It’s summertime. It’s traditionally a slower time for many of the vendors. But we’re hoping to change that this year. Make sure to remind yourself and friends to support your local neighborhood vendors who will be out and about selling the newspaper on hot summer days. In many cases, vendors have entrenched themselves into the community on street corners and in front of businesses around Portland. Many vendors also give back.
One example of this is vendor Rick Buck, who for the past month has been running around almost frantically organizing other individuals on the streets, bugging city officials and recruiting readers and supporters to help start a community garden for the Peace Lutheran Church on North Rosa Parks Way. It worked.
Rick spearheaded a group of people to donate materials, including lumber for raised beds, a dump truck (yes, a dump truck) worth of dirt, and starts for the garden. What makes this story special is not that the community garden itself was created, or how it was created per se, but that Rick is sleeping outdoors and having to survive on the streets himself — which readers know is no easy task. In many ways, helping the community for many individuals outdoors can become a coping mechanism that allows people to feel a sense of worth, which we all know we need. But sometimes that isn’t always apparent for many. Street Roots is proud of Rick, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that a church made up of mostly elderly individuals now has a community garden for years to come. (Photo of the garden below. Read about the story here.)
Another example of this is a vendor named Robert who sells in downtown Portland and is sleeping outdoors. A family recently came in and donated backpacks to some of our vendors. Robert was so moved by the gesture that he used the money made that day to buy the family a card and a small gift in appreciation. It’s the small things in life that make up community.
As one vendor said in the office this week after telling a joke, “All we’ve got is our sense of humor. If I lose that, I lose everything. That’s why there’s so much laughter in poverty.” I couldn’t agree more. Street Roots may not have a lot, but we have each other and we have laughter. Now, we have greens too, thanks to Rick. Beautiful.