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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Operation Nightwatch Portland

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Homeless & Housing, Homeless Centers, Human Services

Mission: Operation Nightwatch is an ecumenical night ministry providing hospitality to promote dignity and community among Portland's neediest.

Results: This year, over 13,000 visits have been made by guests to our downtown or Mobile Hospitality Centers, where we have provided the warmth of human connection along with food, blankets, and warm clothing.

Target demographics: homeless and low-income adults in the Portland, OR, metro area

Direct beneficiaries per year: 2400+

Geographic areas served: Metropolitan Portland, OR

Programs: Weekend Hospitality Center Mobile Hospitality Center Street Hospitality Teams Immersion Program Birthday Nights Comedy Movie Nights Sunday worship services Weekly Bible Studies Monthly day-trips to parks, museums Annual Spiritual Retreat Annual Christmas Party Annual Memorial Service

Community Stories

78 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

4 Sean13

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a fairly new volunteer with ONW at the downtown location. I was drawn to offer my time as a retired RN at the Sat foot clinic which was just a few hours a month but I wanted to give more time. I was able to offer my RN skills in the evenings as well since they lost their MA volunteer. Because I'm a trained Massage Therapist I offered that as well.
This is a truly non-judgemental and caring non-profit community that sees hospitality as a right and gift for all involved. I try to offer 5-6 chair massages Thurs and Fri while giving basic first-aide and assessments when needed. After a month the feedback has been good by our clients. A true place of hospitality.

2 James88

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I AM A VOLUNTEER IN NORTH PORTLAND WORKING WITH NIGHTWATCH PORTLAND. NIGHTWATCH COMES TO OUR CHURCH WITH THEIR RV MOBILE UNIT AND WORKS WITH OUR COMMUNITY OF NEEDY AND HOMELESS. IT HAS BEEN VERY BENEFICIAL, TO NOT ONLY THOSE SERVED, BUT ALSO ALL VOLUNTEERS WORKING WITH THEM. I PERSONALLY HAVE FOUND THE VERY FRIENDLY REPRESENTATIVE TO BE HELPFUL TO ME. THE RULES WE ALL LIVE BY ARE HELPFUL IN MY OWN LIFE AND RELATIONSHIPS AND HAVE HELPED ME OUT OF SOME PROBLEMS AND AVOID HEARTACHES. I FEEL THE NIGHTWATCH ORGANIZATION IS SERVING A VERY NEEDFUL AREAS OF HUMAN NEED AND IS VERY EFFECTIVE IN HOW THEY CONDUCT THAT SERVICE.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Nightwatch is a wonderful place not only for the guest, but also for the volunteer. It gives a space that allows for the breakdown of the barrier between homeless people and those more fortunate. It provided an opportunity for me to learn more about the realities of living on the street, and gave me tools to help understand all people with more grace and dignity.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Operation Nightwatch provides such a valuable resource for the community. If you have never been there, I encourage you to go. You will not regret it. I had the good fortune to walk in there a few years ago. Talk about a lifelong impact. As a professional and a advocate for the homeless, I am in awe of all that Nightwatch is and provides. Do yourself a favor, volunteer, donate, refer someone you see on the streets to take advantage of this amazing nonprofit.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

My sister volunteered at Operation Nightwatch for years, before she died a few years ago. She came to know them all by name and recognize their worth as human beings. This is a unique safe place for the homeless to find companionship along with food and socks, etc. It's a place of warmth, comfort, coffee, games and actually being recognized as a person and not just another homeless person. Operation Nightwatch is on my list for monthly donations. Betty Riley

1 Clarob

Board Member

Rating: 5

I applied to be on the board so I could futher the mission of this program to we've the marginalized. I have volunteered for about 20 years. The premise is simple, treat people as you would want to be treated if life kicked your feet out from under you and left you flat on the sidewalk. We don't try to change people but we create spaces where they can choose to change and support them in their journey.

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2

Donor

Rating: 5

I attended an Operation Nightwatch Breakfast last Saturday and learned some amazing things. Operation Nightwatch does not prosletize at their hospitality centers but also do not hide that this is an ecumenical ministry program that seeks to address peoples physical needs with food, clothing, bedding and access to bathroom facilities. They also address social needs by offering a full range of programs including movie nights, monthly outings, Christmas parties and a monthly birthday party. They are concerned about people's intellectural needs and provides a free book cart and stimulating conversations at the hospitality centers. They also seek to address people's spiritual needs through a weekly Bible study which has also become a support group and a weekly worship service that averages 25-30 attendees per week. At this service, they take an offering which is then donated to other programs that serve the low-income and homeless in Portlan. In ten years of faithful giving by these people who most view as having nothing to give, have raised $9900. The most important service Operation Nightwatch provides, is that opportunity for marginalized people to be part of our community in very normal ways. This raises self esteem and opens the door of HOPE.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I do footcare for the guests of Operation Nightwatch twice a month and have done so for 25 years. It is a very pleasent experience and I have made some very thouhgtful and considerate friends who are guests of Operation Nightwatch. I look forward to going to the center in Portland two Saturdays a month. The staff of Operation Nightwatch sees to my every need and treat the guests with great respect. If you would care to contact me to become a footcare nurse, contact Operation Nightwatch.

