Hospitality in the Snow

P1200939Patchwork was closed, for the most part, from Monday to Wednesday this week because of the winter storm. We didn’t want to risk injury or accidents for any of our staff or volunteers if they attempted to get out in the snow.

However, John and I could safely walk over to Patchwork each morning to make sure that none of our guests were waiting in the frigid cold for coffee and a shower. Several of the folks who frequent Patchwork spend the night outdoors and likely have no way of knowing that EVSC has cancelled classes so Patchwork is closed.

None of the mornings this week were as busy as usual, but there was still plenty of activity. Monday we went through two pots of coffee, despite being officially closed. Tuesday there were a few showers and a man was able to keep his meeting with his parole officer. The man also did some cleaning for us while he was here.

Most of our guests are like that. They try to help out or contribute where they can in gratitude for the hospitality that they receive from Patchwork. We enjoy visiting with P1200950them, hearing the interesting stories from their lives, and getting to know them as human beings.

Over the last few weeks, one man has taken it upon himself to clean at least one thing in the building every day he’s here so that things will continue to look nice. He even cleaned up after a few guests who were not as considerate and left messes in the shower. Another donated $5 toward our coffee supply. Another continues on his personal mission to keep our shower looking good by cleaning it regularly using extra elbow grease.

Another man was simply grateful that he received exactly what he needed when he needed it last week. His adult daughter was having a birthday later in the week. He inquired in the food pantry and was very pleased to find the perfect birthday cake there. However, he relies on a bike for transportation and couldn’t find a way to carry the cake without destroying it.  Since the man is a regular, John offered to drive him and the cake home. The man was so grateful that everything worked out and that he would have a cake for his daughter.


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Soup, Salad, & Style!


Soup, Salad, & Style!

fundraising luncheon for Patchwork Central

Thursday, February 26, 2015
Noon-1:30 p.m.

at Patchwork Central
100 Washington Avenue
(812) 424-2735

Make your reservation today!

To reserve a place, send $40 per person to Patchwork Central, 100 Washington Avenue, Evansville, IN 47713. All tickets are $50 if paid for at the door. (Please notify our office if you will attend as part of a group of 6-8 individuals and we will reserve space for you to sit together.)

Lunch includes:
– Spring Fashions from Wildflower Boutique
– Art by Patchwork Children for every guest
– A silent auction
– Gourmet Lunch provided by: Acropolis Restaurant & Catering, CRS OneSource, Just Rennie’s Catering & Cookie Co., & Madeleine’s Fusion Restaurant

Table sponsorships are available for $400 per table of eight. Additional sponsorship opportunities are also available. Please contact our office if you would like to learn more!

$25 of each ticket purchased is tax deductible.
Proceeds benefit Patchwork Central’s ongoing work to serve the people of our community.

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What’s YOUR Spark?

The kids in the Arts & Smarts program have been asking and answering that question often lately. A “spark” is something that you’re so excited about that you’re willing to work hard to get better at it. It’s your passion. It’s something you enjoy. It’s something that motivates you. It’s something that is meaningful for you and that can, in some small way, help make the world a better place.

Children who know their sparks and who have adults in their lives who know and support those sparks will thrive, according to research from the Search Institute.

The concept of sparks works well within Patchwork’s children’s program because we’re always trying new and different projects, we try to be responsive to the children’s individual interests, and we always include plenty of adults who can listen to and encourage the children. Kids at Patchwork can explore all kinds of sparks and find adult support for the things that they like to do best.

So far this semester the group has: painted paintings, created Valentines to sell, practiced building and operating robotics, begun to learn about stop motion animation, helped make snacks, created fun clay projects in the studio, read books with volunteers, played games, and gotten to meet new friends. In tutoring, kids have also had their tutors’ help and support in all of their classroom subjects.

Last semester, each child created a self portrait and attached their sparks to it. The results are wonderful. Above is a gallery of some of the portraits along with the children’s sparks (hover your cursor over each image and each child’s sparks will appear, or click on one image to see a bigger slide show).

