of people who have come into these organizations needing assistance to get out of the difficult and sometimes dangerous situations in which they found themselves. Our support has helped people get back on their feet, allowing them another start at life and helping to break cycles of poverty and abuse.
Impact NW pantry (before). Photo credit: Marrion Kaufman
Impact NW pantry (after). Photo credit: Marrion Kaufman
We will continue to collect more donations in our match day drives, so keep your eye out for additional opportunities to give. However, if you would like to find out more about these worthy organizations or want more information on volunteering your time, click the links below: