It’s Thanksgiving–the time to take stock of all that we’re thankful for. At Patchwork, it feels like a good time to reflect on all we’ve done in the past year of service to our neighbors and our community. We are thankful for everyone who has helped us to provide these services including our staff, our volunteers, and our funders. May the blessings continue into the new year!
Here’s what we’ve accomplished in a year:
The Patchwork Central Emergency Food Pantry – Our food pantry served 1776 individuals from 972 households by distributing almost 20 tons of food. Each food order includes 3-4 days’ worth of food per person, meaning we distributed approximately 21,000 meals-worth of food. Households must receive a referral in order to get food, and we issued 415 referrals at Patchwork rather than asking those in need to make an extra trip to another referral agency.
Arts & Smarts After School and Summer Children’s Programming – 116 children and youth in grades 1-8 attended at least one day of Arts & Smarts activities. A total of 130 days of activities were offered, resulting in 2492 individual afternoons of creativity, learning, and growth. Of these children, 82% belonged to low income families. Additional teen volunteers received leadership training as they volunteered in the Arts & Smarts program. Daily activities included one-on-one tutoring, visual arts experiences, gardening, cooking, robotics, 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. We call it neighborhood hospitality. Last year, we logged approximately 7632 instances of hospitality. These include cups of coffee, phone use, visits to our small “clothing bank,” packs of diapers, bread, fresh vegetables, and referrals to other local agencies better equipped to assist the individual with his or her needs. It also included 1037 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.
Bike Shop – Patchwork’s Bike Shop was reorganized by volunteer Pete Emery in May, 2015.The Bike Shop is open Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8:30-noon. On average, 2-3 drop-in clients visited every day for repairs or to receive bikes. In the five months that the shop was open, we repaired and gave away 18 bikes to individuals who needed them for transportation. We also did numerous other repairs (both simple and complex) to bikes to return them to road-worthy condition.
Sozo Health Ministry – The Sozo Health Ministry began operating in January, 2015 to promote health and wholeness through weekly health screenings, education, advocacy, non-emergency medical transportation, and spiritual care. It is coordinated by Rev. John Rich, RN. In its first nine months, it provided 274 total health encounters
for 81 total clients. Total direct contact time was 327 hours. Services included 51 instances of transporting clients to medical appointments. They also included 11 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. Many people pass through our building on a weekly or monthly basis to visit these organizations. Last year, these groups included: Narcotics Anonymous, the Blackford Grove Neighborhood Association, the Evansville Friends Meeting, and the River City Food Co-op.
Community Garden – Patchwork maintains an urban garden next to our building, and we have since 1995. Not only does the garden provide pleasant green space for our neighborhood, it serves as an educational tool to use with the children in our programs and it provides fresh vegetables for any of our neighbors who care to harvest its produce. Many are surprised to hear that they are welcome to take what they can use.
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.