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Operation Nightwatch-Portland for at least 25 years as both an evening volunteer, bookkeeper, and foot care ministry helping my wife who does the foot care ministry. I have been and continue to be impressed with the way low-income and homeless people are treated with dignity and respect. No one is looked down on who comes to the center or the mobile hospitality center. All are welcome. We offer coffee, tea, water, sandwiches, comedy movie night, birthday night, and bible study times. The number of participants has increased each year that Operation Nightwatch-Portland has been in existance.

Review from Guidestar

1 John155

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Operation Nightwatch is a vital part of the community providing a meal, clean socks and blankets to the lesser fortunate of the community. The RV has had the room in the back turned into a medical exam room which has been a need for those that don't have insurance and can't afford a Dr. visit. Cost of living has increased, property taxes rise as the value goes down. Non-profits like this are vital to the needs of the community just like showers and housing. Every little bit helps when huge cuts are being made.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I used to live in my car with my dog Kosmo in Portland. Nightwatch was a place for me to get a little hope and a little less fear. Now I'm thinking about volunteering.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I used to pass homeless people on the street and walk faster, turn the other cheek and pretend not to notice, I now realize how wrong I was in doing so. Operation Nightwatch is a beautiful organization that works to fight social isolation among Portland's homeless population. We offer basic services for health, nutrition and hygiene, but most of all we offer our time. A majority of people living on the street have no one to talk to, no one to listen to problems and stories, and no one to just carry a decent conversation with. Nightwatch offers a safe and hospitable environment for those in need. I have been a volunteer for about six months and in this time I have learned so much about the power of kindness, hospitality, and a simple smile.

Alex F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at Operation Nightwatch on and off for about two years. Operation Nightwatch offers something much more than simply food, coffee, socks, blankets, hygiene products, etc; they offer a warm, safe environment where people can meet, talk, play games, and rest. For most people living outside, this chance to feel warm and safe, seen and heard, is incredibly valuable. Operation Nightwatch is an amazing organization, and the friendships I have made there are deep and long-lasting.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with Operation Nightwatch for some months while I was attending University in Portland. I became so close with the individuals that we hosted, that I am still in contact with many of them today, even though I am now living in Sweden. The people that I met at Operation Nightwatch have affected my life in many deep and profound ways, and I am eternally grateful and honored to know them. Operation Nightwatch is a wonderful organization that has a beautiful balance of service and friendship.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a warm caring place for people to come. We go on Sunday afternoon for the service and bring a meal to share afterward.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

we occasionally go the the Sunday eve service and bring a meal. It is a wonderful service.

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

This is a naive group that is unintentionally causing harm in the community. They have not addressed the design flaw whereby they attract both dangerous men and naive volunteers who are told that all they need is a smile. Their volunteer Nikki Powell was raped and murdered by a ON client and lay decomposing in her apartment for three full weeks with no family or fellow volunteers to check on her disappearance. The same homeless men who knew that sex offender Mark Beebout had moved on Nikki are at ON- you can meet them yourself. This group's extreme "turn the other cheek" approach puts volunteers at risk- along with lax security.

Comments ( 1 )

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Operation Nightwatch 10/09/2012

Our standards are more stringent than this reviewer would stereotype them. Those standards are set by our Board of Directors, among whom are a retired mental health worker, medical professionals, several lawyers, and a former Multnomah County prosecutor. Anyone is indeed welcome to visit and meet those who come to our Hospitality Centers, which would likely serve to bust other stereotypes this reviewer sets.

Shane L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to volunteer at Operation Nightwatch recently with my Mom, who is a volunteer homeless advocate in Los Angeles. We were both impressed with the idea behind Operation Nightwatch, as well as how it was carried out. We both visited a number of other agencies serving the homeless that same day & commented on how much interaction there was between volunteers & guests, how relaxed & calm guests were invited to be, the freedom they had to engage in different conversations and board games & come and go as they wished. There seemed to be an effortlessness in how the night's activities were run; while many other organizations passed out food, socks, toiletries & other goods, guests seemed to know they were there to be served & needn't hurry or be demanding in order to have their needs met. Operation Nightwatch does just that - attentively, respectfully & compassionately attend to eager guests. Nowhere else in the city did I see quite this level of welcome.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My friend and I have volunteered for about 10 years @ Operation Nightwatch. Through this organization we have socialized with people who are homeless @ holiday parties, picnics and Friday evening gatherings. We enjoy every aspect of our time with the people served by Operation Nightwatch from serving sandwiches/snacks/coffee to providing toiletries/socks/blankets. We get to know the people served better by playing games/cards with them as we visit. The communication with the directors and coordinators has been outstanding via email and personal contacts! Portland, Oregon is a better place because of Operation Nightwatch offering an opportunity for citizens to gather and gain a greater understanding of each other. It goes without saying we would not have continued volunteering over the years if we did not believe in Operation Nightwatch.

