The Issue: Homelessness in Portland
According to a point-in-time count conducted by the Portland Housing Bureau, there were more than 2,700 people experiencing homelessness in Portland and Multnomah County on one night in January 2011. An additional 1,900 were sleeping in transitional housing. For these individuals and others living in poverty, avoiding hunger and staying adequately nourished can be a daily struggle.
The Campaign: Providing Meals for Those in Need
If 40 people donate $10 to this Grassroots campaign, then Sisters Of The Road can provide meals to 480 people experiencing homelessness, thanks to matching donations from a generous group of individuals and businesses. Each meal is normally purchased for $1.25 with barter-work credit, food stamp benefits, meal coupons, or cash, but these organizations will provide a $0.50 match for every $1 raised to increase the number of meals available by half. Each additional $10 raised will go toward funding future meals.
Each November, Sisters Of The Road's café sponsors a special meal for members of the community who are experiencing hunger. The November dinner is free for everyone. The menu will include barbecue ribs, macaroni 'n' cheese, greens, and blueberry cobbler. To contribute to the festive atmosphere, musicians will provide live entertainment.
All donations will be matched $0.50 on the dollar by a generous group of individuals and businesses.
Check out more Groupon Grassroots campaigns here.
Sisters Of The Road
Sisters Of The Road was born in 1979, when an anonymous person used chalk to draw a circle containing three Xs—the hobo symbol for good food and hospitality—on the sidewalk in front of the organization's new restaurant in the Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood. The founders paid for the space with $10 and bartered for the rent.
Today, visitors who can't afford the typical $1.25 price tag for a meal at the café also can barter work in exchange for their food—much of which is donated by local grocery stores. First-time customers and those who cannot pay or work for their meals get their food for free. Last year, the café served more than 39,000 meals, 3,500 of which were given gratis to families, people with disabilities, and first-time customers. Others worked a total of more than 10,000 hours to pay for their tabs. In addition to operating the restaurant, Sisters Of The Road has published a book and video on homelessness and sponsored an annual conference on economic human rights and nonviolence.