4/4/08 by Steve Gevurtz

I woke up early to get a jumpstart on my case-notes, and then headed out to an apartment building in inner northeast Portland to remind folks about the dinner tonight at JOIN hosted by our friends at the Sunset Presbyterian Church.

In particular I wanted to see Stephanie, who hadn’t been to one of our community events in a while, to check in about the dinner. Stephanie can be a little reserved and wary of large social gatherings. I let her know that other JOIN workers would be there and the dinner was going to be a yummy taco salad. Stephanie agreed to let me pick her up for the dinner in the early evening.

After leaving the apartment building, I headed out to Birch, one of JOIN’s community partners that helps provide emergency food-boxes for our recently housed folks. Along with boxes of canned vegetables and loaves of bread, I also picked up a box of Danner boots to bring to a few of our folks who have recently started doing landscaping work.

After a quick lunch, I stopped by the hospital to see my friend Jason. Jason had two heart attacks in the last month and soon will be transitioning into an assisted living center. It is still hard for Jason to stand and get out of bed. We sat for a while and reminisced about some of Jason’s friends on the street.

Jason asked for me to play a few riffs on his acoustic guitar. Jason seemed to light up watching me stumble my way through, “Stairway to Heaven.” He showed me an easier way to play it. Jason asked me to say hello to some of his friends at the dinner and asked me to raise a toast to his recovery at exactly 7 pm. He wants to raise a toast at the same time.

Went to pick Stephanie up and she was there waiting outside for me ready for the dinner. Twenty-five or so folks end up showing up at JOIN for the feast. Church members and JOIN folks alike helped set up chairs and tables as folks got settled and begin chattering with each other.

Children from the congregation delivered plates of delicious taco salad for dinner and topped it off with chocolate cake for dessert. At 7 pm we all raise our glasses of juice and cups of coffee for Jason, hoping he is doing the same thing.