Donor

Rating: 5

Operation Nightwatch meets a very real need for many people. Their stories could belong to any one of us given different circumstances. Through genuine caring and dedication, this organization offers a safe and welcoming environment for fellowship and a sense of belonging. It provides clear rules and standards for guests and volunteers alike which, if followed, insure safety for all. I have seen over many years the positive impact Operation Nightwatch has had on the folks who attend. For some, this community has been life-changing. A friend once observed as he offered help to a "homeless" man: How can I be sure this isn't God himself. Therefore, "even as you did to the least of these, you did also to me...” (Matt. 25:40)

Melissa81

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a professional social worker and a volunteer, I am proud and very grateful that Operation Nightwatch exists. It provides so much more than a place for people to go for a couple of hours per night. It provides hope, compassion and conversation. For anyone who has not been to Nightwatch, you are missing out and owe yourself the opportunity to truly see the important work that this program provides. I am honored to be a part of Nightwatch and will always support this wonderful program!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I have volunteered at Operation Nightwatch for 15 years. We have had wonderful conversations and experiences with our guests. We have served sandwiches, cookies, coffee and offered the hospitality that ALL people deserve - no exceptions! We have had a great experience which is why we continue to volunteer each month. The rewards we feel far surpass the effort it takes to commit an evening for such important work. We believe that love and respect for our neighbors makes a stronger caring community. We practice radical hospitality, and it is an easy stretch! With open hearts and minds, Bonnie and Larry

Allyson F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a 5 year volunteer at ONW, I can honestly say that I have been really blessed to serve as a hospitality minister to Portland's homeless. The unique vision to offer a sense of belonging, a home so to speak, is amazing to be a part of, as I see positive change in the lives of people who many write of as garbage. I feel absolutely safe and appreciated at ONW, but take very seriously our boundary rules not to form outside relationships with guests. As with anywhere, in a world where evil exists, we all need to find balance with compassion and common sense regarding safety, and make wise choices. As heart wrenching and tragic Niki's murder is, she acted unwisely and in clear violation of the boundaries set up to protect us. I pray Mark will be held accountable and for comfort for her family, as well as for the other volunteers to make better boundary choices, myself included. Nightwatch serves real need in our city in a very positive way; I highly recommend volunteering to experience it for yourself!!:)

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at Operation Nightwatch, as a hspitality mininster, for 4 years now. It is an amazing ministry to the homeless in Portland and serving has been hugely rewarding, a true blessing for me as well. The unique vision of Nightwatch, focusing on community building, is wonderful. The guests and volunteers have truly become family to one another, and i am amazed at the ways this has broken barriers and led to deepened sense of self worth and belonging. The "gift" of acceptance and grace that we extend is a great complement to other focused rehab programs that some of our guests attend, and provides a safe space for those that are beyond realistic hope of reintegration. In serving Jesus in this way, I have personally been stretched and enriched in beautiful ways. I look forward to years of conintued involvement with nightwatch-and I can't say enough about our amazing director Gary Davis; his dedication is truly sacrificial, and all of our volunteers!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Operation Nightwatch is a wonderful organization. My husband and I know the leaders, and have provided and served meals. There is not enough good that we can say about the work that they do. They form relationships with people: like friends, like family, like what most of us take for granted. The great majority of the people served are people just like us-less money, less possessions, and somewhere, somehow, their lives took a different turn, BUT as relationships are formed it is revealing to find how many are educated, wise, sensitive, with the same needs for human connection that we all have. A "bad" apple might be found in many bushels, but believe us that is the exception, not the rule.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This group provides a safe setting for people who just need to get off the street for a bit. They provide food, a comfortable dry space and acceptance. The visitors can play games, chat, or even just sleep.They are very clear about not exchanging personal information between volunteers and clients and even require attendance at a training session to explain why this is important. The director works very hard to make this place comfortable and safe for both clients and volunteers.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have had the opportunity to see operation nightwatch in action from an outsiders perspective. Operation nightwatch has an outreach vehicle that parks every Friday night at one of the local neighborhoods that has several homeless and low income families. They serve a meal and provide warm clothing when available. Even in the heart of winter, with the cold and rain, the volunteers set up the hospitality vehicle and put out canopies, tables and chairs (and heater) so that those less fortunate have something warm to eat. I started hanging out and meeting many of the people who come regularly. These folks really appreciate this weekly service.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I discovered Operation Nightwatch about 10 years ago, shortly after moving to Portland from the Midwest. Since then I've been a regular "first Friday" volunteer. I was about to say that this is 'one of the truly unselfish things' that I do...but then I realized that I get so much back in return from serving the guests that come each evening, I can hardly make that claim.

