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Innovative Connections
Resource Toolkit for November 2011
In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Tip of the Month: Always Shop With a List
Holiday Resources Galore!
How to Minimize Holiday Stress
Free (or Low Cost) & Fun Holiday Events
Upcoming Financial Education
Sign up for ACH
For Our Borrowers
Quick Links
Upcoming Events
Oregon Mission of Mercy

Monday November 21st and Tuesday November 22nd.  Free dental clinic at the Oregon Convention Center, doors open at 4:00am!!

Free Sack Lunch Concert


The Old Church 1422 SW 11th Avenue 

Every Wednesday starting at noon, free. For more information please click here.  

Proper 9th Annual Thanksgiving Feast 

Thursday November 24th:12:00pm - 4:00pm at Celebration Tabernacle (8131 North Denver Ave) offers a free Thanksgiving dinner with vegetarian options and live entertainment.    


Feast for Southeast 


Thursday November 24th from 2:00pm - 4:00pm at Mt. Scott Community Center.  Come attend or volunteer and meet your neighbors free.


For other Thanksgiving related events for today and this week, click here, offered up by 



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Stay tuned for our November Innovative Connections Issue on:
Holiday Tips and Resources!

It's getting cold, the rain is more consistent and the days darker. This can only mean one thing: the holiday season is knocking at our door.  To some this means days off, celebration and maybe even some presents, woohoo! But, every up has its down, and we know from experience that the holidays, with all their merry hype, can be extremely stressful. 


First of all, the holiday season often forces you to veer from your budget, no matter how well planned, kids, friends and family can throw it off track. That is why we advice you to do as Santa does, make a list and check it twice, so you can plan ahead, eliminate impulse buys and strategically save. 


With the holidays also comes a high volume of ads and temptations- commercial and social. Becoming aware of these outside pressures is a great step towards stepping back from the holiday craze. Instead, we encourage you to think about what the holidays really mean to you: Hanging out with family? Sharing a meal with people? Reflecting about your year? 


Also, take advantage of free (or low cost) holiday events as a way of making the most of your free time with the least money and  check out our article on How to Minimize Holiday Stress for further ideas on how to actually enjoy yourself this year! We have done our best to scrounge up every resource we could find that is up to date for this holiday season for those needing food, clothing and gift assistance. So check out the list!


Happy holidays,

Innovative Changes

Tip of the Month: Always Shop with a List!tipofthemonth

* Send us your tips! Each month we will collect your innovative money management tips -- these could be about resourceful ways you've saved money, thrifty activities you enjoy, helpful 
insights into living on a tight budget, etc. We will enter these tips into a pool and if selected, your tip will be featured in the next Innovative Connections and you will win a $20.00 Fred Meyer gift card.* 


shopping list

Especially around the holidays, even before taking your weekly trip to the grocery store, making a list before you go out to spend money is critical. The act of making a list allows you to think things through before you feel tempted by ads, deals and items staring at you longing from the shelf. This way, you don't forget the essentials and you aren't distracted by extra "wants" that can bust your budget. So next time before you head out , write down everything that you need and your spending limit for these items. This can save you lots of time, stress and money! Here are some ideas for list making and following: 


1. Have a List and Do Not Deviate From It

 When making your list, calculate exactly how much your shopping excursion will cost and only take that amount of cash with you to the stores.


2. Plan Meals for the Entire Week

Decide on next week's meals and check on which supplies you will need to purchase in order to make them. This way, you don't have to scramble every night to make sure everyone is fed and food doesn't go bad because you are buying exactly what you need!


3. Compare Store Prices and Shop Accordingly

After you have a list of the ingredients you need, find the best deals! Search for the items you need, and compare prices between stores, look for coupons.


4. Make a List of Frequently Used Staples and Watch for Sales

Products that are used frequently such as soap, toothpaste, deodorant, and laundry detergent regularly go on sale. Same with food that you can freeze. These are also cheaper when bought in bulk. Then you don't have to worry about buying them from month to month! 


5. Switch From Brand Name to Generic Products

 Although the packaging is less enticing, according to a recent study, consumers could not tell the difference between generic store brands and their brand name counterparts for 27 out of 30 products tested. Basically there is no difference, so why not save money?!


6. Clip Coupons

Even coupons that offer small discounts of 25 cents will add up into dollars- every bit counts!  Keep them organized in an envelope or in a place that you will remember to bring to the store.


