After months of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, which meant the loss of jobs and financial stability for many Oregonians, devastating wildfires swept through the state, causing many more to lose their homes and their belongings. Catholic Charities of Oregon (CCO), with its boots on the ground and programs already in place to help people in need, stepped up in tangible ways to help people affected by the pandemic and the wildfires.
CCO’s Food Response Network quickly adapted to the immediate need for fresh, healthy food when the pandemic caused many vulnerable Oregonians to lose their jobs and stability. Along with volunteers and community partners, Catholic Charities provided boxes of fresh produce, grains, meat, dairy, and other culturally specific food items to people in need through St. Martha’s Pantry and mobile pantries.
CCO also expanded resident services for those at its affordable housing developments. Through a special barbeque for residents, CCO staff provided a nutritious meal, as well as hygiene supplies, kitchen tools, children’s toys, and other necessary household items.
Those living outside were especially impacted by wildfire smoke, and CCO stepped in to help. Its staff delivered supplies to people, including medical-grade masks, water, food, and other necessities. CCO’s Housing Transitions Program Drop-In Center, which offers resources for those living outside, also provided KN-95 masks, and the Save First Emergency Assistance Fund helped those in need through legal clinics, hygiene items, and other essential supplies to people devastated by wildfires.
CCO works with people who have immigrated to the United States and saw firsthand how much many in that population were affected by wildfires. Many not only lost their homes, but also their belongings, their memories, and the paperwork that proves their status in the United States. CCO’s Immigration Legal Services team assisted victims of the wildfires and worked with them to ensure they had the necessary paperwork while navigating their personal losses.
Thank you, Catholic Charities of Oregon, for the incredible ways you serve all of the populations in Oregon and their varying needs, especially in these times of unprecedented crisis.