History of UV Mend
MEND had its beginning in 1983 when the local Ministerial Association launched a cooperative effort to start a community food bank.
Eight churches gave support and volunteers to staff the food bank one morning each week in a room provided by the Community United Methodist Church. Due to increasing demand for food bank services and a desire to meet additional needs in the community, this effort was eventually expanded to include a thrift store, moved to a new location offered by the city of Leavenworth, and became known as the Community Cupboard. The Ministerial Association decided they needed to hire part-time staff to carry out the expanded vision of the Community Cupboard, so Upper Valley MEND was formally incorporated under the laws of Washington State in 1988.
The Community Cupboard is located at 219 14th street in Leavenworth, and consists of a thrift store and food bank. The Cupboard also provides emergency assistance services, in the form of rent/mortgage and utility support, transportation assistance, and emergency shelter. The Cupboard also provides seasonal assistance to local families, including swim lesson vouchers for children during the summer, backpacks with school supplies in the fall, and holiday gifts during the winter.
A new chapter began for Upper Valley MEND in 1995 when the Board made a commitment and investment to address the need for affordable housing in the area. Various options were explored, and in 1998 a local orchardist offered Upper Valley MEND the option to purchase 15 acres of land suitable for development within the urban growth boundary of the city of Leavenworth. The decision was made to establish a Community Land Trust as a way to make homeownership possible for low to moderate-income families.
This effort became known as the SHARE Community Land Trust. SHARE stands for Securing Homes on Affordable Real Estate, and uses the Community Land Trust model to provide and secure affordable housing in the greater Leavenworth area. There are currently two SHARE neighborhoods (with 10 homes each) in Leavenworth: Alpine Heights and Aldea Village.
In 2009, the Upper Valley Free Clinic came under the umbrella of Upper Valley MEND. A partnership with Cascade Medical Center, the free clinic provides free medical care and referral services to residents of the Upper Valley every Monday night, from 6:30 pm to 8 pm. In 2014, the free clinic began providing free dental consultations on the first Monday of each month during the regular free clinic hours.
In 2011, the dream of Cornerstone Community Adult Family Home became a reailty. Cornerstone is a loving home and gathering place for six adults with developmental disabilities. The vision for Cornerstone grew from a conversation between a couple of local families, both of whom have sons with developmental disabilities and wanted their sons to have a supported living arrangement here in Leavenworth. A tremendous grassroots effort eventually lifted Cornerstone off the ground and helped the dream become a reality.
In the spring of 2011 Jubilee Global Gifts was gifted to Upper Valley MEND from founders John and Mary Schramm. Jubilee is a Fair Trade store selling hand-crafted items from developing nations and proceeds from Jubilee help to support poverty reduction efforts globally and locally. In 2015, Jubilee moved from its second-floor location on Front St. in Leavenworth to a larger, ground-floor location at 900 Front Street. Jubilee is now able to provide a larger variety of Fair-Trade merchandise, helping more artisans around the world and providing more support for MEND programs within the Upper Valley community.
In 2014, the Community Harvest Gleaning Program was adopted by Community Cupboard, as a way to incorporate more fresh produce into the food bank during the summer months. Through Community Harvest, volunteers glean excess or unmarketable produce from local orchards and farms and distribute this produce among 13 food banks in Chelan and Douglas counties. Additionally, Community Harvest distributes seeds to local gardeners who can then share some of their harvest with Community Cupboard through the Plant-A-Row initiative. Since its inception Community Harvest has added tens of thousands of pounds each summer to food banks in the area.