7. Know When to Shop, and For What

Certain times of the year bring the greatest sales and deals, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas time(s). These are great times to stock up on things in bulk for huge savings.However, these can also be more stressful times to shop because everyone is out shopping. Keep that in mind and shop at a time that is right for you!


(adapted from

Holiday Resources Galore!!mainarticle 


party hatsIn these hard economic times it is hard enough to make ends meet, and now we have the holidays to contend with.  We, at Innovative Changes, have collected a list of resources throughout the Portland Metro area that we hope you will find helpful and stress reducing by taking some of the search off of your hands.

  To get even more listings for help during the holidays, please click on this link: Holiday Programs (INFO)


Food Boxes 


Neighborhood House

Emergency food boxes for people living in Southwest and North Portland.  Click on link to get exact zip codes and requirements.

Northeast Emergency Food Program

They provide emergency and urgent care:
* Three to five day supply of nutritious groceries (up to three times in a six-month period).
* Produce and bread (as available) daily.
* Gently used clothing for the whole family.
* Weekend food backpacks to homeless children in neighborhood schools.

If you would like to receive an emergency food box, please bring a photo ID for yourself and ID for all other persons living in the household (i.e., Social Security card, medical ID, birth certificate) and shopping bags. For questions, contact NEFP.

Low Income Financial Resources. for Portland Area Residents

Gives a list of places for resources for low-income and homeless individuals and families.

Call ahead of time.


Oregon Food Bank

Gives a list of resources for low-income or homeless individuals and families.

Another listing of food pantries that are available in the Portland Metro area.    

Holiday Food Boxes:

The Sunshine Division


Call first for more details

Please Note: Sunshine Division will be closed to clients on November 2, 2011


Neighborhood House


Call first for more details


Allen Temple Food Pantry

4214 Northeast 8th Avenue
Portland, OR 97211-3450
(503) 284-1010

Call first for more details


Radio Cab Foundation

It is a unique food program that provides families living in Greater Portland the essential ingredients - a Christmas turkey with all the fixings. 

They will begin accepting on-line referrals for
the Turkey Project on November 25, 2011.



Winter Clothing Help

  • Union Gospel Mission - - Dollar Deals: designated clothing racks for clothing at $1 per item....also 50% off many items in the store.

Toy Distribution


 Salvation Army: Christmas Intake/ food and Toy Distribution  In order to receive assistance, families must sign up at one of the locations (dates and times listed below).  Assistance is first come-first served at all locations.  Families are asked to bring a Photo ID for all adults in the household, proof of address (in the form of a utility bill or rental agreement) and one of the following for the children: birth certificate, proof of school registration, school report card, or social security card.   Families must also reside in the service area for The Corps. 


Gresham Corps: Intake dates and times: Every Tuesday - Friday, starting November 8th, 2011 until full, 9am - 12pm; Distribution: December 22nd, 2011 for seniors; December 23rd, 2011 for kids. Each of these distributions is by appointment only.  To volunteer, donate, or for more information, you can reach the Gresham Corps at 503-661-897


Moore Street Community and Worship Center: Intake dates are: Every Thursday in November (except Thanksgiving), Thurs. December 1st, 2011 and Saturday December 3rd, 2011 9am - 2pm. They will take place at the Corps at 5325 N. Williams Ave. Portland, OR 97217. Distribution: Thursday December 22nd, 2011.  Distribution is by appointment only.  For questions, to donate or to volunteer, you can reach Moore Street at 503-493-3925


Tualatin Valley Citadel: Intake dates and times: Nov. 4th, 11th and 12th, 9am - 4pm.  Intake will take place the The Corps located at 351 SE Oak St. Hillsboro, OR 97123.  Distribution: Dec. 21st, 9am - 8pm; Dec. 22nd, 9am - 4pm.  Distribution is by appointment only.  To contact Tualatin Valley for more information on intake, donating, or volunteering, please call 503-640-4311.


For even more resources you can go to or call 211.  All you have to do is dial 2-1-1, just like calling 411.  The call is completely anonymous and secure, so none of the information you give over the phone will be given to any other agency. 

By Misha Staggs  

 How to Minimize Holiday Stress       specialevent              stress cartoon Google "eliminate holiday stress" and you'll find lots of tips on how to avoid or eliminate holiday stress   The tips range from the obvious (get enough sleep) to the ridiculous (for most people getting a massage would probably help, but who has the time or money for one). 


