Community Warehouse Raises Record Amount at Annual Gala “Chair Affair”

Community Warehouse Raises Record Amount at Annual Gala “Chair Affair”

Portland, OR. Community Warehouse raised a record $200,687 at its annual gala, “Chair Affair,” which was held on June 26th. The event was held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Chair Affair 2020 was “a virtual affair to remember,” according to Community Warehouse Communications Manager Pua Trice, and featured “unique art, exciting auctions, and inspiring stories from people whose houses have been transformed into homes.” 

“The event raised a record-setting net of $200,687 that will connect essential furnishings to neighbors in need throughout the region,” Trice said. Dale Johannes and Dunethcka Otero-Serrano, Community Warehouse’s Executive Director hosted the event, as shown in the photo above. “I want to start tonight’s Chair Affair with gratitude,” Otero-Serrano said. “These past few months have been so challenging for all of us, but we have been able to get creative and continue service to our community because of our partners.” 

Children’s Chairs created by local artists and sponsored by wonderful supporters of Community Warehouse. These chairs go to children of families that visit the Warehouse in need of furnishings.

“These past few months have certainly been challenging,” Johannes said, “but your team of superheroes—and they are superheroes—they’ve been hard at work adapting to this change and creating some new ways to meet the needs of the community.” 

The hosts emphasized how important a table or a bed can be throughout Covid-19’s disruptions to daily life, and that Community Warehouse has continued to serve their clients throughout the pandemic by supplying them with Home2Go essential item kits.  

“These are kits that are essential items for every household, designed to give our clients an opportunity to cook their own meals, to have a safe place to sleep, a full set of dishes, and a full set of towels and bedsheets,” said Community Warehouse Program Director Joe Glode in a video.

Stories from various partners, volunteers and clients were spotlighted at the event. Partners like the Tigard-Tualatin School District detailed the impact that essential furnishings have on their students’ capabilities in the classroom, and Youth volunteers highlighted their understanding and proactivity towards Community Warehouse’s mission.

Matthew Mickles, Ben Garcia, and Priscilla Villanueva from the Tigard-Tualatin School District

“Well-being was encapsulated by the Espinoza family,” Trice said, “clients that can enjoy ‘family day’ in a warm and welcoming home.”

The Espinoza Family—Amelia, Alexander, Ailani, Steve, Sandra, and Sandy

According to Glode, at the beginning of the pandemic in March, Community Warehouse had to temporarily lay off most of its staff. “When city and state officials issued a stay at home order, we really were thinking, how do you stay at home if you have nothing at home?” Glode said. 

That’s when Community Warehouse decided to start making essential item kits—called Home2Go kits—with items they had readily available in both their Portland and Tualitan warehouses. 

Since March, Community Warehouse has been able to bring nearly all of their staff back to work in some capacity, and the organization is continuing to focus on providing their services to the Portland community. 

“It means a lot to know that we have the support of everyone in the community to make sure that we can provide furniture in a safe place to live for everyone,” Glode said.

Joe Glode, Program Director at Community Warehouse, preparing a Home2Go Essential Item Kit.

About Community Warehouse:

We’re your friendly local furniture bank, serving the Portland area for over 15 years. How does a furniture bank work? In a nutshell, we collect donated home goods, and work with social service agencies to get those goods in the hands of those who need it most. The stuff you no longer need becomes the solution for a family in need. Pretty simple, huh? At Community Warehouse, it’s the simple stuff – the extra dishes, towels, beds, and more – that changes lives.

Portland Youth Philharmonic Musicians Adapt to Virtual Practices and Performances

Portland Youth Philharmonic Musicians Adapt to Virtual Practices and Performances

Portland, OR. In the midst of a global pandemic, the Portland Youth Philharmonic is finding new ways to connect musicians with each other as well as the community at large. Following the cancellation of its 96th concert season, musicians and directors have replaced in-person practices, concerts and lectures with Zoom calls, YouTube videos and Facebook live streams.