Operation Nightwatch puts a face on homelessness. Each evening I talk with guests whose lives have taken some awful turns. Some I see every month; and they have become friends. Volunteering here reveals an additional dimension of diversity that I would not experience any other way.

I support this ministry financially as well because I know it is run on a shoestring, and most of money goes to doing good for those we serve. And, because I'm involved as a volunteer, I get to see those dollars doing good every day.

Some say this population of people needs to be pushed toward goals and specific outcomes, like getting a home or finding a job. Nightwatch has different, yet very powerful focus: Building Community and Self Respect! As a student of psychology, I'd label what we offer as the "Carl Rogers approach" to emotional health. When we listen to and affirm others, their inner strength grows. How many of the guests who pass through our doors have moved on to better lives (and have been able to tackle the larger challenges in their lives) because of the self respect that grew from seeds planted and nurtured each evening playing a games, sipping coffee, and just being a part of a safe and caring community.

THANK YOU Operation Nightwatch for making a difference for so many in Portland, and for the chance to know and love people that I'd otherwise look away from.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Operation Nightwatch became a part of my life nine years ago. Since then, I have seen how important this ministry has become in the lives of people newly on the street or having spent a long time there. I now provide a weekly worship and weekly bible study for our folks and find them to be some of the most caring and spiritual people I have ever met. In addition to sharing with each other, they share their meager resources through a weekly offering that supports local food pantries as well as global charities that provide assistance after earthquake, tsunami and hurricane devastation. The success stories of people who have turned away from addictions, who have stayed out of prison, who have gotten into housing and back into employment are too numerous to mention. They mostly will not make the news, but we who volunteer know them very well. It all begins with hospitality and relationship building. No one does it better than Operation Nightwatch.

David70

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have regularly volunteered at Operation Nightwatch since 1993 and served on its Board of Directors since 2003. Our focus at Nightwatch is on hospitality for persons experiencing poverty and homelessness. We operate in the evening when most other social service agencies are closed. For all who are involved in Nightwatch, hospitality is both a means and an end. It is a means insofar as basic respect and caring can help give the people we serve, our guests, renewed strength and self confidence without which they cannot hope to address the condition of their lives. It is an end in itself because it affirms a sense of community and mutual caring that enriches human life.

Donor

Rating: 5

Operation Nightwatch has been wonderful to us at OHSU. We can call and ask them to come later or earlier than our usual time, and they always find a way to make it work. The people who pick up our donations are always wonderful as well. I am glad we chose them over 2 years ago. It has been great!

Donor

Rating: 5

A really great non-profit that focuses on the emotional (as well as physical) well-being of Portland's street population. I'm so happy that our cafe chose Operation Nightwatch for our weekly donations! Gary picks them up personally, and I always love to hear about all the fun activities they have planned for the upcoming weeks!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I first had that opportunity to volunteer at Nightwatch three years ago as a student and I continue to volunteer to this day. Nightwatch is so much to so many people. What makes it so amazing is difficult to describe but easily seen if you have the opportunity to visit. Rather it be the smiles on peoples faces, the chatter in the corner, the vision of groups of people playing scrabble or seeing a person be able to sit down and feel safe for the first time in the day. As a social worker in the field, Nightwatch is to me an inspiration, it gives me hope and reminds me why I got into this field in the first place. Nightwatch does what many nonprofits don't do, they let people be themselves and allow for a clean and safe place to socialize with other people. Very few if any places exist that just allow people to be themselves and to come as they are. If it wasn't for Nightwatch so many people would not have the opportunity to do what so many of us take for granted, the ability to socialize other people and to be treated like a person instead of a nuisance. I honor Nightwatch and what they do, they run flawlessly and on a shoestring budget. Nightwatch is very well deserved of some assistance as they provide so much to so many.

Waylon S.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Operation Nightwatch, led by Gary Davis, is an excellent program providing hospitality to people that need it. Gary's vision of hospitality has created something truly unique and important.