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Sozo Health Ministry: Yes, We’ll Take a Look at That

The new Sozo* Health Ministry launched January 5 at Patchwork Central (*Sozo is a New Testament Greek word meaning both “to heal” and “to save”). In just two short weeks, it has already made a difference and met needs. Nurse John is in residence every Monday morning and at other times by appointment.

Health Minister JohnThe ministry’s motto is, “Yes, we’ll take a look at that.” On January 5th when people heard that there was a nurse providing health outreach at Patchwork, several of them did, in fact, ask Nurse John, “Would you take a look at this?” John proudly answered with our motto.

Already, the Health Ministry has seen several clients, educated people about their conditions and medications, provided first aid and nursing care, advocated for clients to get the resources they need for their health (including referrals for shelter, transportation, and prescription medication assistance), and provided pastoral care for spiritual health.

In Sozo’s first few hours of operation, one of our regular guests rode up on his bike and asked to speak to John. The man stops by Patchwork sporadically to say hello, and it had been a while since we’d last seen him. John had mentioned the new Health Ministry to the man back in November, and unbeknownst to us, the man had made it a point to be among Nurse John’s first clients. He valued the opportunity to share his health concerns with John, and he arranged for John to accompany him to his next doctor’s appointment.

Sozo Health Ministry is not a clinic and will not be diagnosing ailments or prescribing or dispensing medication. It will provide advocacy, education, screenings, and pastoral care for those it serves. Its services will adapt to the needs that Nurse John encounters as he meets with his clients.

We hope that as the Sozo Health Ministry continues, it will promote health and healing in Patchwork’s neighborhood and beyond. And if you want someone to “take a look at that,” just come to Patchwork on a Monday morning.

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Wrapping Up the Year

2014 is almost over and we’ve accomplished a lot!

food!In the last year, Patchwork’s food pantry has given out almost 19.5 tons of food, providing food to 1885 individuals from 904 households. Each food order is meant to feed a household for 3-4 days, meaning that our pantry distributed approximately 20,000 individual meals. Our food pantry also distributed hundreds of pounds of pet food thanks to the Tuly Fund.

A total of 103 children and youth in grades 1-8 attended Arts & Smarts activities. A total of 131 days of activities were offered, resulting in 2154 individual afternoons of creativity, learning, and growth. During the after school portion of the year, average daily attendance was 17 children. Additional high schoolers received leadership training as they volunteered in P1120931the Arts & Smarts program. As a result of this programming, participants gained important skills for life and developed important relationships with supportive and caring adults.

We logged approximately 8300 instances of what we call “Neighborhood Hospitality”. This included cups of coffee, phone use, packs of diapers, visits to our small clothing bank, and referrals to other local agencies. It also included 1059 showers for individuals who, for various reasons, had no other access to shower facilities. This is about double the showers taken at Patchwork during the previous year. Sometimes, our hospitality is simply having a staff member able toP1120563 lend a respectful listening ear to hear our neighbors’ frustrations, anger, or celebrations.

We also provided meeting space for other organizations who, like us, are working to make a stronger, healthier, and more peaceful community. Our urban garden spaces provided pleasant and meditative green spaces for our neighborhood, a unique educational opportunity for children in our Arts & Smarts program, and fresh vegetables for any of our neighbors who cared to harvest them. Our Back to School Sale prepared nearly 200 children for a new year of school.

How are we able to do all this? Only through generous gifts from people like you. The largest portion of our funding every year comes from individuals like yourselves. Additional support comes from local congregations, local businesses and organizations, and local foundations.

This is a wonderful time of year during which so many people give so that others can have the food, shelter, love, care, P1110299respect, and opportunities that we all need and want. It’s easy to add Patchwork to your list of charitable giving. You can do so by:

  • dropping by and visiting with us in person (check ahead to make sure we’re open; we’re on reduced holiday hours),
  • sending a check in the mail (to: Patchwork Central, 100 Washington Ave., Evansville, IN 47713), or
  • giving online using the link on our website (

Help us accomplish even more in 2015!

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Giving Thanks for Our Bounty

We always have a lot to be thankful for at Patchwork, but lately we’ve had some special celebrations.

