Another Successful We Are Family Fundraiser!

May 22, 2017

Central City Concern's annual fundraiser for the Letty Owings Center and Family Housing programs took place on Tuesday, May 2, at the Multnomah Athletic Club.During the program, CCC's Dr. Rachel Solotaroff sat down with Jamie (right) and her son, Dante (center), to talk about how CCC's Letty Owings Center and Family Housing have changed their lives.CCC Executive Director Ed Blackburn kicked off the program by welcoming the crowd of nearly 400.CCC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rachel Solotaroff spoke about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), how they contribute to cycles of poverty, and how those cycles can and are broken.
Chief Housing & Employment Officer Sean Hubert spoke about generational poverty and the steps CCC is taking to provide housing for families in need.Former CCC Chief Administrative Officer Rebecca Birenbaum made a heartfelt pitch to the audience of the need to support CCC's Letty Owings Center and Family Housing programs.Dante was a fantastic helper during the evening-ending raffle!We were thrilled to have Letty Owings Center Co-Founder Nancy Anderson (left) join us for the evening, pictured here with with CCC Executive Coordinator E.V. Armitage (right).The evening's entertainment was provided by  Jazz Society of Oregon Hall of Famer Shirley Nanette.

Central City Concern's annual fundraiser for the Letty Owings Center and Family Housing programs took place on Tuesday, May 2, at the Multnomah Athletic Club. Click on a photo to begin the slideshow.

• • •

On May 2, Central City Concern held our annual “We Are Family” fundraising dinner for Letty Owings Center, celebrating 20 years as a Central City Concern program, and our Family Housing programs. The big event took place for the fourth consecutive year at the Multnomah Athletic Club in southwest Portland. Rain couldn’t keep the partygoers away and a good time was had by all.

The evening’s program was led off by Executive Director Ed Blackburn, then Chief Housing and Employment Officer Sean Hubert offered thoughts on generational poverty and the steps Central City Concern is taking to provide housing for families in need. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rachel Solotaroff followed Sean with powerful insight on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). She spoke of how CCC addresses childhood trauma while helping people break the cycle of addiction and poverty.

Our featured guest was Family Housing resident and mother Jamie, along with her 10-year-old son Dante. Jamie shared her story of overcoming addiction in the safe and supportive environment of Letty Owings Center, a six-month residential addiction treatment program for pregnant women and those with young children. She also talked about her transition from Letty Owings Center to CCC Family Housing, where she has a family mentor, has learned basic money management, and continues to safely raise and care for her three children. Jamie’s goals include pursuing a career as a medical assistant after completing the prerequisites at Portland Community College.

Entertainment was provided by Jazz Society of Oregon Hall of Famer Shirley Nanette and Friends. Stumptown Photo Booth added to the to the picture perfect night.

All in all, close to 400 guests attended to celebrate and support our families and raised over $120,000 for the Letty Owings Center, which has witnessed the births of more than 270 babies, and the Family Housing program, which is home to 154 families.



​‘Tis the season for CCC's Adopt-A-Child Program!

Nov 04, 2016

This year, Central City Concern opened a new building in Clackamas County, which became home to 60 families. That makes 148 families now living in Central City Concern family housing.

We are thankful for 236 children sleeping, learning, and growing in safe, supportive, and healthy homes. Now it’s time to give them some unforgettable holiday memories. Our goal is to make sure all 236 children have gifts to open this year.

     

Please consider fulfilling the wish list of one or more children by registering individually, or as a group, to help provide holiday presents for all. We will share the first name and gift wish list of each child you choose to adopt.

Additionally, here are a few other ways you can help during the holiday season:

- Start a Toy Drive at your workplace.
- Send gift cards for families to fulfill wish lists.

For more information on how you can get involved, please contact Melissa Bishop at 971-352-8715 or melissa.bishop@ccconcern.org.

Thank you so much!

