As the global community faced a state of emergency this spring, the need for local community emergency shelters amplified. As COVID-19 began to spread across the Pacific Northwest, Bethlehem Inn of Bend, Oregon sought to find ways to share its services in generous response to the rising need.
Due to higher exposure to elements and poor access to hygiene, people without a home are already at greater medical risk of contracting disease, a harrowing reality in the age of COVID-19. Bethlehem Inn provides a warm and safe place to sleep, nourishing meals, and case management services for adults and children experiencing homelessness in Central Oregon. In order to continue providing these life-saving services to individuals, the dedicated staff and volunteers at Bethlehem Inn expanded a campaign called “Transforming Lives Together”. This includes partnerships with local restaurants to augment food supplies and support the Inn as it serves three meals a day.
In response to rising demand, Bethlehem Inn recently installed a new freezer to support the capacity of its meal services. Pictured here is a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted in celebration of this expansion, featuring staff in masks to demonstrate Bethlehem’s adherence to the CDC’s guidelines for preventing the spread of the virus. In order to limit contagion, Bethlehem Inn began operating sans volunteers, a limitation that added to the already piqued load placed on staff. Their desire to pivot and continue serving the needs of vulnerable members of our community is just one an example of selflessness and dedication that inspires us to do the same.
We remain grateful and inspired by the dedication of organizations like Bethlehem Inn and the selflessness of staff and volunteers who put their own well being at risk to serve the needs of others.