Donor

Rating: 5

I've been involved on the edges of Operation Nightwatch for several years. Operation Nightwatch is high on my list of organizations to support because its guests are welcomed with dignity and true hospitality.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

My name is Samantha. I volunteered Operation Nightwatch, It was an enjoyable time to spend with those less fortunate. Those that are homeless had a chance to sit and relax, enjoyed food and hot drinks. We had a great time playing games and listening to others stories. Operation Nightwatch also supplies those in need with personal hygiene items Movie night seems to be a hit with the guests. One gentlemen there played piano there that night and it is to bad he could not get a job playing in a restaurant setting. The music was wonderful. It was a memorable night and was blessed for the opportunity to be apart of Operation Nightwatch

Samantha

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Operation Nightwatch faithfully meets the needs of the lonely and needy to associate in a generally accepting environment. My experience within the 20+ years has seen related improvements in various clients from its sensitive approach.
Operation Nightwatch volunteers attempt to reach an understanding of both all clients and individual client’s needs to find acceptance. Operation Nightwatch has developed outstanding sensitivity traits of its volunteers and leadership over the life of Operation Nightwatch, through capitalizing on talents to develop better approaches, as these were determined.
In some cases, incisive interest in various individuals has led to some of these men and women to send an emissary from their deathbed thanking the volunteers for making their lives tolerable.
Some clients from learning they were ok but maybe with major life changes could improve their lives on this earth, and have made those choices and returned thanking various volunteers.
Some clients have asked for spiritual assistance which has been available, and because of the ecumenical approach, volunteers approached the issue with a degree of sensitivity knowing another’s way to God, might not tie to their own, but another volunteer or agency could help.
This organization has been successful meeting its goals through sensitivity to its clients and hard work, and though it does not itemize changes in clients, those changes occur, and though it does not itemize the success of treating each person as Gods own, those successes are there as well.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began volunteering with ONW about twelve years ago. I have to say that it has been the most satisfying and fulfilling volunteer work I have ever done. Recently I have started and art class on Thursday nights where we do various projects and just generally have a good time together. ONW is a place that gives a sense of community, not just to the people we serve, but to us as volunteers as well. I consider the men and women there more than people I am serving, they are my friends. Living on the fringes of society can be extremely isolating, and what ONW does is to give folks a hand out of that isolation, a place to come and feel like family. I should mention that I am also a board member at ONW, but I count it my greatest privelidge to spend time at the center volunteering and offering my friendship to those who most need a friend. We hand out sanwhiches and provide coffee, do some light set-up and clean-up, but it is the conversations, discussion, card games, and scrabble that are the heart of what we do. I go on Thursdays to offer my friendship, and receive the same.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

The Night Watch helps prevent neighborhood crimes in evening and make downtown Portland attractive for nightlife and dining by helping remove homeless from sidewalks where there may be begging and accosting diners and shoppers, and instead control them in a carefully supervised environment.

From what I understand however there is no or little if any accountability there. There is no case management, intake or any methods to keep the homeless accountable in their recovery from addiction and antisocial behaviors. It thus attracts a lot of chronic cases for years and years. Nevertheless we as residents and business owners of downtown Portland are happy to know that there is Night Watch that keeps eyes on the worst of the worst bums so we do not have to deal with them. It's kind of like having a babysitter. Please support this charity as without Night Watch all hell will break loose.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered and attended Sunday evening service several Sundays a month for the past 3 years. I can tell you I've never felt so welcomed in a church/religious setting. It is a very special thing that's happened at operation nightwatch, and I hope it flourishes for years to come.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I bring dinner on a Sunday night to the worship service for street folks that Chaplain Roger Fuchs conducts. Sometimes 30 or more people wander in to hear Roger's message and then eat dinner with one another and we volunteers. It is a warm, cozy service and seems well received by all. Without Operation Nighwatch, this service wouldn't be possible and people might not get the chance to worship and hear the good word weekly.

