Local, state and federal government assistance is on the way, but more help is needed to make sure everyone has access to services and assistance. Closures of vital resources, such as libraries where many people access the internet, or schools where kids access food, has a very real impact—and that's not to mention the challenges felt by workers continuing to provide vital services, while seeing others work from home.
One of the best ways to ease some anxiety about the economy and the health of our loved ones is to reach outside of one's own network and to extend a hand to others in need.
In times of economic uncertainty, organizations that serve the most vulnerable populations need financial support.
“Shepherd’s House has seen a significant drop in giving since the onset of this global crisis,” said Ryan Olufson of Shepard’s House Ministries in a statement early Sunday morning. “As you care for those closest to you, please help us to care for those often forgotten during times of great crisis.”
Central Oregonians can donate to Shepard’s House Ministries, an organization that helps people without homes in the community, as well as a number of other nonprofits including the Bethlehem Inn, Central Oregon Veterans Outreach and NeighborImpact.
The Homeless Leadership Coalition has a list of all the organizations working to help the unhoused in Central Oregon.
The community can also come together to provide direct assistance to those who are homebound or need help for any reason during this stressful time.
Pandemic Partners-Bend is a Facebook group launched by First Presbyterian Church that connects those who need help with those who can provide it. This can include running errands, picking up groceries, getting help with technology to stay connected to loved ones, rides to appointments and more.
The group has a few simple guidelines: keep posts focused on giving and receiving help (nothing political, religious, etc.) and follow common sense practices for interacting with strangers.
The group already has 4,700 members, a volunteer database, help request forms and a phone number people can call if they need immediate help (beyond emergencies where the number is 911 in Central Oregon.)
These are just a few things you can do to make sure everyone in our community is taken care during this crisis. We’ll be updating this article as new volunteer opportunities arise.
Stay up to date with all the latest coronavirus news in Central Oregon at the Source’s “Coronavirus HQ” page.
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