Staff Spotlight: Night Shift
There are many differences between day and night shifts.
Additionally, both differ from the “swing shift” of 3pm to 11pm which can see slow, rambling afternoons turn into lively, at times chaotic, nights and vice versa. This piece focuses on the night shift – the heroes who work through the dark to ensure Poverello Center guests can get a safe, mostly quiet, night’s sleep.
Recent Night Shift hire Randy believes that night shifters experience ample opportunities to practice respect and empathy.
“You can walk into a few volatile situations with tempers rising because it’s the middle of the night, but when you talk to our guests calmly and patiently you can see them calm down and have a much more productive conversation, great conversations actually,” Randy said. “You just treat people like you want to be treated and it yields pretty incredible results.”
Former staff member Nick said he appreciated a lot of things about his time on the night shift.
“You get to learn. You get to hear stories. People sometimes know just what to say at 3AM and there is definitely a feeling of camaraderie among the night shifters. You feel like unsung heroes sometimes. [The rest of the organization] doesn’t see the work you do, but you still do it because it’s necessary and our guests need it.”
Julian, one of the dozens of temporary hires for winter shelter, expressed how it can be challenging.
“There is not as much guidance as other shifts receive by virtue of administrators not being in the building,” they said. “But you get to have incredible conversations with folks and establish truly human connections with the people accessing our services.”
Recently, the Pov has been able to provide more support for the night shift. In September, the Pov announced it would begin hiring for two Night Shift Supervisors. By the end of January, the second hire will begin training and 12 hours of on-site supervision will be provided from 8PM to 8AM, seven days a week.
“It’s an incredible opportunity,” Night Supervisor MeriLee Watne said. “Nighttime can make our guests feel especially vulnerable, can make anyone feel vulnerable, really. So to be in a position to provide extra support to both our guests and staff is really an honor.”
Watne brings multiple years of direct care experience to the position and is excited to continue building rapport with guests whom she’s been working with for years.
Hiring Night supervisors has been hailed by many Poverello staffers as positive and relieving. It replaces an imperfect On Call system where night staff were encouraged to call the designated “On Call”
administrator who would often be woken up in the middle of the night with a phone call and asked to weigh in on a challenging situation.
“It was an imperfect system all around,” Shelter Manager Clair Bopp said. “So being able to replace that by having supervisors actually right there in the building with staff at night feels like a big win.”
An irony of night shift is that the sun dawning means your workday is coming to a close. It feels though, to night shifters, like they are at the dawn of a new era.
“We’re just so excited to get some more support and have someone going through the night with us,” Camile, another Winter Shelter hire, said. “It’s going to be great to have people to turn to and check in with without waking someone up.”
Certainly, it feels to night shift that some more light and warmth is heading their way very soon.
A Letter from Jill
Happy New Year! As we begin 2022, I’ve been reflecting on this past year in gratitude to the Poverello Center’s supporters and looking forward to new opportunities that are currently underway at the organization.
The past two years have been challenging for all of us, but have also pushed us to grow. The Poverello Center has changed and expanded so much since the beginning of the pandemic, and it’s evident in our staff numbers and the scope of programs at the Pov.
As long-term solutions to houselessness continue to be rooted in major systemic change, we are working hard to continuously adapt in order to best meet the needs of our most vulnerable community members and support them into housing.
From Veterans Programs to Emergency Winter Shelter, I look forward to engaging each of our supporters in the Poverello Center’s work this year. The Pov will continue to grow and change to meet the Missoula community’s dynamic needs in 2022 and I anticipate talking more about that with you all soon. In the meantime, I feel overwhelming gratitude for our community of support and collaborative problem solving.
Thank you for your continued help and support in providing food, shelter, help and hope to all who ask.