 



Giving a Hand Up by Going Green

Mar 04, 2016

It’s not often that a figurative elephant in the room involves an issue that weighs as much as an actual adult male Asian elephant. For years, the 10,000+ pounds of abandoned property Central City Concern collected annually went straight to the landfill. While everyone recognized that this was wasteful and expensive, it was also the only practical way to deal with that amount of stuff. But thanks to some exceptional people and a brand new program—the Recycling and Reuse Operations Center—CCC now has a way to tackle this problem head on in a way that benefits everyone.

Nearly half of Central City Concern’s 1,600+ units of housing are transitional housing units, primarily for people newly engaged with CCC’s addiction treatment services. These individuals are particularly prone to experiencing crises, which can lead to them abruptly leaving their housing. People leave behind assorted items: clothes, linens, kitchen items, and other housewares, most of which CCC has traditionally had to throw away when not reclaimed by their owners.

Recognizing that many of these items could help people moving into Central City Concern housing with little of their own, the CCC Green Team—a group of CCC employees that spearheads sustainability and conservation projects, led by E.V. Armitage, CCC Executive Coordinator—collected and cleaned abandoned dishware, then redistributed them to housing programs. Concerns about bed bugs kept them from doing the same with abandoned clothes and bedding (which accounted for 75% by weight of all the abandoned property). But the success of their dishware re-use project confirmed that there was a need and an opportunity to provide new residents with the basics. All they needed was a process.

They got a process and much, much more by way of Traci Kinden, of REvolve Waste, LLC, a volunteer who also happened to have a passion for minimizing waste, maximizing reuse, and recycling when possible. With the help of the Green Team, Traci collected abandoned property, including bed bug-free clothes, in the basement of a CCC building. She sorted. She cleaned. She organized and got items ready to be reused. She created processes and policies! The basement became a busy hub of giving abandoned property a new life.

Thanks to Traci’s work, many clients who needed items were able to access them almost as soon as they get engaged with CCC services. Saving items that could be reused, identifying items that could be recycled, and throwing things away only when necessary meant this process was more sustainable than ever. Fewer things to throw away meant less pick-up and landfill fees.

“We realized that we could actually achieve a triple bottom line,” said E.V. Armitage. Despite the great work Traci was doing, the amount of property coming in was too much, even with the many volunteer hours she put in. The Green Team realized that they had to think bigger: should this become its own program, with a dedicated paid employee?

   

   

Those questions were given a resounding “yes” when CCC approved the hiring of Jerry Boynton to oversee the brand new Recycling and Reuse Operations Center (ROC), located in CCC’s Medford Building. Similar to Traci, Jerry admits that he’s always had a fascination with recycling. Jerry is deeply familiar with the types of things CCC’s residents need. He previously worked sorting all types of donations for another agency. In other words, he’s perfect for this unique job.

Abandoned property in CCC housing units, as well as most in-kind donations, are sent to the ROC for processing. Jerry weighs every bag that arrives, sprays things down for an initial cleaning, and then carefully picks through all the contents. Impractical things or items in poor condition are sorted for recycling. Even unusable textiles are sent to a company that recycles fabric into washcloths! Only things that have no use and absolutely can’t be recycled are thrown away.

Basic items in good condition that can be used by clients are saved and washed; even clean items are put through a high heat cycle as a precaution against bed bugs. Jerry keeps many basic items at the ROC after processing, but he also redistributes to several other housing properties, as well as CCC’s Employment Access Center. Recently, the ROC has begun sharing items with other local organizations like Dress for Success, City Team Ministries, and Street Roots.


At the end of the day, the ROC successfully hits the triple bottom line: the financial, the environmental, and to top it off, the social. These efforts turn what were likely negative and traumatic circumstances that led to someone abandoning their property into an opportunity to help someone who needs a hand up.

Folks looking to start a new chapter of their lives using items that were given a second run. Talk about fresh starts.

“I get hugs galore when people come to the ROC to get things they need. It means a lot to them that they can get things to help them feel home a little faster,” Jerry says. “I love it.”



