St. Philip’s Tree of Life is our effort to give back to organizations that benefit our community, a commitment we made as a part of our 2019 Annual Budget. Not only do we experience God’s love in and through our parish, we recognize that God’s love is all around us, through organizations and ministries that care for all of God’s creation. Each one of these organizations is close to the heart of someone in our church family, and is supported by our community.
Street Roots — published weekly in Portland, Oregon — has been Portland’s flagship publication addressing homelessness and poverty since 1998. Approximately 280 vendors rely on Street Roots for their income from selling papers. This operation normally depends on person-to-person interaction in the public sphere, with vendors talking with customers as they sell the newspaper. Since that runs counter to public health recommendations of shelter-in-place and social-distancing, the paper has temporarily suspended its print edition, switching to digital only.
As we know, this pandemic is affecting unhoused individuals in unprecedented ways, exposing holes in our health and response systems. Street Roots vendors are at the forefront of public health and response systems. To mitigate the loss of the income for vendors who cannot currently sell papers, Street Roots is providing all 280 with some weekly financial support to partially help them weather the storm. While unable to sell papers, vendors are doing important public outreach by passing out correct information as well as hygiene and sanitation supplies to other unhoused folks in coordination with the Multnomah County health department.
Because of the crisis, it became clear that Street Roots needed help to respond to the changing needs of its vendors and the houseless community, therefore they reached out to request help from the public through the Vendor Assistance Fund. While receiving some direct financial help and volunteering in the community, vendors also continue to provide emotional support to one another that has been life-changing for many over the years. Each month, Street Roots profiles one of its vendors. One example is Robin Havernick who is profiled in the current edition. She said, “[Street Roots has] given me an opportunity to turn my life around.” Since March 17, she’s been working with the Street Roots Coronavirus Prevention and Action Tem. “When I signed up to help out,” she said, “I didn’t even know I’d be getting paid. I just wanted to help my community.” Read Robin’s complete profile in the May 19, 2020 edition of the digital version of Street Roots as well as other news you will not find in any other newspaper or media source.