There are a lot of ways to build community. Whether it’s through a simple conversation, the sharing of a meal, or creating a place to call home, building community requires connection. At HDFFA our work is focused on connecting folks to local food. We’re able to support a healthy and thriving food and farm network, because of the effective community partnerships that are in place.
Last year, we started offering local food gift boxes. What started as a way to better support our value added food partners while also serving as a fundraiser for our programs has turned into much more. We initially partnered with our sponsor, Central Oregon Association of Realtors (COAR), and started offering the boxes to real estate agents as a home closing gift. Soon after, COAR offered to purchase our gift boxes for each new Habitat for Humanity homeowner. We were thrilled! Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. The individuals and families they work with are extremely dedicated in working towards their goal of homeownership.
This collaboration has given our staff the chance to attend some of Habitat’s house dedication ceremonies. I was not prepared for how beautifully raw this experience would be. The new homeowners laugh and cry and reminisce about all the many steps they took to stand proudly in their very own home. They thank all the people who have come alongside them as volunteers, mentors, family and friends. It is such an honor to be with them in their kitchens and observe the community they’ve built. Gathering together in that space, the kitchen, is a really lovely way to welcome someone home.
Here in Central Oregon, we’re fortunate to have many dedicated individuals and agencies who recognize the collective responsibility we have to improve our community. HDFFA’s commitment to equitable food access and Habitat’s commitment to building strength, stability and self-reliance through affordable housing both play an important role in our community’s story. Standing inside a new home, shoulder to shoulder with folks dedicated to this work, was a good reminder of the power this story holds.
For more information on how to purchase our Local Food Gift Boxes, click here.
For more information about Bend-Redmond Habit for Humanity, click here.
For a video about one of Habitat’s most recent homeowners, click here.