Finding Healing and Inspiration through Art

Feb 16, 2016

Katherine Ace, Curves of Juliet, 2012Katherine Ace, Love Letter, 2004Rick Bartow, Blue Jay 2, 2008Marlene Bauer, Sway, 1995Hildur Bjarnadóttir, Untitled (Notebook Paper)Rebeca Bollinger, Index, 2001
Rebeca Bollinger, Drive, 2001Sharon Bronzan, Waiting, 1999Carolyn Cole, Red (81003), 2010Baba Wagué Diakité, The Fishermen and the Helpers, 2013Shirley Gittelsohn, Triptych, 1974Cie Goulet, Yamhill Fields, 1992
Next

The Healing Through Art Collection consists of 58 pieces of artwork from 35 artists. Click on a photo to begin the slideshow.

Ÿ• • •

On any given day, Central City Concern’s Old Town Clinic and Old Town Recovery Center is filled with surprises. An unexpected success story. Laughter following a particularly difficult counseling session.  

And art. Beautiful, high-quality, inspiring art from some of the most renowned artists in the Pacific Northwest, including the likes of Carolyn Cole, William Park, Laura Ross-Paul, Baba Wagué Diakité, and Betty LaDuke. 

Understandably, a community health clinic that serves vulnerable populations—people sleeping outside, enduring debilitating physical or mental health crises, and living with little or no stability—might be the last place you would expect a fine art collection. But thanks to the ongoing efforts of an all-volunteer group known as the Art Task Force, CCC’s downtown healthcare campus is now home to a curated collection—58 individual pieces from 35 different artists—that hundreds of patients can see each day.

The idea to bring inspiring artwork to Central City Concern facilities was hatched years ago by then-Director of Public Affairs, Carole Romm. Slowly, artwork found its way into several Central City Concern housing sites, a small preview of things to come.

Soon thereafter, Carole and others learned about the benefits of artwork in healthcare settings. A well-known study by Roger S. Ulrich, Ph.D., a behavioral scientist who conducts research on the effects of healthcare facilities on medical outcomes, supports the idea that patients with access to views of art, nature, and other inspiring visual images are less stressed and anxious, and more hopeful and optimistic about treatment options. Subsequent studies and reviews have come to similar conclusions.

With the knowledge that art could aid in healing, and the belief that the people Central City Concern serves deserve access to exceptional art as much as anyone else, a small but passionate team of volunteers was assembled with the goal of procuring donations of artwork created by some of the Pacific Northwest’s best artists. As they got to work, artists, galleries, and collectors donated pieces, while others provided cash donations to purchase art.

Each piece of procured artwork was reviewed by Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson, Portland Art Museum’s Northwest Art Curator, who volunteered her time to ensure that this collection would be of the utmost quality and reputation. Further, a panel of Central City Concern patients and health services staff members reviewed each piece before it was accepted into the collection.

As a whole, the Healing Through Art Collection complements the unique healing model developed by Central City Concern, as well as SERA Architect’s award-winning design of the two adjacent clinics. The collection has become a shared community asset that enriches the lives of the patients we serve, the staff members who provide compassionate care, and the many visitors we host each year.

And while it may not be a surprise anymore when patients and visitors comment on the artwork around Old Town Clinic and Old Town Recovery Center, it remains thrilling to know that art has the power to elicit feelings of hope, calm, and healing.

You can learn more about each of the artists and their pieces by downloading the Healing Through Art booklet, which includes information about the artists and artist statements.

Past and current members of the Art Task Force include:

  • Pam Baker
  • Jeanine Jablonski
  • Carole Romm
  • Marcy Schwartz
  • Bing Sheldon
  • Kathleen Stephenson-Kuhn
  • Kate Wagle
  • Dedee Wilner-Nugent
  • Dan Winter
  • Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson (Curatorial Advisor)


Giving—and Inspiring—with Color

Feb 10, 2016

Writer, coach, and artist Jill Kelly first heard about the Letty Owings Center (LOC) about 10 years ago at a 12-step meeting. But it wasn’t until recently, from a desire to donate some of her artwork that she got more closely connected to Central City Concern’s residential treatment center for women with children.