As the PYP continues to adapt to COVID-related changes, the public can engage with the nonprofit via Facebook and YouTube, where PYP posts live streams and a series of video talks entitled “Conversations with the Conductor.” Young musicians interested in joining the PYP may submit virtual auditions in preparation for next year’s season. You can see an example below:

Society Page interviewed four young musicians and composers — 14-year-old violinist Francie Lenhart, 11-year-old double bassist Rowan Lenhart, 13-year-old violinist Haruka Sakiyama, and 15-year-old violinist Koharu Sakiyama — to learn their perspectives on the changes they have had to make. 

In general, these musicians find virtual practices challenging. “You don’t actually get to hear your teachers or your actual sounds,” Haruka Sakiyama, explains. The musicians also point to technical glitches as a major setback: Rowan explains that the audio sometimes takes on a metallic quality or sounds as if the teacher is underwater.

Nevertheless, the musicians offer positives to the situation, all while keeping their good humor. “We don’t have to do the long car ride to practice,” says violinist Francie Lenhart, laughing. Haruka cites increased family time as a positive, while Koharu states: “In some ways, things are less chaotic. We have more time to just concentrate on practicing.”

From the Portland Youth Philharmonic’s website: In 1924, a group of visionary citizens established the Portland Junior Symphony Association (later renamed the Portland Youth Philharmonic Association or PYP for short). Building on the pioneering work of Mary V. Dodge, whose Irvington School Orchestra was the nucleus of the first Junior Symphony, the Association engaged Russian émigré Jacques Gershkovitch as conductor. PYP is the oldest youth orchestra in the United States. The structure and standards that it established for training young musicians in the 1920s became the prototype for youth orchestras across the country.

Over the years, thousands of young musicians have played in one or more of PYP’s ensembles. Some have gone on to professional careers in orchestras across the country, including the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the National Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, the Oregon Symphony, as well as Juilliard and American String Quartets. Others have achieved great success in teaching music or exploring non-musical fields, while continuing to be accomplished amateur musicians and active supporters of the arts in their communities. Alumni often attribute much of their success in life to the discipline and teamwork they experienced as members of the Portland Youth Philharmonic.

Oregon Zoo Reopens to Public With Timed Ticketing & Limited Attendance

Oregon Zoo Reopens to Public With Timed Ticketing & Limited Attendance

Portland, OR. For elephants Rose-Tu, Shine, and Chendra, life at the Oregon Zoo has remained mostly the same since the zoo closed to the public on March 17th as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But starting on July 12th they’ll be able to see visitors outside their enclosure. The Oregon Zoo is reopening to the public, allowing fans to see the Asian elephant exhibit and many more. The zoo’s four-months without visitors has given some animals new opportunities, like penguins Nacho and Goat who recently went for a supervised woodland waddle.

“The outpouring of public support over these past three months has been incredible,” said Dr. Don Moore, zoo director. “The path forward may feel unfamiliar, especially at first, but we are excited to begin welcoming back our guests and continue working with the people of greater Portland — and Oregon more broadly — to create a better future for wildlife.”

One animal to see is the Red Panda named Mei Mei who had a pup about a month ago.

New regulations are in place at the Oregon Zoo to maintain social distancing guidelines. Time-specific tickets prevent the zoo from exceeding its decreased capacity, meeting social distancing requirements. A one-way path through the zoo will also make social distancing easier. Some indoor and high-touch areas of the zoo will remain closed until further notice, including the carousel and train rides, play areas, and indoor seating. 

All zoo employees and guests age six and up are required to wear face masks. Younger children are encouraged to wear masks, but the zoo acknowledges that this can be a difficult feat. Only those over six-years-old with medical conditions preventing them from wearing a facemask will be exempt from this rule. 

