Volunteer Newsletter   Fall 2014

Important Update!

Effective Nov. 2, Resource Center Soup Kitchen dinner service hours will change. Click here to learn more.

From the Executive Director


Welcome to the first issue of the Preble Street Volunteer Newsletter, a new effort to keep you connected with the work we do on behalf of people experiencing homelessness, hunger, and poverty. We look forward to hearing your feedback, including requests for what you'd like to see in coming months. 

I recently got to thinking about how crucial volunteers are to our work while reading The Best Care Possible, an important book by Dr. Ira Byock. It included a lovely poem that I think perfectly captures the spirit of our valued volunteers. I hope you enjoy it.

Thank you for your tireless efforts in the face of so much need!

To Be of Use
By Marge Piercy

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

- Mark R. Swann, MSPA

Volunteer Spotlight: Dora Gough & Kelsey Rex

Dora Gough and Kelsey Rex are a mother-daughter volunteer force. Dora, a physical therapist and yoga instructor, has been teaching yoga at Florence House for more than a year. She’s become a valued part of that community, and fully embodies Preble Street’s credo of “meeting people where they’re at.”

Her daughter, Kelsey, is a recent college graduate who works full-time for our friends at Flatbread Co. Kelsey has periodically volunteered at the Resource Center Soup Kitchen in the past, but when Preble Street sent out an urgent call for volunteers at the end of the summer, she stepped up and committed to helping us Mondays through Thursdays in September and October. Beyond her extraordinary commitment, Kelsey’s know-how and spirit of cooperation have been invaluable to kitchen staff.

Read their reflections on our website.

Advocacy Corner


With the 2014 election right around the corner, Homeless Voices for Justice is in the thick of its 20th annual You Don’t Need a Home to Vote campaign. In addition to voter registration efforts, HVJ is hosting 11 candidates’ forums at homeless shelters in Portland, Brunswick, Lewiston, Augusta, and Bangor, featuring candidates for governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress (Districts 1 and 2), the Maine Legislature (Portland, Lewiston, Augusta, and Brunswick), and city/town council (Portland, Augusta, and Brunswick). All candidates running for these offices were invited to participate. 

To date, the Portland chapter of HVJ has hosted Shenna Bellows, candidate for U.S. Senate, Justin Alfond, Ben Chipman, Herb Adams, and Asher Platts, candidates for the Maine Legislature, Rep. Mike Michaud, candidate for governor, and Rep. Chellie Pingree, Isaac Misiuk, and Richard Murphy, candidates for Maine's 1st congressional district, at the Preble Street Resource Center. Upcoming events will feature Eliot Cutler, candidate for governor, and candidates for Portland City Council. 

Program Spotlight: Logan Place

Rose Strout Logan Place

On March 24, 2005, the number of homeless people spending the night at Portland’s Oxford Street Shelter decreased for the first time in more than two decades. That was the night Preble Street and Avesta Housing opened Logan Place.

Logan Place provides 30 safe, comfortable efficiency apartments for some of Portland's most chronically homeless adults to call home, with round-the-clock staff support. It offers an environment where, for the first time in years, or decades, tenants no longer have to sleep on a mat on the floor of a crowded shelter, or line up with hundreds of others for the privilege of a shower, meal, or mail.

Logan Place was the first program of its kind in Maine, and remains one of only a few in New England. It’s a model for a real solution to the problem of homelessness, opening the door for housing with no strings attached. We don’t demand sobriety. We don’t demand medication compliance. We don’t demand a psychiatric label or a Medicaid number for billing purposes. Instead of telling chronically homeless people they need to deal with their issues first, we offer them housing first.

National studies have shown—and we have seen first-hand—that once people are housed, once their basic needs are met, they can start dealing with other problems, working on recovery and engaging in mental health care, reconnecting with their families. Only when a person is safe, has a home, doesn’t have to deal with the stress and danger of the streets, does s/he have the ability to heal from a lifetime of trauma and illness.

Learn more.

Holiday Wish List

With colder weather upon us, Preble Street is seeking the following items to help make the holiday season a little happier for the people we serve: gloves (heavy duty, large), winter hats (unisex), athletic socks, deodorant, razors, shaving cream, toothbrushes, travel-sized toiletries, AA batteries, winter boots, hooded sweatshirts, underwear (male and female), backpacks, school supplies, art supplies, booklights, lip balm, and flashlights. 

Preble Street traditionally hosts holiday parties for clients in each of it programs. To make those parties a success, we'll need plenty of food, including home-baked cookies and cakes, crackers and cheese, chips and dips, shrimp cocktail, etc., as well as festive decorations such as lights, paper snowflakes, tablecloths, and garlands. To donate food or supplies for holiday parties, please sign up as soon as possible by emailing rhepler@preblestreet.org. 

Volunteer Needs
Please contact our volunteer manager if you are able to work any of these shifts at the Resource Center Soup Kitchen:

Breakfast (7-10am):
October 14-17, 20, 23-24, 30
November 3-7, 10, 12-15

Lunch (10:30am–1:30pm):
October 27, 28, 30
November 4, 5, 6

Dinner (3:30-6:30pm):
November 7, 14

Upcoming Events
You Don't Need a Home to Vote Candidates’ Forum - Portland City Council
October 21

You Don't Need a Home to Vote Candidates’ Forum - Eliot Cutler
October 23

Cabot Creamery and Maine Restaurants Team Up
Now through October 31

Preble Street in the News
Letter to the editor: Public good must top Maine’s agenda

Hunger stories come out of hiding

Congress needs to act so Maine’s LGBT homeless youth can get help

Maine’s summer meals program mixes together food, learning and fun to create one tasty summer!

Homeless advocacy group hosts candidates

Increase in homeless teens

Critics call DHHS office move a 'no win'

Plan to Restrict SNAP Benefits in Maine Meets Strong Opposition

Our View: Food programs for children advance slowly

Dr. Lisa Radio Hour: Life on the Edges #153

Filling the void

Rotarians practice "service above self" at Preble Street

Former homeless teen gives back

Bradley and St. Clair Join Preble Street

Our View: Permanent housing best way to help homeless

Maine Voices: Homeless veterans have an ally

More News>

To make a financial donation, please visit our donation page

You can help us stock our shelves and clothing closets with an in-kind donation.

Clothing and toiletry donations can be brought to 5 Portland Street (corner of Portland and Preble Streets), Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5:30pm and Saturday-Sunday, 9am-noon.

Food donations can be brought to 252 Oxford Street (west of corner of Preble and Oxford Streets)
7 days a week, 7am-6pm.

Did You Know?
Preble Street can turn every dollar you donate into six pounds of food for hungry neighbors!

Comments, Questions, Concerns?
We'd love your feedback on this newsletter, your experience volunteering at Preble Street, or anything else.

Drop us a line at volunteer@preblestreet.org.