“For the past two years, I've been involved in a wonderful program on transforming my relationship with money. One of our last assignments was to make a philanthropy plan. I balked at doing this because I don't have a lot of money to give away, but I began thinking of all the things I could give away besides money. And one of my biggest areas of wealth is my artwork. I began to think about how I could give some of it away, not just a piece at a time but a whole bunch of pieces.

“In 1989, I had spent 28 days in a treatment facility in rural Virginia. It was a safe place but it had very drab walls. I wanted to give my art to a treatment center for women in Portland, and the Letty Owings Center responded enthusiastically to my inquiry. I visited and found it to be a warm and friendly place but very basic. No art on the walls and not much color.”

Jill’s timing could not have been more perfect. LOC staff had recently started a project to repaint all 30 residential rooms with bold, cheerful colors. When LOC staffer Stephanie Draper saw pictures of the 31 paintings Jill was donating, she knew it was a tremendous opportunity. Stephanie had just completed painting the fifth room at LOC when she saw the artwork.

“Jill’s soft pastel and acrylic pieces use a lot of bold colors, and they are a great fit with the environment we’re trying to create,” said Stephanie. “We’re going to use Jill’s pieces to inspire color choices on the next 25 rooms.”

To make it easy for LOC to use the paintings, Jill took her donation further by encouraging her friends and family to donate funds ($4,000!) so that every piece could go to LOC already framed. Two framing get-togethers later and all 31 pieces were ready for pick-up.

“We are beyond thrilled with this donation,” said LOC Program Manager Tammy Hooper. “It was so generous of Jill and her friends to help us with the framing. We can’t wait to get these pieces up on the walls.”

Central City Concern will share photos of finished rooms – with Jill’s artwork – in the coming months. Thank you, Jill and friends, for making Letty Owings Center a more cheerful environment! To see Jill’s artwork, visit www.jillkellycreative.com.

 



A Moment to Say “Thank You”

Jan 22, 2016

The support that Central City Concern received through our end-of-the-year giving campaign, starting in November and up through the holiday season, was truly breathtaking. Together, the Central City Concern community gave $210,000 to support our programs and the people we serve. Now a smidge past the halfway point in January, we at CCC finally have a moment to take a beat to truly let the outpouring of community support sink in, and we want to say, THANK YOU.

In early November, we shared Elyse’s story of years getting knocked down by addiction, homelessness, and disease, but eventually stabilized, built up, and put in position to thrive with the help of Central City Concern’s continuum of services. Her courageous journey struck a chord with our community, as we received donations to support the programs that were so crucial to Elyse’s success.

Our 2015 Willamette Week Give!Guide campaign—just the third time CCC has participated—was our most successful to date. Give!Guide is a community-wide effort to encourage year-end giving throughout the Portland area and a celebration of the good work being done by local nonprofits.

Many others found their way to our website to make a year-end gift to CCC through our online donation page.

The causes of homelessness are complex; in turn, our services are comprehensive. And thanks to your support, Central City Concern can continue to provide those life-transforming programs that help individuals and families not only get off the street, but remain housed and work toward a life that fulfills their higher potential. It takes a full range of supports—integrated primary and mental healthcare, addiction treatment, housing, peer mentoring, and employment services—that you make possible.

Thank you for trusting Central City Concern to do this work in a way that honors each person’s unique journey. Your support means the world to us and those we serve. Here’s to a most fulfilling 2016.



Make a Gift, Get a Chance to Win $500 toward an Airbnb Stay!

Dec 01, 2015

As you know by now, Central City Concern is in the 2015 Willamette Week Give!Guide!

In addition to the great Portland-based incentives distributed by Give!Guide to people who make a gift of $10 or more to any participating nonprofit, Central City Concern is happy to offer a few incentives of our own. (Skip down to the bottom of this post for a full list.)

Each of CCC’s incentives has a direct connection to our community and work, so we want to share the story behind each one. Our first “deep dive” explored what inspired the Nye family to commit to matching every gift made to CCC by a 35-and-younger Give!Guide donor.