Homeless Persons Memorial: Honoring Lives Lost
On Dec. 21, 2021, service providers commemorated the passing of 21 individuals experiencing houselessness in Missoula County last year by holding the annual Homeless Persons Memorial. Rev. Courtney D. Arntzen, Community Chaplain, spoke at the Memorial to honor those who passed on. Here is an excerpt from the speech:
We gather tonight in a feeling of shared sorrow, a common affection, and a glimmer of hope that comes with the dawn. We gather to remember and honor the lives of many friends who died this year. We gather on the winter solstice a threshold of the seasons to recognize the threshold of life into death.
We come to give thanks for the lives of many tonight. In so doing, we come to this threshold moment to say that still, there is light in the darkness.
Some we honor were siblings, others parents, all were children of someone. And all we remember tonight were members of our Missoula community, some for a very brief time, others for decades. They were neighbors, friends, partners, and co-workers. Tonight we come to recognize how these lives impacted our lives, how we are changed because they lived. And tonight, we entrust them into the care of the Creator of all things.
We remember their laughter and their tears. We remember how they shuffled along so slow or how they hummed a tune all day long. We remember how they loved their children and how their eyes lit up at their very mention. And we remember how they faithfully served this country.
Tonight as we gather, we remember our neighbors’ pride in accomplishing a task and the grief they shared in their physical ailments. We remember their smiles and the spark of joy that lived within them. And we grieve the circumstances around their deaths. Many died too young. It was not supposed to be like this, we say, and rightly so.
Tonight, on the longest night of the year, we enter the darkness of grief. We feel the pain and hurts of the world and the specific grief and loss of these members of our Missoula community.
And, tonight, on the longest night of the year, even as we enter the darkness, we defy it by declaring that light comes in the morning by lighting a candle and holding an LED light.
We, the community of Missoula, acknowledge the dark and say that it will not overwhelm us in our joining together tonight.
Jimmy Wright (Bongo)
DJ ToolFeather (Matt Hammer)
Lorraine IronHawk (Porky)
Volunteer Spotlight: First United Methodist Church
First United Methodist Church is busy on Saturday mornings. Bell choir practice can be heard throughout the building, and the basement’s commercial kitchen is bustling with volunteers from both the First United Methodist and the University Congregational Church communities.
Parish members began assembling sack lunch materials from their church kitchen in mid-November. From 8am until at least 10:30am each Saturday, the crew creates assembly lines to produce sandwiches from the materials the Poverello Center Food Programs provide.
“We remodeled three years ago with the intention to use the commercial kitchen for a lot of different purposes. United We Eat also prepares food out of here,” Carole Addis, First United Methodist Church member and volunteer, said.
Through collaboration with Poverello Center services, the volunteer group assembles, counts and packages about 200 sandwiches each week before returning full bags back to 1110 W. Broadway.
Sack lunches supplied through Food Programs serve as an option for Poverello clients who are on the go. They supplement the hot meals served twice a day at the main shelter and once a day at the Johnson Street Winter Shelter.
These sack lunches help keep our most vulnerable neighbors fed, whether they are staying at a Poverello facility or living unsheltered and working with the Homeless Outreach Team.
The group is working to source produce to include in the sack lunches, as they recognize that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are not sufficient meals.
“We must keep reminding ourselves that this is not enough nutrition for people,” Celia Winkler, volunteer, said.
Sack lunch production at the Pov has drastically increased since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With fewer people coming inside for hot lunches and an increased need for food resources in the Missoula community, volunteer groups support the Poverello Food Program significantly through sack lunch production. Groups like the folks who meet at the First United Methodist Church each Saturday morning make the Pov’s capacity possible.
Planned Giving: Donor-Advised Funds
Can a Donor-Advised Fund Help You to Grow Your Giving?
A donor-advised fund can offer a flexible, uncomplicated, and tax-savvy way to support the Poverello Center and other nonprofits that reflect your values.