Review from Guidestar

Aaron R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Operation Nightwatch is a wonderful place where people can meet and grow together in relationship. I am amazed at how this community of people can understand God's blessings so much more than wealthy communities near where I live. There were two men that I talked to at Operation Nightwatch. The first man's name was Michael and he had a broken leg. He was hit by a car when he was drunk one night. He went to the hospital and got his leg fixed, but couldn't afford any pain killers. So he has to just deal with the pain. A that time, he was living with a friend and knows that he needs to kick his alcohol addiction. He knows that his life sucks because of it. He's a smart guy. We talked about where he grew up, his opinions about stuff, etc. The second man's name was Leonard. He was a 40-something ex-Army staff sergeant with PTSD. He was telling me what it's like living on the street daily, where he gets food, and how much he wanted to go home to Montana. We talked about my job, kids, and how he should've listened to his mother better when he was younger. These are just two guys that have made mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. I raise my voice at my wife, I belittle something my sister is excited about, or I forget to do something at work. But the mistakes that these guys made have cost them much more than mine have. Different consequences, but still mistakes nonetheless. I am no better than these guys. These aren't people that I talk to in my every day life. So, it is refreshing to go to a place like Operation Nightwatch, help out, and hear stories from people who seem to have quite a different perspective on life and a better understanding of how to be thankful.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been attending Operation Nightwatch since November 2010 to play music for their chapel services on Sunday afternoons. This has been an amazing experience to watch people come in just for spiritual food and fellowship with others. It is touching to hear their prayers, and to see their involvement in the music. This is the only opportunity they have to attend a church and to really feel a part of things and like they belong. The care, compassion, and love are so obvious there.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked many years in community services. I have a graduate degree in social work and have also participated as a chaplain. I came to Nightwatch as a friend of young musicians who Nightwatch welcomed to contribute to the program of the evening. They and I also participated in the food serving and mingling with the people who came.


Through the evening, I had the privilege of watching Roger and his associates as they led in the nightwatch program. Roger as the leader of this organization could not have a better approach. He treats each person with dignity and respect and each individual who comes are obviously encouraged by his kindness, warmth and family/fatherly mentoring. He is a beautiful role model for his staff and they all follow his example. The homeless have come to feel that this is their family, that this is their home. Many of them stay as long as possible, reluctant to leave. The food is always home-made and they can have as many refills as they want. Roger leads a calm, beautiful spiritual service, giving it as much care and thought as if he was speaking to a crowd of the elite because that his how he perceives the people who come. He and his staff treat all the people they serve as "elite" and they obviously feel respected. I was amazed and awed by what I saw!!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been a volunteer and find the program meets a very important need in the Portland, OR area. during my time there I have seen many homeless individuals find a place to rest, feel safe, interact with other people in a supportive setting, and interact with non-homeless people in a non-judgmental atmosphere. this organization is an asset to those who use the services, and to the community as a whole.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first began volunteering with Operation Nightwatch Portland about nine years ago. Going there made me nervous at first because I had not closely associated with people on the street before. On my third night of volunteering, the Director asked me to go outside and spend some time with a man who appeared to be too intoxicated to come in. I did. We talked. He told me that he knew alcohol was destroying his life, destroying his wife's liver. He knew he needed to quit but just couldn't. I kept telling him he could when he was ready. Then, we joined hands and prayed. I told him he could come in later after the alcohol had worn off a bit. He did. He gave me a pleasant smile and we talked a bit. We didn't see him for another three months. But then he came back to say that one night had turned his life around. He had checked himself into a treatment program the next day and had now been sober for over two months.

Since that time I have become involved in Operation Nightwatch on a weekly basis and lead a Sunday worship and meal (four years running) and weekly Bible study (nine months). I have the best conversations with people, conversations that I wish I could have at church. But then, this is church. It is our church together.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer at Nightwatch for many years starting two locations back but it is clear to me that the location is not the reason for the services working so well. It's about the community and the clients who have made Nightwatch such a viable non-profit. The volunteers, staff and clients really see it as THEIRS and support it whole heartedly. I have noticed that the spiritual services have been ever more beneficial to folks' lives and recovery and made fellowship a reality each night we are open. I look forward to seeing specific guests and feel part of the community myself. I volunteer in the evenings but also in the monthly outings, bringing lunch for the guys. My husband has helped with the Movie Nights for years. These thing continue to connect us to this wonderful non-profit.

Review from Guidestar

Ruthie M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began volunteering for ONW about six months ago because I liked the idea of providing a community for people who may not have one elsewhere. In the time that I have been going there I have made some real friends in the guests and other volunteers. It seems obvious that people experiencing homelessness might want companionship, but I have never heard of any other organization providing this kind of service. Going to ONW has also given me the opportunity to view the world from a perspective that I would never have thought about had I not gone. It has helped to open my mind more and understand challenges that some people face. It also gives me a new sense of gratitude for things I have taken for granted in my life. I feel lucky to be able to help with this organization and I would encourage anyone else who is curious to participate as well.

I was able to volunteer for the Christmas party this past year and it was so nice to be able to provide a beautiful party to our guests who we served plated meals as though they were in a restaurant. Since most of them probably do not get to be pampered in that way very often it felt even more special than our weekly services which mostly include sandwiches, coffee and cookies. There was also karaoke and a trivia contest which were fun for everyone.