To help ensure a safe experience for all, the following measures will be in place during the zoo’s initial reopening phase:

  • Timed ticketing/limited attendance: To prevent crowding and long lines, the zoo will open with reduced capacity and timed ticketing. All guests — including zoo members — must reserve their tickets online in advance. Guests will choose a day and time to visit, and receive an electronic ticket to be scanned once they arrive. Tickets may be reserved/purchased via the zoo website. Member-only preview reservations are available Monday, July 6. General admission and all other membership reservations go on sale Wednesday, July 8.
  • Primarily outdoor experience: Guests will follow a one-way, mostly open-air path through the zoo’s 64-acre park-like campus, with some indoor and high-touch areas remaining closed. Visitors should keep an eye out for blue “Paws [pause] for Safety” markers along the route. Carousel and train rides will not be operating.
  • Masks/face coverings: To help protect the safety of animals, staff and guests, face coverings will be required for zoo employees and for all guests over the age of 6 upon entry and in designated areas. Guests ages 2-5 are encouraged to wear masks if possible. Guests who are unable to wear a mask or face covering for medical reasons will be exempt.
  • Handwashing and sanitizing stations: Additional handwashing and sanitizing stations have been added throughout the zoo.

Learn more about what to expect when you visit.

Dr. Moore expressed his gratitude to members and donors to the Oregon Zoo Foundation’s emergency recovery fund, which provided a $1 million infusion to support zoo operations following the closure. Even when the zoo reopens though, it faces much uncertainty, he says.

“Reopening, even in this limited fashion, is a huge step forward,” Moore said. “But we still really need help from our zoo supporters and friends to get us back on our feet.”

The foundation is leading efforts to fund the critical needs of the zoo during its scaled-back reopening. To contribute, go to

Moore also praised the efforts of the zoo’s animal-care team, who “have not let COVID-19 slow down their important work” since the zoo closed on March 17th.

From Oregon Zoo:

While closed, animal care continued as usual. The Oregon Zoo remains well-stocked throughout the entire year with food and medicine, prepared for emergency situations such as these. The Oregon Zoo Foundation’s emergency recovery fund helped finance the continuing operations of the zoo after its sudden closure.

Home to around 2,500 animals representing more than 200 species, the Oregon Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the United States, first opening in 1888. Now recognized as a world-class center for wildlife preservation and field research, the zoo’s 130-plus-year journey has seen vast leaps in animal-welfare science, and an increasing focus on sustainable operations, wildlife education and conservation.

Oregon Symphony Cancels All Concerts Scheduled Through December 2020

Oregon Symphony Cancels All Concerts Scheduled Through December 2020

Portland, OR. You won’t see the Oregon Symphony tuning up (like the photo above) anytime soon. Oregon Symphony is canceling of all concerts through December 31st, 2020 due to the effects of COVID-19, affecting Portland and Salem performances. “We are deeply disappointed that we will not be performing the exciting lineup of live concerts we had planned for the beginning of the new 2020-21 season, but our primary concern is the health and safety of our audiences, musicians and employees,” says Scott Showalter, Oregon Symphony President and CEO. The decision which was announced on July 8th comes after evaluating the guidance and information shared by Gov. Brown and state health officials in regard to large gatherings of people in public spaces.

Oregon Symphony plans to resume live performances in January, maintaining the current 2021 concert schedule and will share updates as necessary. “In my 18th and final season as Music Director, I look forward to returning to the stage with our excellent Oregon Symphony musicians next year, when we can once again do what we love to do — play for our amazing community,” says Carlos Kalmar, Oregon Symphony Music Director.

In consideration of the cancelations, Oregon Symphony will continue to share recordings of past performances online, along with new musical video content featuring Oregon Symphony musicians. This June, Oregon Symphony launched two new digital series, each continuing to premiere free content: Essential Sounds and Symphony Storytime. Through these original series, Oregon Symphony continues to stay connected with their community, and share the healing power and joy of music.

Essential Sounds is a multifaceted digital program that pays an all-new musical tribute to the organizations, groups, sectors and individuals holding communities together across the nation during the pandemic. The series includes rich performances, revealing interviews and lighthearted interludes, produced across six episodes to honor frontline and essential workers who have worked tirelessly during the tragic impact of COVID-19. The first two episodes are available online now — honoring healthcare and food service workers, respectively — with the third premiering on July 12 in dedication to social services. The series airs every other Sunday at

Symphony Storytime is a 13-episode digital video series designed for pre-K through elementary aged children and their families to experience popular illustrated storybooks. Each episode is entertaining and educational, and includes a great children’s story narrated by a master storyteller, with accompaniment by an Oregon Symphony musician or guest artist performing the book’s “soundtrack.” Families will learn fun details about the featured instrument, and books are in English and Spanish languages. There are nine 15-minute episodes available online now, with the final anthology released July 9, 2020.