Today, we take a brief look back on the partnership that led to our second incentive – a $500 Airbnb gift certificate to one lucky person who makes a donation to CCC through Give!Guide! When you're ready to enter the drawing, simply head over to Central City Concern's Give!Guide page and make a gift today! 

• • •

Almost exactly one year ago, Airbnb began inviting Portland-based hosts to give back to their community in a brand new way. Airbnb developed a tool on their website through which local hosts can choose to donate a percentage of their hosting income to Central City Concern. Furthermore, Airbnb pledged to match the hosts’ donations up to a total of $125,000!

These donations from hosts and Airbnb are put toward move-in kits for individuals moving into CCC’s supportive housing communities. Each kit contains a multitude of household supplies: linens, a comforter and pillow, kitchen items like dishes and cups, and more, all lovingly assembled by volunteers (often from Airbnb’s Portland office) in a laundry basket.

Each of these items are essential to creating a sense of home, a sense of stability. Many of the people moving into our housing communities arrive after months (or years) of living on the street or unstable housing situations with few, if any, personal items. Walking through the door of their own place for the first time – keys in one hand, move-in kit in the other – represents a new chapter in our clients’ lives.

We know that having housing is critical to becoming healthier, staying on the road of recovery, managing mental illness, finding and keeping employment, and more. Thanks to Airbnb and generous Portland-based hosts, these move-in kits send a message that people in the local community care about our new residents and are rooting for their success.

So when Airbnb found out that Central City Concern was looking for a business to donate an enticing Give!Guide incentive, they again stepped up, providing the $500 gift certificate.

New residents often write thank you notes for the move-in baskets after they’ve had time to settle into their new homes. We compiled a number of them into a gallery we shared a few months ago, but we believe it’s valuable to share it again.

A selection of thank you notes new residents of Central City Concern housing have written after receiving their move-in kit. 

• • •

Ready for your chance to win? Visit Central City Concern's Give!Guide page and make a gift of any amount today. Every gift – no matter the size – makes a difference. The winner will be contacted in early January.

In addition to the Airbnb gift certificate, Central City Concern offers several more incentives:

  1. All donors 35-years-old and younger will have their donations matched by a generous CCC supporter (up to a total of $5,000)
  2. The first 20 donors of $100 or more will receive one bag of freshly roasted Central City Coffee delivered to their home
  3. Every Monday, one donor from the previous week will win a book that a CCC staff member has found to be informative and/or inspirational to their work


Holiday Adopt-a-Child Needs Your Help!

Nov 24, 2015

Season's greetings! The cold weather abruptly rolling into Portland reminds us that the holidays are getting closer. Soon many of use will be getting ready for the holidays, thinking of preparing special meals, and buying the perfect gifts for our loved ones.

Parents in Central City Concern's family housing are doing the same. But for many of these parents, it is a time of stress and worry about how they are going to make these special memories for their families.
 
Before letting you know how you can help, we want to share this short video of Randi with you. She is an example of how living in a supportive environment like Central City Concern can transform people's lives.
 
Like Randi's mom said in the video, "it takes a village, and that's truly what Central City Concern is." You are a part of that village!

Now, how can you help? Central City Concern's Family Housing has an annual “Holiday Adopt-A-Child Program” and with your help we can bring much joy and unexpected happiness to the 88 families who currently live in our low-income and drug-free communities.

These moms and dads have made a commitment to become better parents and community members. Some juggle employment with school, and others are just starting the path to a better way of life. They are all in need of some assistance during the holiday season.

Here are a few ways you can help.

1)  Register to Adopt-A-Child for this Holiday Season
You can register to adopt one or as many as children as you wish. We will provide the first name and gift wish list of each child you choose. Please contact Catharine Hunter as soon as possible to get registered: e-mail her at catharine.hunter@ccconcern.org or call her directly at 503-200-3903.

2) Send a gift card
We encourage the donation of gift cards for our families. Over the years, we’ve learned that gift cards are deeply appreciated by families because they not only provide supplemental holiday items, but they also give parents the opportunity to personally purchase items for their children.

