From the Rev. Sarah Monroe:
Dear Supporters of Chaplains on the Harbor,
We are writing for your help. We need monthly supporters to stay open and continue our work.
I started this ministry with a backpack of sandwiches and a $500 grant six and a half years ago. Five years ago, we opened a community center and then shelter in Westport. Four years ago, we started an apprenticeship program for people coming off the street and out of jail. Two years ago, we launched Harbor Roots Farm, as a way to heal land and people together as we grow food for the community.
As we begin this Lent, I remember that we are all made of dust. We use this to remind ourselves of our mortality, and there are few places we are more reminded of our mortality than on the streets of Grays Harbor, where we bury people at an alarming rate due to suicide, overdose, lack of medical care, and exposure. But those ashes remind us too that we are made of God’s essence, that we are stardust. That every person we bury, and every person we meet, and every person who joins our work, are stardust–precious, brilliant, valuable, deserving of life and all good things.
We have hired seven people from our community and from the jail and the streets, all incredible people who have fought to rebuild their lives and are now building out our programming. We are dreaming big dreams– growing food for the community, fighting for trauma informed treatment, advocating for housing, all while taking care of our neighbors the best we can with six feeding programs a week, a cold weather shelter, and weekly jail and street outreach. In the next year, we are building the structure we need to hire another round of apprentices and continue to grow our work and reach. We aim to become a major employer in Grays Harbor County, growing good food, creating a cafe, and creating small businesses that benefit the community, while hiring and supporting the people who have been left out of our social structure.
First, we need to attain a certain degree of stability. We are working with consultants to separately incorporate and we are strongly supported by the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia and groups like Group Health Foundation. One piece is crucial. We need to raise about $15,000 in monthly support, in order to continue to sustain this work. That means we need 300 people to pledge $50 a month, to insure we can continue supporting people on the street and creating paths for people to get off the street.
Please consider how you can become a monthly sustainer of our work. Everything counts: $25, $50, $100, or more. As a monthly sustainer, we pledge that we will keep you informed of our work through monthly newsletters. Each of you help make this work possible.
Rev. Sarah Monroe
Staff Spotlight: Chris Olive, Farm Manager
“One of the things that I am most proud of having been able to do since my time with this organization is the fact that I got to go to Washington DC and testify before Congress as a representative of the homeless veteran population. I would say that I am also proud to have been a factor in helping to change people’s minds in regards to the current paradigm surrounding addiction, homelessness, and poverty.”