“Thanks to the incredible support from our community, the Oregon Symphony has been a leader of the arts in Oregon for nearly 125 years,” says Showalter. “We look forward to returning in January with a variety of extraordinary concerts for the 2020-21 season, including An African American Requiem, a world premiere of Portland composer Damien Geter’s bold musical response to violence against African Americans; the continuation of our popular Kids Series, featuring entertaining and educational concerts for families; and Carlos Kalmar’s final concert conducting the Oregon Symphony, with the performance of Mahler’s colossal Symphony No. 9.”

For Ticket Holders

For tickets already purchased to canceled concerts, patrons can find information about donating the value of unused tickets, applying ticket value to a concert that has not been canceled, exchanging tickets for gift certificates or obtaining refunds for the canceled concerts by contacting Oregon Symphony Customer Service at 503-228-1353 or [email protected]. Patrons holding a subscription that includes canceled concerts can also apply the value of their ticket(s) to a 2021-22 season subscription, and secure the same seat locations. Those who are in the position to do so are encouraged to make an additional gift to support the Oregon Symphony online at

About Oregon Symphony

The multi-Grammy Award-nominated Oregon Symphony ranks as one of America’s major orchestras. Led by Music Director Carlos Kalmar, it serves more than 235,000 people annually through concerts and award-winning education and community engagement programs. The Oregon Symphony has broken attendance and fundraising records in recent years, while innovating on stage through new series such as SoundSights, Sounds of Home and SoundStories. As 2019-20 marks its 123rd season, the Oregon Symphony is the oldest orchestra in the western United States. For more information, visit

Follow Oregon Symphony on Instagram @OregonSymphony and Facebook @OregonSymphony.


Contact Information:

Allyson Marrs

Grady Britton

[email protected]


Autism Society of Oregon to Livestream Upcoming Autism Walk

Autism Society of Oregon to Livestream Upcoming Autism Walk

Portland, Or. Last summer walkers hit the streets together for the annual Autism Walk, but this year’s fundraiser will be a virtual live-streamed event, according to the Autism Society of Oregon. The free event, for which participants can register online, will be held online at 1 P.M. on Sunday, August 23rd. “Patterns and routines help to make sense of the world for people on the autism spectrum – they’re incredibly important. When those patterns are disrupted, it completely disrupts everything.” Executive Director Tobi Rates provided some insight into life on the spectrum, noting the impact that the disruptions to school, work, and service provisions have had on people experiencing autism: “It’s been traumatic for a lot of people, and it’s an ongoing trauma because it doesn’t look like things are going back to normal anytime soon.”

Participants in this year’s Autism Walk can send videos and photos to ASO by July 14th

Those registered can send in videos and photos of themselves walking or running in their Autism Awareness/ Acceptance T-shirt by July 14th. These will then be featured during the virtual event in a compilation video. Viewers can expect recognitions and prize-giveaways for sponsors, as well as guest appearances from Star Wars characters and a Virtual Resource Fair.

Here is a video encapsulating the details of the event:

Adapting the Autism Walk – ASO’s largest fundraiser supporting Oregon and SW Washington programs – to a virtual setting is one of the many ways the organization has been able to maintain a sense of routine for its members during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participants in last year’s walk sporting their awareness gear

Max’s support system celebrating at last year’s finish line

Whether participants choose to walk or run in this year’s event, they can expect the fun to be virtually limitless.

From Autism Society Oregon (ASO);

ASO will be Oregon’s leading organization providing resources, education, advocacy and support for individuals and families living with Autism.
Our Mission

Improving the lives of all affected by autism.

ASO is committed to achieving our vision through the following strategies:

• Education
• Support
• Resources
• Advocacy
• Collaboration
• Awareness
Our Values
At all times ASO builds community in a way that is ethical, respectful, safe, inclusive and welcomes all perspectives.