Some of the better tips we've seen:


Use shortcuts.  If you send cards, send only to those you are in regular communication with, or include a standard letter rather than sending a personal note to each person.  If gift shopping is both real stressful and time-consuming, consider carefully chosen gift cards.


Get enough exercise.  Studies show that one of the quickest and surest ways to boost your mood is to exercise.  If you're away from home and can't do your usual routine, even a short walk will help. Even better, exercise outside (when it's not raining, or when it is!). Sunlight is known to help improve your mood and focus (take advantage of those rays while they're out!).


Watch what you eat.   Decrease the amount of fat and sugar you eat.  Limit caffeinated beverages.  If guilt about holiday binge eating is a problem, try totally abstaining.  It is often easier to say no, than to stop once started.  Do what you can to have some healthy food at hand for each meal.  Be aware of your intake, and practice mindful eating.


Relax.  Meditate. Breathe deeply. Sometimes we forget to take deep breaths and really give our bodies the oxygen we need. Merely stopping to take a few deep, cleansing breaths can reduce your level of negative stress in a matter of minutes.  Meditate, or take a class in relaxation and stretching techniques --like Tai Chi or Yoga. 


Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Take a walk at night and stargaze. Listen to soothing music. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.


Prioritize.  Plan ahead.  Decide what is really important to you this season and make sure you do it.  Eliminate the least important things if you don't have time for everything.  Plan menus and make a shopping list to avoid last minutes shopping trips for things you need.  Include an activity that you really enjoy.  Set budgets and stick by them for gifts, time spent shopping, cooking, etc.


Don't repeat mistake from prior years.  What was the most stressful occurrence last year?  Plan how to avoid a recurrence or minimize the effects if repeating the situation is unavoidable.

By Roger Metzler 
Free (or low Cost) & Fun Holiday Events  otherresource                            

As soon as you've de-stressed,  you can take in all the good things happening around the holiday season. By good things, we mean that there are lots of free, family friendly events occurring all over the city! Here is a list of some that we've picked out!:

Festival of Lights

The Grotto  @ NE 85th and Sandy Boulevard

500,000 lights, 150 choral performances, petting zoo, carolers, puppet shows, and hot chocolate

November 25 - December 30 (closed Christmas day)

Go to for full details.

General Admission: $8,Children 3 - 12yrs: $4,  2 and under: Free


Tuba Christmas

 December 10th at 130pm at Pioneer Courthouse Square

Admission is Free

Go to for more details


Christmas Ships

December 8th - 20th

Go to for viewing locations.


Winter Wonderland @ the Portland International Raceway

 November 24th - December 25th

Sunday - Thursday, 5pm - 9pm

Friday & Saturday, 5pm - 11pm

Rates vary by mode of transportation.

For those of you walking or bicycling please check out the website for special event days.

For more details, please go to


Macy's Holiday Parade

 The parade will begin promptly at 9 a.m. on the corner of NW Park and Davis. The parade will travel east on Davis to Broadway, south on Broadway to SW Alder, east on SW Alder (past Macy's) to SW 4th, north on SW 4th to NW Flanders, west on SW Flanders to NW Park Avenue. The parade lasts approximately one hour. Those wishing to secure curbside seating are encouraged to arrive early.

To see the full route go to


Holiday Tree Lightings


Stimson Lumber Tree Arrival | 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Come downtown to welcome the arrival of Portland's 75-foot tall Douglas Fir to Portland's Living Room. Festivities include a visit from Santa, seasonal songs performed by the Dickens Carolers and free hot chocolate!


Tree Lighting Ceremony presented by SmartPark, 11/25

5:30pm Be Merry at the Square! On the day after Thanksgiving, Portlanders will gather at the Square to celebrate the official start of the season by lighting the spectacular 75ft Tree provided by Stimson Lumber Company.  This year's event will feature a holiday sing-a-long featuring Pink Martini, members of the Oregon Symphony, and the Pacific Youth Choir.  With a big tree, lots of lights and a great community sing-a-long this is an event you won't want to miss!

 Where: Pioneer Courthouse Square for both events. 


Free Thanksgiving Dinner

@ Proper on November 24th from 12p - 4p

Located at 8131 N. Denver at Kilpatrick

Travel: Trimet 4, 6 or yello max - Kenton station


Or call Michael at 503-936-3704


See the side bar of events for more free holiday opportunities!