Please send gift cards to
Attention: Catharine Hunter
Central City Concern
232 NW 6th Ave
Portland, OR 97209

3) Purchase and deliver items from our Gift Ideas list
Based upon children’s wish lists, we have compiled a general Gift Ideas list from which you may purchase individual items.

These items can be dropped off at the following:
Central City Concern Administration Office
232 NW 6th Ave
Portland, OR 97209
Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

OR

Central City Concern Sunrise Place
5724 NE Prescott
Portland, OR 97218
Saturday, December 12th and/or Sunday, December 13th between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
 
If you would like to arrange a time outside of these options please contact Catharine Hunter at 503-200-3903!
 
We are very grateful for you partnering with our Holiday Adopt-A-Child Program this year and look forward to hearing from you. Your contribution to this program will make such a big difference in the lives of many Portland families during the winter holidays.



We Met Our Match... Donors!

Nov 10, 2015

As you may have heard, Central City Concern is in the 2015 Willamette Week Give!Guide. We are ecstatic and thankful to have been chosen as one of 143 local Portland nonprofits to participate!

In addition to the great incentives Give!Guide distributes to donors who make a gift of $10 or more to any nonprofit over the course of Give!Guide season (November 4 through December 31), Central City Concern is excited to offer a few incentives of our own:

  1. All donors 35-years-old and younger will have their donations matched by a generous CCC supporter (up to a total of $5,000)
  2. The first 20 donors of $100 or more will receive one bag of freshly roasted Central City Coffee delivered to their home
  3. One randomly chosen donor will receive a $500 Airbnb gift certificate

Each of these incentives has a direct connection to Central City Concern’s community and work, so we’re excited to share the story behind these incentives over the next several weeks.

Our first “deep dive” into our incentives is a Q&A with donors James and Ashley-Renee Nye, the generous family behind the incentive to match every gift made to CCC by a 35-and-younger donor through giveguide.org—up to $5,000! We wanted to learn more about their commitment to encouraging philanthropy among their peers, so CCC’s Director of Communications, Kathy Pape, sat down with them to find out!

• • •

Q. What is it about CCC’s mission that calls to you?

A. We knew that homelessness was one of the big issues we wanted to address with our charitable giving, and after looking everything over, CCC seemed like a great fit for what we were trying to accomplish. The fact that CCC provides wraparound services aimed at getting people out of homelessness made us feel really good about deciding to support you.

Q. Do either of you serve on any nonprofit boards or regularly engage in volunteerism?

A. Not as much as we’d like to, especially since having a baby! My wife regularly volunteers for VoiceCatcher, a nonprofit women’s collective of writers and artists, and I serve on CCC’s Planned Giving Committee. I’ve also volunteered on the Finance Committee of the Rose City Rollers, Portland’s own roller derby league.

Q. Why do you suppose Give!Guide focuses on younger donors?

A. It’s definitely important to start the donating habit early. Many people think that under-35s don’t donate to charity. But according to a 2012 survey commissioned by the Millennial Impact Project, about 75% of people between the ages of 20 and 35 gave to charity in the previous year. As long as Give!Guide can get into young people’s hands, and make a case for helping the charities that make Portland a better place to live, I think we can really make a difference.

Q. What would you say to a friend about why they should donate to CCC?

A. There’s really no other local organization that does what CCC does. Portland is a great city, and everyone deserves to have a chance at helping it become even greater. CCC is helping provide that chance.



To Know We're Not Alone

Jun 18, 2015

“We read to know we’re not alone.”

For many book lovers, this quote from author and theologian C.S. Lewis captures their connection to the written word. Books transport us to far-off places and far-away times. They stretch our imaginations. They reaffirm and challenge us. Books remind us that we are all a part of a big, beautiful world.

For Anne Arthur, a health educator at Central City Concern’s Old Town Clinic (OTC), Lewis’s sentiment has led to a lifelong love affair with books.

Anne says, “I love to read. It’s such an important part of my life. I think it’s such a valuable thing.”

Her belief that books provide an intimate and necessary connection to the world also inspired her to reach out to patients of the Old Town Clinic in a unique way: a lending library accessible to all OTC patients.

