As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, it’s a good time to look back at everything that Patchwork has accomplished in the last year. Our 40th was a good year!
The Patchwork Central Emergency Food Pantry – Our food pantry served 2765 individuals from 1577 households by distributing almost 24.5 tons of food. The Pantry is open Monday-Thursday mornings and is one of seven that make up Evansville’s Emergency Food Pantry Consortium. Each food order includes 3-4 days’ worth of food, meaning we distributed approximately 33,000 meals-worth of food. Our food pantry also distributed 712 pounds of pet food from the Tuly Fund so recipients would not have to choose between feeding themselves or their pets.
Arts & Smarts After School and Summer Children’s Programming – Last school year, 85 children and youth in grades 1-8 attended at least one day of Arts & Smarts activities. A total of 128 days of activities were offered in that time, resulting in 1836 individual afternoons of creativity, learning, and growth. During the school year, average daily attendance was 14 children. Of these children, 79% belonged to low income families. Additional teen volunteers received leadership training as they volunteered in the Arts & Smarts program. All of this programming was offered at no cost to the children’s families. Daily activities included one-on-one tutoring, visual arts experiences, gardening, cooking, leadership training, substance abuse prevention, and reading. Through these activities, children gained important skills for life and developed relationships with caring adults.
Neighborhood Hospitality – One service Patchwork provides to our neighbors is simply our presence in the neighborhood. Last year, we logged approximately 9278 instances of “Neighborhood Hospitality”. These included cups of coffee, phone use, fresh vegetables, and referrals to other local agencies better equipped to assist the individual with his or her needs. It also included 1160 showers for individuals who, for various reasons, had no other access to shower facilities. Sometimes this hospitality is simply having a staff member able to lend a respectful listening ear to hear our neighbors’ frustrations, anger, or celebrations. We also brewed approximately 2000 pots of coffee.
Bike Shop – The Bike Shop is open Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8:30-noon and provides refurbished bikes to people who need them for transportation and repairs that allow existing bike owners to keep their means of transportation roadworthy. Last year we provided 131 refurbished adult bikes and 15 youth bikes to new owners. Another five bikes were given away as rewards to Arts & Smarts tutoring participants. We did countless repairs for walk in clients. All this work was completed by volunteers who contributed 669 hours of their time.
Sozo Health Ministry – The Sozo Health Ministry promotes health and wholeness through weekly health screenings, education, advocacy, non-emergency medical transportation, and spiritual care. It is coordinated by Rev. John Rich, RN. Last year, it provided 431 total health encounters for 88 total clients. Services included 84 instances of transporting clients to medical appointments, 249 checks of blood pressure, and 86 instances of medical supplies distributed. They also included 6 occasions in which staff identified emergency health situations in clients and 911 was called or the client was transported to an ER.
Building Use – Patchwork provides space for other organizations who, like us, are working to make a stronger, healthier, and more peaceful community.
Community Garden – Patchwork maintains urban gardens around our building. Not only do the gardens provide pleasant green space for our neighborhood, they serve as an educational tool to use with the children in our programs and provide fresh vegetables for any of our neighbors who care to harvest produce.
Worship – Patchwork holds weekly worship services on Sunday evenings at 5:15 pm. Services are ecumenical and completely volunteer-led. Worship has been important at Patchwork since its beginning as a neighborhood ministry in 1977.
Notes from 40 Years at Patchwork:
For twenty years, people at Patchwork Central have, in the words of one community member, “felt called to this place.” They have felt called to these decaying blocks of homes near what was once the center of a city whose economic and social heart has been transplanted to congested commercial centers close to suburban sprawl. For while the members of Patchwork come together, worship, and work within the city, it is this city—and its needs—that has moved into the consciousness of community members.
While brick or wooden structures may fall and rise, the concept home is not so readily shaken or destroyed. And Patchwork has made a home here—in this city, in this neighborhood, in this riverside corner of Indiana.
One community member gives this perspective of the twenty years of Patchwork history: “There has been a transition from our coming to fix things that are broken to coming to understand that we do the work we do out of love for others, for ourselves, for our community with others.” It is the challenge to be—and remain—present in this neighborhood. Yet Patchwork has grown from the vision and hard work of a few in 1977 to the vision and hard work of many in 1997. And those bold initiatives of the early years of Patchwork’s community life have borne fruit in the people and programs active here today.
~Bill Hemminger, Patchwork Stitches Newsletter, May 1997