Rotary Furnishes Creativity, Hope and Shelter

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The Day Shelter at Family Promise.
The Day Shelter at Family Promise.

Furniture has been a part of the human story since ancient times. As soon as our ancestors settled into communities, furniture creation began. A place to live was enhanced by items that provided eating, sleeping and gathering spaces.  Lately, the Tualatin Rotary Club has been involved in décor. Club members have donated funds to furnish the Makerspace at the Tualatin Library, the Day Shelter at Family Promise and The Shelter Box Relief Organization around the world.

Makerspace at the Tualatin Library.
Makerspace at the Tualatin Library.

The Tualatin library staff had been involved with STEAM education for several years. Last year, the City Council approved the building of a flexi-use multipurpose room in the library. It is a place where library patrons can create physical objects and digital media.  There are vinyl cutters, sewing machines, a tabletop kiln and computers in the room. This new library area will enhance technology education and opportunities for our residents.

Once the room was completed, furniture was needed. Ordinary tables and chairs would not be enough.  Specialized equipment required specialized furnishings. Tables needed to be a certain height and length. Chairs also required certain dimensions as well as the ability to be stacked and moveable. Rotary provided the funds to purchase the “just right” fixtures. Unique pegboard systems were needed to display and store the makerspace tools. The community and the Rotary Club rallied around this project and now library patrons have access to all it provides. The library likes to think that patrons can arrive with an idea and leave with a finished project. Open labs are on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Furniture can also provide comfort and hope. Families who are experiencing homelessness have a refuge in Tualatin. The Family Promise Day Center opened in 2019 to provide a place for families to gather during daytime hours. Furnishing the shelter required specific items. Couches and chairs for cozy gathering spaces. A large table for mealtimes. Workstations for trainings and job searches. Areas for resting and showering and doing laundry. Multipurpose tables, chairs and shelving were needed for the children’s area. And staff offices were equipped with appropriate technology and work-based furniture. The shelter opened in 2019 fully furnished through a donation from The Tualatin Rotary Club. Covid 19 has impacted the current operations of the shelter. To allow for safe health concerns, the shelter is now operating as a food distribution center and an office. Family Promise is still constantly assisting the families in their program and guiding them to a future that includes a “place of their own.” The shelter will be in full operation again once our public health is safe.

ShelterBox provides tents and necessary survival items.
ShelterBox provides tents and necessary survival items.

Disaster! Unfortunately, more and more citizens of this world lose everything due to storms, earthquakes and wartime displacement. Rotary International and our local club have joined with ShelterBox to provide rapid shelter in times of chaos. The assistance provided is tailored to the situation and needs of the people. The typical ShelterBox includes a tent and necessary survival items. ShelterBox works closely with local governments and aid organizations. Rotary has been working since 2012 to assist families after a natural disaster or political conflict. The emergency boxes have been delivered to Nepal, Haiti, The Dominican Republic, and the largest effort so far has been to house displaced people of Syria. Around the word, over 1,000 Rotarian volunteers are on the ground to assist delivery and operations. On the worst day possible, help arrives in the large green ShelterBox tub.

Furniture is truly a human necessity. It can delight, inspire, shelter and encourage. The Tualatin Rotary Club has recognized this and acted with funds to assist others. The next time you rest in a comfy chair; remember that there are organizations working to make certain that furniture is a part of all human experience.

Rotary invites anyone in our community to join our club and take part in our good work. If you would like “a seat at our table” visit tualatinrotary.org and we would love to welcome you.