The guests and other volunteers have really provided me with a community as well even though I didn't necessarily feel I was looking for one. I love this organization and I value the time I get to spend there.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at Operation Nightwatch for the first time not too long ago and let me just say I was blown away by the tremdous amount of people that came in for a safe place, even just for a couple of hours. This organization helps so many people with giving them food, clothing or supplies, coffee, and a place to learn social skills by playing games or just conversing. It was an honor to volunteer for them and I will for sure be going back..and hopefully getting others to come along!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Operation Nightwatcfh has been serving the city of Portland, Oregon for over 25yrs. They are my volunteer organization of choice. Unfortunately we live in a society that looks at people through status. Where do you stand? What do you do for a living? What neighborhood do you live in? What, what; who cares! How can we judge each other that way? Life throws some curve balls sometimes, & we can end up in a place we never thought we'd end up. Don't kick your fellow humans when they are down; reach out to them. That is what Operation Nightwatch does. They build community with the less fortunate. Sometimes you just need a little kindness. Don't we ALL just want to feel like we belong. If you're looking for a place to give back a little, try Nightwatch. You'll be hooked, you may smile!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have worked as a volunteer and board member for this organization. It has struggled through hard times and a lot of financial surprises, and always managed to find a way. I applaud Operation Nightwatch for the humanity it demonstrates in its respectful treatment of its guests, and the safe and peaceful space it provides in an otherwise chaotic street life.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I got to volunteer at Operation Nightwatch on a Thursday night this winter. I was so impressed by Cole's orientation to the program, its services, and what to do as a volunteer. Then the doors opened and BOOM! The place was filled! I was so impressed by the homey atmosphere and the camaraderie. I had a blast learning new games with the guests and talking with friends I hadn't seen in a few years. What a beautiful place for people to relax and be with friends in a safe environment. I'm thrilled that there's a place like Nightwatch in my city!

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

Operation Nightwatch seems to continuously adappted its resources to match the best possible service to less "and somewhat non-" adavantaged folks in Portland.
For instance it has developed from a drop in center which served coffee within a short area of a daily used office to moving to accomodate the loss of its drop in center to a very large area which still is a drop in center, and has now other complementary services to allow congenial accepting persons to help the area's clientel to cope with some problems of personal development.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've had the opportunity to help out at Operation Nightwatch and counted it a joy! Gods love is shared by everyone who helps out in a huge way. The homeless are helped not only in a physical way but relational as well. Michael B.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was blessed to volunteer in the past at NightWatch. This is a program that does a fantastic job of treating people with respect, dignity and friendship. When I began at NightWatch, it was the emphasis to get to know the names of the guests. It is extremely important to treat these people well and to give them a place to socialize and to be treated with respect. However, to actually get to know a person's name is a great opening to get to truly know the person and to see them as a brother or sister. The people at NightWatch do a great job with that aspect of this program.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

Operation Nightwatch is truly a hospitality ministry. I had the honor and blessing of volunteering from September 2009 to June 2010 on Thursday nights. Yes, Nightwatch provided some food and clothing to those people that asked but what was really important is that for the evening these people were our guests. That is an important word because that is exactly how these people were treated. An essential part of this ministry is that we learned the names of the guests so that they weren't a statistic or someone that we feel that we helped. By knowing their names they became our brothers and sisters. I witnessed numerous examples of how we should all treat our fellow men and women in the interactions between the guests. I remember an instance when one of the young men was leaving for the night and I called out his name and told him good night. He turned to me and said "you remembered my name!" It really struck home that what this ministry provides is a chance for these people to be treated with respect and friendship - something many of us take for granted but for these people who are essentially invisible to the "normal(?)" world. They become a person with a name and a story all their own. They become a family to each other and to those of us that have the honor to volunteer at Nightwatch. It was a fantastic experience for me and opened my eyes to those that deserve to be treated with respect, dignity and friendship - something we all want and hope for.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at Nightwatch since 1993 and been a board member since 2002. I value Nightwatch because it is about building relationships with people who for one reason or another have become socially marginalized. In an intensely individualistic and competitive society like ours some people inevitably find themselves cast aside either because of their own mistakes and bad choices or because of circumstances beyond their control or because of some combination of the two . Nightwatch accepts people as they are and invites them into a community in which they will be treated with respect so long as they respect others. By providing hospitality and breaking down social isolation Nightwatch can help people gain the strength they need to begin a process of recovery from the indignities of homelessness.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I haven't been volunteering long with Operation Nightwatch, but I'm impressed with how organized it is. The homeless community really seems to appreciate the effor that is put forth to them, and the volunteers truly enjoy what they do. I always find it rewarding to give my time to this organization.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Nightwatch provides a warm caring place for those who are homeless or underhoused . Warm Drinks ,Food, Clothing and a safe social environment can be enjoyed by anyone. The Director, Gary, was kind to help me establish an email account. Thank You very much! n

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Nightwatch is wonderful. I've been coming for three years now, and am an active member in the homeless community, both as a guest and as a volunteer. Nightwatch gives me a place to socialize with friends who sleep outside, as well as make new ones who do not. I enjoy the fact that I can come here, be myself, and accepted as that person, even on my bad days. I can talk to people whose concerns are not 'where shall I sleep tonight?' or 'Which line will I stand in to eat?'