The day before Thanksgiving, Darlene came in at the crack of dawn to bake breakfast casseroles for all of the morning’s visitors. “I’m grateful for everything I have,” she said. “I want to pay it forward.”

By the end of the morning, breakfast was gone andBreakfast bake numerous guests, volunteers, and staff had had a warm and filling meal. We’re grateful for Darlene and all of her generosity and hope it inspires others to “pay it forward” as well.

That morning was particularly busy as our guests came in to shower, to make phone calls, and to pick up some last minute food from our food pantry in preparation for Thanksgiving. Two mothers speaking mostly Spanish came for food and we worked to see that they were fed. A woman using sign language received food. Darlene was able to use her own sign language skills to converse with the woman.

I checked whether a man was eligible for a food order, and he was. “I’m gonna eat this week!” he said happily before telling me how grateful he is for the smiles he receives at Patchwork. “A smile means a lot to me,” he says. “Someone like me doesn’t always get a smile everywhere I go.”

The next week, it was the children’s turn to celebrate during our annual Arts & Smarts Christmas Party. It was a special day of caroling with friends from Aldersgate, making Party PeopleChristmas crafts with volunteers from Resurrection School, and sharing a feast provided by the staff of Unit 5100 at Deaconess Main Campus and the Muntzers.

As has been true for many years, the highlight of the afternoon was the opportunity for each child to “shop” for gifts for their families in our Christmas Store. The Store was made possible thanks to our Junior Leaders (grades 6-8), our High School Volunteers, and a grant from Youth Resources of Southwestern Indiana. The teens stocked the store during a grand pre-Thanksgiving discount store shopping spree.

At the Christmas Party, each child could chose at least three gifts for their loved ones and additional gifts if they’d had good attendance during the fall semester. A total of 46 children picked out gifts, including little brothers and sisters who are usually too young to come to the Arts & Smarts program and the high schoolers–once they’d helped the younger ones through the store.

Several children familiar with similar Christmastime stores doubling as PTA fundraisers at their schools were concerned that they wouldn’t be able shop for their families because they hadn’t brought any money. It was a gift to tell them that no money was needed. Once the gifts were chosen, they were wrapped and sent home. A grand time was had by all!

The Arts & Smarts Program will resume on Monday, January 5.

Thank you

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Our Fabulous Food Pantry

crab apple towerOften, volunteering in our food pantry is not glamorous. There is a lot of time spent waiting. Waiting, not knowing who woke up hungry today and will decide that they need help. Waiting, not knowing how many people will arrive in our food pantry with a voucher or when they will appear. Waiting, ready to help.

But then someone does arrive. It’s a family of one and then a family of five and a family of three in rapid succession. Food is bagged, carts filled, and the families leave, grateful for the help. Usage of our food pantry and all of the pantries in the Emergency Food Pantry Consortium is up in comparison to previous years.

Then there’s a knock at the back door and one of our volunteers is there with the latest food Darrelldelivery from Tri-State Food Bank. There is a burst of activity as the pickup truck is unloaded and the food is stored away safely. We’re grateful for our drivers’ dedication. They pick up our food on Mondays and Wednesdays, week after week, in rain and snow and ice and heat.

We’re losing a couple of our long-term delivery drivers: Darrell Megli and Bill Schmidt have both decided it’s time to retire. We are thankful for all their years of service (so many years that no one remembers exactly how many there have been). Luckily for us, there are new volunteers who have stepped up to take their places.

While a food voucher is required in order for someone to receive a full food order, there are some items available to anyone in need. We keep our bread rack and fresh produce area stocked for anyone to take what they can use.

Visitors can also request dog or cat food for their pets, thanks to the Tuly Fund which was created in memory of one of Patchwork’s beloved canine neighbors. The pet food!food makes it so our neighbors don’t have to choose between feeding their pets or feeding themselves. Additional donations of pet food or money are always welcome.

There are also pastries available if someone asks. Sometimes they’re perfect for special occasions, like last week when a woman came in and asked for a cake because it was her birthday. Shawn found an appropriate cake in the food pantry and presented it to the woman while singing happy birthday. The woman said she was going to take the cake home and would put 53 candles on it for herself.


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