By Misha Staggs

Upcoming Financial Education: fined 



In collaboration with Multnomah Library, we will be teaching several free workshops on planning out your holiday time to decrease stress! Also, right around the corner is tax time (warning: our next issue will be chock full of information on getting ready for tax time!), so we scheduled Here is the schedule:


Upcoming Seminars:


De-stress During the Holidays: Holiday Finances 101 

Kenton Library on Saturday, November 19th from 4:00-5:30pm Midland Library on Monday, December 5 from 6:30-8pm

Troutdale Library on Wednesday, November 30 from 6-7:30pm


The holiday season is a stressful time. In collaboration with Multnomah County Libraries, this seminar will equip interested individuals, with tools and resources to minimize stress during through the holiday season. The first part of the seminar will be facilitated by a professional shopper who will give insider tips on shopping for the holidays. Then, we will discuss topics such as: managing holiday stress, saving and budgeting for the holidays, figuring out what the holidays mean to you and how to bring your family together during the holidays in a low cost way. We will also have information from other organizations in the community that provide specific holiday resources (food, gifts, clothes...etc) for individuals and families during this time. So come, bring your family and start taking steps to get through the holiday season in an enjoyable way!


Tax Time 101: Be Prepared!

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012, 5:30-6:30pm, Lloyd Center Mall, 3rd Floor


Please join Maggie Starr of CASH Oregon, Rebecca Flanegan, tax attorney and tax site manager and Talia Kahn-Kravis of IC$ for an hour packed full of information to get you ready to do taxes and ensure you are making informed choices when you are filing for and receiving your refund. Topics will include: An overview of taxes and the mechanics of filing your taxes, available tax credits, what documents you will need when filing, where to do your taxes for free or low cost and how to stay in control of your paycheck, refund and expenses throughout the year! 


To Register: call or email Talia at (503)-249-5205 or


*These seminars are part of our ongoing monthly seminar series covering special topics of interest to our clients. For more information about our seminar visit our website here.



We Can ACH Your Loan Payments! ach                             

We now have the ability to automatically withdraw funds from your account to make your loan payment for you.This is called Automatic Clearing House (ACH) and is an electronic network that allows us to direct deposit your loan payments into our account. If you would like to sign up for this, please fill out the form on attached here and send or fax it back to us (please do not email for security reasons). ACH is a good idea if you have a bank account and a reliable balance in your account on your monthly loan due date. If this does not fit you, ACH is not the best option.  If you have any questions, as always, feel free to give us a call: 503-249-5205.

For Our Borrowers

Money treeAre You Receiving Your Payment Reminders?

If you chose to receive your payment reminders by email, make sure that they are coming to your inbox and not your junk mail. If you would like to change the way that you receive reminders (by mail, by email, or by phone call) let us know! Call Talia at  or Carmina at 503.249-5205.

How to Make Your Loan Payment
  • You can mail your payment by check or money order to: Innovative Changes, 4610 N. Trenton St., Portland, OR 97203 or 2011 Lloyd Center, Portland, OR 97232.
  • You can drop off your payment (check, money order or cash) at the New Columbia Opportunity Center Front Desk- Mon- Fri, 8am-5pm 
    • Please note the building is closed to the public during the lunch hour (12pm-1pm) and is occasionally closed on Fridays for State furlough days.   
    • The front desk person has envelopes and is authorized to collect payments on our behalf if we are not in. If you are paying in cash and need change, you must contact Sarah, Carmina or Talia in advance to arrange a meeting time.    
  • You can drop off your payment (check, money order or cash) at the Lloyd Center, 3rd Floor, Suite 2011 (2011 Lloyd Center Mall, Portland, OR 97232) Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm and Saturdays by appointment (call Carmina). 
  • You can also pay via pay pal by following directions on our website here. Please note, it asks you to fill in a donation amount, but this is not a donation, it will go towards your loan payment.             

We Are Here to Help!  


Are you having trouble making your payment this month, or afraid that it might be a little late? Let us know! We understand that unexpected events and expenses can make it hard to keep your finances on track, and Innovative Changes wants to be there for you in such cases. Innovative Changes is flexible and willing to work with our borrowers to satisfy loan obligations, and in return we ask for honest and timely communication. Remember, if you know your payment is going to be late, let us know ahead of time and we might be able to avoid charging a late fee, or sending out a late notice.