A man sits at our piano, watches Youtube videos about how to play Mozart and Beethoven, then practices playing the music. The notes are calm and fill the room. He is one of our morning regulars who comes in for coffee and showers.
There is a sustained chatter in the room as compassionate listeners trained by the JUST Listening Evansville organization visit with our guests. The trained listeners come once a week to simply be present with and listen to our guests.
Gail is in kitchen serving up cookies and coffee and offering encouragement to everyone as they step to her window. She chats with a man as he waits to meet with caseworkers from Aurora.
The Bike Shop crew pops through the building to match people with refurbished bikes and to collect new bikes that have been donated to be refurbished.
Shawn writes a referral to our food pantry for two moms with three small children. They’ve never used a food pantry before, so she helps them through the process before sending them back to Greg and Jean in the food pantry.
The building is busy as it is every morning that we are open.
Notes from 40 Years at Patchwork:
Patchwork extended its efforts in economic development in low income neighborhoods with the opening of the Neighborhood Economic Development Center (NEDC) on May 1, 1983. Alan Winslow and Alice Serr were employed as staff and they quickly got to work encouraging new businesses, jobs for low income persons, and a revitalization of the economic base of our area.
NEDC provided classes for people who wanted to start their own small businesses and coordinated a peer lending program to make loan money available. Alan coordinated the program for over 20 years. Many businesses who serve our community today owe their start to NEDC. Others took Alan’s small business classes and learned that starting a business is challenging and that they were not ready.