We caught up with Anne to learn more about this wonderful project.

First off, what do you do as a health educator at the Old Town Clinic?
I provide brief interventions around drug and alcohol use using motivational interviewing. I check in with patients about where they are with drug and alcohol use. If they want resources or education around reduction or quitting, I help transition them to a counselor.

I also do work with a smoking cessation program. I do a lot of one-on-one quit plans with our patients. Most patients are pretty open to talking about these things and making changes. We’re seeing people quit and reduce over time!

How does the lending library work?
There’s a sign posted on the library that explains how it works. The sign asks that patients not take more than one book per week, and most patients have been really respectful of that expectation. Once they’ve taken a book and have read it, they can keep it or return it – it’s up to them.

A lot of people do bring the books back, but I’m glad the ones that don’t come back are out there being used.

Where did the idea for the lending library originate?
My office is located right around the corner from the 2nd floor Old Town Clinic waiting room. Sometimes, patients are experiencing a lot of stressors and it’s understandably brought into the waiting room with them. Initially, my thought was that having books to ready might help to make the waiting room a calmer place for everyone.

Also, for people who are living on the streets or maybe getting housing for first time, I think books can be a really valuable thing to take us out of our own situation, to imagine ourselves in other situations… escapism in a good way.

Some of our patients are getting housing for the first time in a long time. I really like the idea that they can have a few books that become their own to help make their space more of a home. Or they can pass along the book to a friend.

What kind of books are available?
I want to make sure that there are books of all kinds: fiction and non-fiction, political, theological, humor and cartoon books – everything. There’s also larger coffee table books that are photo-centric for patients with lower literacy or for patients who don’t enjoy reading as much.

I noticed that a lot of patients love National Geographic. I also noticed that self-helps books tend to go quickly, which is understandable when many of our patients have experienced trauma or are looking to gain healthier habits.

What do you think the lending library means to Old Town Clinic patients?
I would hope that it symbolizes that our clinic goes above and beyond basic healthcare. And of course, the lending library isn’t the only thing that does that. So much of what we do at CCC and the Old Town Clinic is really that humanity piece: we acknowledge and embrace our patients’ humanity.

I hope that this library makes the clinic a warmer and friendlier place. Other staff members have told me that patients have said that they really appreciate it and it makes them feel valued and respected to have that available.

The lending library is also a way to honor their trust in us at the clinic by showing them in other ways that we trust them back – from the rules of the lending library, to trusting them to pick books that are right for them.

What does the lending library mean to you?
I didn’t realize all the benefits of the library. Like I said, I originally thought it might help keep the lending library just a little calmer.

But I’ve gotten so much out of it – I recognize all the benefits, but I feel so happy. Sometimes I walk through the waiting room and seven out of the 10 patients waiting will have a book or a magazine. We also have a kids’ table in the waiting room if someone’s waiting for mom or dad, there are some children’s books. I walked through the other day and a mom was reading a book in Spanish to her child.

Have there been other benefits that have surprised you?
Yes! At the clinic, we have literature towers with handouts for patients. They intentionally have a lot of photographs and are written to meet the needs of people with low literacy (using simpler sentences and language). They have information about diabetes, pre-diabetes, exercise and eating, transgender resources, domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse – a lot of health information and some community-based resources patients might want.

I feel like the lending library works really well in concert with this literature. On one hand, the literature is very concrete and specific to their health and what their immediate health needs might be. After they pick up or read that literature, they can go find a book from the library. It’s a nice blend. It’s great to see patients who grab several handouts that pertain to their health but then also grab a book.

Many patients have started asking if they can donate books or magazines to the clinic. One patient said to me, “This clinic has done so much for me, and I don’t have a lot of money, but I’d love to donate some books as a way to give back.” What a feeling it was to hear that.

• • •

If you are interested in donating books to Old Town Clinic’s lending library, feel free to contact Anne directly at anne.arthur@ccconcern.org. If you are interested in making other types of in-kind donations, please contact CCC’s donor services manager at catharine.hunter@ccconcern.org