Oregon Historical Society Gearing up for Reopening and Rose City Soccer Exhibit

Oregon Historical Society Gearing up for Reopening and Rose City Soccer Exhibit

Portland, OR. “We are the Rose City! A History of Soccer in Portland.” That’s the focus of a new exhibit coming to the Oregon Historical Society (OHS) in late July. The Oregon Historical Society Museum will be reopening its doors to the public on Saturday, July 11th at 10:00 A.M. It has been closed since March 14th due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Timber exhibit photo above features Mamadou “Futty” Danso, Jack Jewsbury and Steve Purdy celebrated a win following the Timbers first home game in the MLS era. (Photographer Craig Mitchelldyer, Courtesy of Portland Timbers.)

“We’re looking forward to reopening,” said OHS Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk. “We’ve got lots for people to see, and we’ll be following of course all the guidelines required by the state and the county as far as face coverings and social distancing.” Museum-goers will be able to check out OHS’s permanent exhibit, “Experience Oregon,” which debuted last year and chronicles “the good, the bad and the ugly,” of Oregon’s history, according to Tymchuk. Additionally, the new exhibit entitled, “Soccer in the Rose City,” will explore a full history of Portland’s soccer culture. 

Capo Tina leads section 108 during a 2019 Portland Thorns game. (Courtesy of 107 Independent Supporters Trust.)

Over the past few months, OHS has been busy producing a weekly newsletter and keeping the community updated and informed through social media.

“We’ve been very proud of all the work and material we’ve been able to provide through our social media outlets,” Tymchuk said. “We’ve been putting out great material on the pandemic, such as the Spanish flu pandemic of 100 years ago and how it impacted Oregon and lessons learned and not learned. And then we were able over the past couple of weeks to put out just a phenomenal amount of material on racial justice and equity.”

Just before having to shut its doors on March 14th, the museum was getting ready to debut an exhibit entitled, “Nevertheless, They Persisted: Women’s Voting Rights and the 19th Amendment.” Museum-goers will still be able to check out the exhibit when OHS reopens. “[It’s] a phenomenal exhibit—artifacts and documents, chronicling the fight for equal rights for women and giving them the right to vote,” Tymchuk said. “We’re anxious to give that a showing to everybody.” 

March in 1913 in support of women’s right to vote. Photo featured in OHS exhibit, “Nevertheless, They Persisted.”

Additionally, the OHS has a variety of virtual programs that can be found on the OHS website that will still be available after the museum reopens. 

According to Tymchuk, due to good financial planning and the Multnomah County levy, which provides the museum with funding, the OHS has not had to make any mass lay-offs or budget cuts. “We’ve been very fortunate,” he said. 

Tymchuk encourages anyone interested in supporting the OHS to visit the museum after it reopens, to make a tax-deductible donation, or to become OHS members. “A membership in OHS is a great deal, and we encourage people to become members—that way they get all the material that we put out,” he said. He also provided this reminder: “Here in Portland, because of the Multnomah County levy, all Multnomah County residents have free admission [to the museum].”

“We’ve been actively fulfilling our mission during this time,” Tymchuk said, referring to the pandemic’s effect on the OHS. “We certainly live in a time where people are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of history.” 

Kerry Tymchuk and Kate Brown

OHS Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk and Oregon Governor Kate Brown in June 2013.

Following re-opening, public museum and store hours will be Wednesdays – Saturdays from 10 am – 5 pm and Sundays from 12 pm – 5 pm. The OHS Research Library remains closed for renovations that began in January 2020. More information on library services that are available during the renovation can be found at

About the Oregon Historical Society: 

For more than a century, the Oregon Historical Society has served as the state’s collective memory, preserving a vast collection of artifacts, photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, films, and oral histories. Our research library, museum, digital platforms & website (, educational programming, and historical journal make Oregon’s history open and accessible to all. We exist because history is powerful and because a history as deep and rich as Oregon’s cannot be contained within a single story or point of view.


