A group of high school students wanted to aid homeless persons in Portland, so they collaborated with the NGO Operation Night watch to construct a hospitality building outside of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Parish in downtown Portland.
During the rainy season, many homeless individuals are forced to live outside in the elements. The building will allow individuals to come out of the chilly weather and into a dry location to consume a hot meal prepared by Operation Nightwatch employees.
“I think it’s badly needed,” said April Stull, who has been living on the streets of Portland for about three years. “Anything to get out of the weather, anything helps a lot.”
The kids that built the building are from Reynolds Learning Academy’s trades program. Some of the students engaged include Skott Upchurch, Asher Cruz, and Luciano Erhardt. They stated that Operation Nightwatch need assistance in constructing the facility, and the students leaped at the chance.
“I think everyone deserves a place where they can feel accepted, if not at home,” Cruz added.
Angie Gilbert, Reynolds Trades Coordinator, stated that the program has been in place for almost two decades and that the academy has previously collaborated with Operation Nightwatch.
“They’re not able to open right now for indoor hospitality as they usually provide,” Gilbert said. “This is a way to give guests access to the same kind of outdoor dining experience that other housed community members get at restaurants.”
Every week, roughly 300 people are helped by Operation Nightwatch. On December 13th, there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the hospitality facility. On its website, the organization takes donations.