Gary is a wonderful organizer, and has the interests of the guests of Nightwatch in mind with every decision he makes. The volunteers are wonderful, and many have been coming for far longer than I have.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for the past 30 years, both in Los Angeles and Portland, OR and Operation Nightwatch ranks best over all the organizations where I have volunteered. Its thoughtful provisions for and respectful interactions with homeless and limited income populations are fantastic and do not impose any philosophical or religious participation on the clients. IT'S A PLEASURE TO VOLUNTEER HERE!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I enjoyed spending time with some amazing guests at Operation Nightwatch! We played an ongoing card game and just talked. I learned a bit about each of them and had a chance to just serve by being present and a listening ear. The environment at Nightwatch is welcoming and feels safe and supportive. Guests feel comfortable in this community space. I felt grateful to be a part of it for even one time and believe in the importance of this kind of ministry in so many ways!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Operation Nightwatch is so close to the heart of authentic charity: just a safe, welcoming space for the guests and volunteers alike to receive the nourishing truth of our common spirituality and unique humanity.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I volunteered with Operation Nightwatch for 20 years, until I moved away from Portland. It is an aspect of my life in Portland that I miss. The relationships with folks living outside or in low-income hotels etc is the critical part of this ministry. It is not always easy, but it is human-to-human connection that is mutually transformative.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have known of Operation Nightwatch through our United Methodist Church's Outreach Committee. We have supported it with money and volunteers because it gives homeless people a place to be inside, to have fellowship in a safe place, and to receive food, clothing and even care for their feet (done weekly by a nurse from our church.

It does, I think, what Jesus would be doing in this time!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I had heard of Operation Nightwatch (ONW) when I first was called as Priest-in-charge of a Downtown Episcopal Parish in Portland. Members of our community have been making sandwiches every Wednesday to give them to Operation Nightwatch for their hospitality center guests. Just a few months ago, this fine organization had the rug pulled out from under them when the space they had be renting for their ministry was discontinued. St. Stephen's has always had a connection with ministry to those in our city who find themselves without a roof over their heads. ONW was offered office and hospitality space in our facility and it has been a wonderful experince of us; and I hope for them. Our building is bustleing with a ministry of hospitality and the good news of God's presence in all of our lives when we do what God has asked us to do; to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and provide shelter to those without. I am deeply impressed with the folks who run this organization as well as those who serve as volunteers and those who come looking for a hand of friendship in an otherwise friendless world. Well Done ONW!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have served as Operation Nightwatch's Program Coordinator for the last half a year. As much as I believe I have made a positive influence on the lives of the hundreds guests that have walked through our doors in that time period, no one has been more positively changed than me. In working to provide a safe, community space for one of Portland's most vulnerable populations, I have become more grounded in my own experiences and more compassionate about the lives of those I serve. I have also had the incredible opportunity to build solid friendships with so many of the guests who have come to call Nightwatch their own.
One of Operation Nightwatch's most incredible attributes is the ability our ministry has to transform: both our guests and our volunteers. Through an open ear, a cup of hot coffee or a game of Scrabble, our guests are treated with the dignity and respect we all deserve as human beings. Simultaneously, whether they come only once, or once a week, our volunteers have the opportunity to build relationships with those on the margins of society, transforming their view of homelessness from a statistical to humanitarian perspective.

Lindsey W.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Operation Nightwatch is a haven providing food, shelter, and community for its customers. The thing I love most about Nightwatch is that it accepts all its visitors as they are without any expectations in return. The focus is on ameliorating the social isolation that so often goes hand-in-hand with homelessness. The clients at Operation Nightwatch know that it's a safe place for them to go, build community, and create valuable relationships.

Corene R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Operation Nightwatch is an amazing organization. I recently started volunteering and am amazed at what I have experienced. They provide a place for guests to have community and feel support. We enjoy playing games and socializing. It has changed my views on Portland's homeless population and I have met truely great people. The homeless population is very thankful for the coffee and warm place to come and relax late at night. Cole and Gary have genuine hearts that seek to do God's will and it is awe inspiring and refreshing.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Operation Nightwatch is an amazing ministry, and unusual in its vision to provide hospitality to those without means, instead of handing them provisions and sending them away. The fact that they have been able to stay afloat in this economy is a blessing, and especially as they lost their building recently. I have loved dreaming about how God will provide them a way to bring value and community to those on the streets, and the vision of the people in charge is really inspiring. I have contributed to their ministry and plan to continue.