History of UV Mend

History of UV Mend

MEND had its beginning in 1983 when the local Ministerial Association decided to begin a cooperative effort to start a community food bank.

Eight churches gave support and volunteers to staff the food bank one morning each week. A room was provided by the Community United Methodist Church. Due to an 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. It was also moved to a new location offered by the city of Leavenworth, and became known as the Community Cupboard.

The Ministerial Association made a decision that in order to carry out the expanded vision of the Community Cupboard, they would need to hire part time staff and formally incorporate as a nonprofit organization. Consequently, 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 in addressing 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 home ownership possible for low to moderate-income families.

This effort became known as 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.  Proceeds from Jubilee help to support poverty reduction efforts both globally as well as 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 encorporate 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. In 2015, Community Harvest added 20,000 pounds of produce to food boxes for local families in Chelan and Douglas counties.

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