SnoCap Community Charities

Phone: (503) 405-4293

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SnoCap Community Charities

SnoCap Community Charities Snowcap Oregon Food Bank (affiliate) Treated in an undignified manner by people who should clearly know better – wrongful mistreatment of trauma victims, and people who are ‘homeless’ Portland Oregon!!. A little background: SnowCap Community Charities is an affiliate of Oregon Food Bank. Oregon Food Bank’s representative, Danny Faccinetti (sp) was first contacted with regards to resolving these concerns. But, the concerns were not addressed. So, this note is up on here for others to be made aware. ——————— During a dark stretch of life, I intermittently ended up using SnowCap to help to subsidize costs of living, some of which were financial. I did not grow up using food banks, and prior to the hardship, had very little knowledge of how a food bank operated, who was serviced by a food bank etc. Day-day I did not think of charitable organizations, including food banks. They never crossed my mind. In addition, I think of myself as someone who is considerate, mindful, but not a prude. Conflict, I find, is often necessary to breed growth and to enact lasting transformation with regards to ‘old ways.’ In this case, ‘old ways’ of operations. With that said, when I contacted Mr. Faccinetti from Oregon Food Bank, on numerous occasions, I had real and genuine concern. Concerns were expressed based on personal experience being treated in an undignified manner, and desire this not occur to others. The main qualm I have with SnowCap is its “color code” system, which divides people seeking services into categories. I cannot relay the color code off by heart. But, it exists, and continues to exist after repeated calls to Oregon Food Bank regarding what I found to be its discriminatory nature based upon a person’s income and/or housing status. When a person walks into the lobby at SnowCap he takes a number. If he is a first time visitor, he is directed to the wall where there is a plastic office bin of different colored sheets. These sheets are called, “intake sheets.” The person fills out the form, then gives it to someone at the reception desk, who is often a volunteer. Well, apparently, one of the color categories is for people who are homeless (I did not find this out until much later). That’s a very subjective term in Oregon, as people who may be living out of a vehicle, motel, what have you may be considered to be ‘homeless.’ Some social workers will even state it is someone without a long-term or ‘fixed’ residence, such as a long-term subletter. Most of the general public and half of the volunteers at SnowCap are unaware of this very ambiguous definition of ‘homeless.’ Food stamps are being cut, and more people are going into food banks – some for the very first time after having held gainful employment, being able to purchase their own groceries without any financial hardship. Your average Joe or Jane would not suspect he is being ‘categorized’ and ‘reduced’ while he is in a dark stretch of life. But, he is! Depending on the day – SnowCap volunteers may be present, or may not be. But, there is inconsistency with regards to how a person is treated when he goes in. The way the check in process goes is that you state your name and/or birthdate (aka alias if you use one). Your name is found in SnowCap’s database, and you are asked if you need help with other items such as cat or dog food. You sign. Keep the number you grabbed when you went inside. The sheet the reception person fills out (a color coded sheet) is given to a staff person who will later assist. In my case, I did not have much of a place to store large quantities of food (like having a whole extra freezer in the basement of a house). Occasionally, I was on a bus, as well. So, I inquired into if I could come a few times per month (as opposed to most people coming 1 time per month), grabbing smaller portions. This was ‘approved’ by a staff person at the facility and noted in their system. (What I *didn’t* realize, however, is that I had been typecast as being ‘homeless.’ It took me many, many, many visits to SnowCap to figure this out.) After check-in, you sit in the lobby and wait to be called by a staff person, who will take you back into the food warehouse. “Number 33, it’s your turn.” Ok, so I am, “Number 33” and go back with a ‘personal shopper?’ It’s kind of strange, to be honest – that part alone. There’s a man or woman or maybe even a highschool kid ready to take you back to the warehouse. They push a shopping cart, while you pick items off a shelf to take home. For some reason, SnowCap doesn’t trust people to go and ‘shop’ on their own, even though right next to each shelf/bin is a number designating how much of the item you can have, based on your ‘family size.’ An example would be – a freezer filled with juices, coffee drinks, salads – ( you get one selection). Most people can read and follow instructions. So, why not let each pick his own? Often, when first in the warehouse, I was taken to a section with food that looked like it was for people going camping. Apparently, this is the section for people who live outside. I would always decline the food on those shelves, and find it wasn’t anything I could use. Sometimes a volunteer would say, “realllllly?” and be confused. A handful of times, I was asked if I wanted, “a can opener.” I would politely state, “no.” I started to feel like I was being monitored or that there was some joke I wasn’t getting. Finally, one day when I was there – a female worker asked: “do you need a blanket and a backpack?” This was very loud and many others (volunteers, and people shopping) were around! oy vey! Oh my goodness! Are you serious? I definitely halted the line, and relayed this to a staff person at SnowCap’s reception. The reception person was attentive and explained to the volunteer that I receive small amounts of food – a few times per month. Honestly, I was relieved. But, I did not think it was that difficult of a concept to grasp. The volunteer seemed to be focused on the color of the sheet alone – as if he were focused on the color of my skin. This is opposed to actually providing non-judgment and simply ‘doing your job regardless’. You never know what someone is going through, anyhow. *rolls eyes* I thought everything had been settled – and then I go again. Apparently, the ‘volunteers’ change up each and every time. So, you get a different person volunteering as a personal shopper. And, then the: “I have to defend myself” mode sets in. Same thing, “do you need a backpack?” omg. I was constantly defending myself against these people. And, what if I really did need one? Certainly, I would not tell you and make it publicly known I was sleeping in a storefront in the rain (that was not the case, at the time, thankfully). But the inquiry, itself, is not very discreet, whatsoever! (it’s asked in front of many others, sometimes by a really loud elder lady). It’s like the whole place is “outing” people that actually are living outside, by asking about the backpack, can opener, and blanket, as well as having a special section of food for people who live outside. How incredibly careless and classless! I feel so bad for people who actually need those items, yet who are afraid to ask because of “outing” their situation. In my case, I kept wondering – “what is going on? Why do I keep getting asked about this backpack, can opener, etc.” That’s when I began to survey the inside lobby. Then, when I’d go to the back to do an additional check in, I surveyed that area, too. That’s how I noticed the ‘color codes’ on the “intake sheets.” One day, I was just in the back of the reception area finishing up paperwork. It was then, I saw all the papers hanging up high to the right – up near the ceiling. Each little detail was indicated – including one color (I forget which color) as “homeless.” At the time, I wrote down the color and checked it with the sheet I was handed. Sure enough – it matched! The Scarlet Letter in the form of an “intake sheet.” I felt very betrayed, dishonored, and treated in an undignified manner by people whom I trusted to help in a dark time. People who were quick to judge and jump to conclusions. People who label. People who had no idea why I was in the dark time. People who did not see me as an equal person due to a hardship they knew nothing about. People who saw me as ‘lesser’ because of a colored slip I had no idea was indicating I was vulnerable and ‘weak’ and needed ‘help.’ It was like having ‘yellow skin.’ That’s really the worst part. That some people are so unaware they are being ‘outed’ demographically with regards to a financial hardship or housing hardship. Yet, they are with these “intake sheets.” My heart goes out to each who is sleeping outside and who has been ‘outed’ by this place. It’s unacceptable and heartless! And, the beat marches on…. To this day, SnowCrap still has the same operations. SnowCrap ‘personal shoppers’ aka ‘volunteers’ loudly ask invasive questions to vulnerable people; risking each time, ‘outing’ someone who is legitimately in need of a warm blanket, but who may refuse out of fear. Fear of being typcast as ‘homeless’ – and for life. God Bless the USA

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