Think of a donor-advised fund as a charitable investment account, established to benefit qualified charitable organizations now or over time. When you make gifts of cash or securities to a donor-advised fund, you can be eligible for a charitable tax deduction in that year. If you are looking to “bundle” your contributions every other year to generate charitable deductions greater beyond the annual standard deduction, a donor-advised fund may be a good option to explore. These funds can be established at the Montana Community Foundation or similar organizations, and can often be invested for tax-free growth. Once in place, they stand ready for you to recommend grants to IRS-qualified nonprofits when the time is right for you and those you are benefitting.
Please contact Jesse Jaeger at email@example.com or visit our website (thepoverellocenter.org/donate/) for a few important details about donor-advised funds. If you will be giving to the Pov through a donor-advised fund or have included another type of gift in your estate plan, please let us know so that we can share our appreciation and discuss possible recognition opportunities in our new Legacy of Hope Program. Thank you for working alongside us to provide food, shelter, help, and hope to our neighbors in need in Missoula County.
Thank you for working alongside us to provide food, shelter, help, and hope to our neighbors in need in Missoula County.
For more information on how you can provide a legacy gift to support your most vulnerable neighbors please contact us at 406-532-6686 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact the Montana Community Foundation, who manage these annuities for us, directly at 406-443-8313 or email@example.com.
Poverello Center ~ 1110 W Broadway St., Missoula, MT, 59802 ~ EIN 23-7439391
Supporting the Pov: Compassionate Composting
Food at the Poverello Center has many lives. First, it’s collected from stores that can no longer sell the items. Then it’s used to feed Poverello clients and stock the food pantry. After that, leftovers or rotting food still avoid the landfill.
Melissa Kirkham drives from Potomac each week to collect the unusable food to feed her farm animals and help feed her neighbors’ animals, too.
The Poverello Center Food Rescue Program saves thousands of pounds of food from landfills each month. This food is donated from partnering grocery stores and restaurants in the community.
These donations go toward prepping meals served at both the Poverello Center and the Johnson Street Emergency Shelter, stocking the food pantry, and supplying sack lunch materials. Every day, kitchen staff get creative in how to use what we get donated.
This is where scraps come in. Even with serving three meals each day at our main shelter, some wasted food is inevitable.
“It feels good to be able to use food that would otherwise go to the landfill,” Melissa said. “With the amount of food I get from the Pov, I’m able to feed all of my animals and also help my
neighbors even though they won’t ask me for help, I know it makes a big difference.”
In August, Melissa reached out to the Pov about donating kitchen food waste to her farm. Now, Melissa and Pov Food Program staff work together closely to get the otherwise-wasted food up to Potomac and fed to all kinds of animals.
“We recently butchered the first baby pig that’s been eating this food and (the pork) is delicious. It’s really exciting to see how the food goes full circle,” Melissa said.
Recently, Melissa offered to donate a hog to the Poverello Center. This means that the Pov kitchen could soon be serving locally raised pork that was fed almost entirely by the Poverello Center’s scraps.
“The food program has very little waste now, with Melissa taking any leftover food to the farm. We’ve even been able to make more space in storage,” Kitchen Manager Jared Bell said.
Shelter Ducks #PovFacts
If you’ve ever spent any amount of time at the Poverello Center’s main shelter location, you have seen a flock of ducks waddling around Cedar Street. Here are some fun and insightful facts about our feathered friends:
- Ducks are omnivores. They eat just about anything but should not eat bread. Feeding ducks bread is bad because the food has
little nutritional value and can harm ducklings’ growth, pollute waterways, and attract rodents and other pests.
- Ducks feet do not freeze because of a special heat exchange system in their legs. Ducks, as well as many other birds, have a counter-current heat exchange system between the arteries and veins in their legs. Warm arterial blood flowing to the feet passes close to cold venous blood returning from the feet. The arterial blood warms up the venous blood, dropping in temperature as it does so. This means that the blood that flows through the feet is relatively cool.
- Ducks are found everywhere in the world except Antarctica. It is too cold for them there!