Rhododendron Garden party supports efforts to house homeless families

by: David F. Ashton Human Solutions’ executive director, Jean DeMaster, presents their second annual “Jane Addams Social Activist Award” to Chiquita Rollins, along with board member Sheila Holden, Pacific Power Regional Community Manager and the organization’s board president, Carla Piluso, retired Gresham Chief of Police.

The Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, just west of Reed College, provided a perfect setting for the second annual 'Tea and Treasures Garden Party' on Sunday, May 1, to benefit the programs for homeless families of the East Portland-based nonprofit organization 'Human Solutions'.

'Human Solutions shelters or houses over 150 homeless families - that's about 500 people - every night of every week each year,' remarked Executive Director Jean DeMaster. 'One of the purposes of this event was to raise the funds needed to keep these programs for homeless families operational all year long.'

This fund-raising event features foods, beverages, and desserts such as you might expect at an elegant tea party - plus a silent auction of 'treasures' brought in by their volunteers.

'In addition to providing an opportunity to introduce new potential volunteers and donors to our organization,' Development Director Kristan Knapp added, 'we're also honoring a person who is special to our organization - Chiquita Rollins, who is the retiring Domestic Violence Coordinator with the Multnomah County.'

Rollins was presented the organization's second annual 'Jane Addams Social Activist Award', named after the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

'We consider Addams to be the 'mother, or grandmother, of social work' in this country,' Knapp added. 'So, we're honoring Chiquita, a person who's worked to make things better for survivors of domestic violence, and to help eliminate domestic violence, for more than 30 years.'

Some 15 volunteers presented the fund-raising event, which was attended by about 75 guests. Tea-goers dined on traditional sandwiches prepared by Inner Southeast Portland organic caterer Artemis Foods. 'Thanks to underwriting by Pacific Power, the funds we raised here will go to help house homeless families,' Knapp smiled.

The silent 'Treasure Auction' and a special appeal, together with sponsorships, raised $7,000, DeMaster later revealed.

'The needs of the homeless are ongoing,' she added. 'Find out more about the services we offer, or donate online, by visiting our website - www.humansolutions.org'.