The Pixie Project Continues Helping Animals During Pandemic

The Pixie Project Continues Helping Animals During Pandemic

Portland, OR. With most people working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, pet companionship has become more important to many. Whether you’re in need of a new furry friend or are seeking veterinary care for your pet, the nonprofit Pixie Project is continuing to offer services. The organization has maintained community outreach despite the difficulties of staying afloat during this unprecedented time. By focusing on one-on-one appointment-only interactions, staffers are able to bring potential pets directly to people’s homes to meet for the first time.

Jessica Berg, Development Director, says they’ve recently performed about 20 feline surgeries in only 2 days.

The Pixie Project, located at 510 N.E. MLK Blvd., is a small nonprofit animal adoption and rescue center. It differs from many other local centers by not only offering pet adoption with a focus on establishing life-long homes for animals but also by offering medical attention to pet-owners who cannot shoulder the financial burden required of surgery such as spaying and neutering or more serious health concerns for animals.

The Pixie Project offers a “sliding scale” payment practice for medical attention in order to ease the financial burden on struggling pet-owners.

Jessica Berg, the Pixie Project’s Development Director, says that adoption rates are still fairly high while donations have taken a hit. The steady adoption rates should be no surprise considering the need for companionship during the stay-at-home orders. Most of the organization’s funding comes from coordinated fundraising events which have all but stopped during this time of social distancing.

Pixie Project supporters say there’s nothing more valuable during these isolating times than a happy and healthy companion.

From: Pixie Project

If you’d like to find out more about the Pixie Project, donate to a good cause, or if you’re in need of pet care services, check out the Pixie Project website here or its donation page here.

Impact NW Moves Operations Online and Begins Household Supply Drive

Impact NW Moves Operations Online and Begins Household Supply Drive

Portland, OR. Impact NW, an organization that fights homelessness by supporting struggling families, continues to operate despite going fully remote as of March 13th, 2020. Their staff now provides rental and energy assistance online and conducts home visits via video call. 

Development Director Ada Dortch explains that Impact NW’s academic support programs have had to do the most adaptation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dortch explains that, due to school closures, staff members have had to shift their focus away from general community support work towards individual case management. Each family is affected differently: school closures, mass layoffs, and pay cuts have raised new challenges for people trying to keep a roof over their heads. “We work with each family to meet their needs,” Dortch explains. “Everyone has been impacted in some way [by COVID-19].”

Soon, kids will be able to participate in in-person school workshops like this!

Despite these obstacles, Impact NW has had a surge of support from individuals as well as larger corporate donors. “We are only as strong as our community and our supporters,” says Dortch. She also points to the creativity and dedication of staff members as a major factor in the organization’s success in these tumultuous times. 

For those looking to make themselves a part of this wave of contributions, Dortch suggests donating to the No Place Like Home drive for household supplies, which she cites as a major cause for concern among families who are struggling during the pandemic. In addition, Impact NW will hold a virtual fundraiser this September. Readers can expect to hear more about this event once the details are fully hammered out.

About Impact NW: 

Impact NW has always responded to our community’s most pressing needs.

Formed in 1966 by neighbors in Portland’s Buckman neighborhood, community members came together to combat poverty and deteriorating conditions in Southeast Portland. The agency was originally named Portland Action Communities Together, Inc. (PACT).

Early Impact NW initiatives included employment programs, family counseling, food buying clubs, and a tool lending library. We helped develop Southeast Portland’s first Senior Center, Youth Service Center, and free health clinic. In the 1990s, we piloted Multnomah County’s first Parent-Child Development Services program and the Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) program. Throughout our organizational history we have always aimed to help people thrive and remain safely housed.

The organization was renamed Portland Impact in the 1980s, and later Impact NW as we expanded our services outside the Portland Metropolitan area.


Neighborhood Heroes Campaign Provides 300 Overnight Stays for Oregon Families

Neighborhood Heroes Campaign Provides 300 Overnight Stays for Oregon Families

Portland, OR. “Small actions can have a big impact,” said Lilly K.H. McFadden, Director of Programs & Community Engagement for Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC). Participants (like the superhero shown above) were raising money from home for the nonprofit. May 13th marked RMHC’s first Neighborhood Heroes Campaign. By encouraging communities throughout Oregon to partake in various events from home, the campaign raised enough money to provide 300 overnight stays at the Ronald McDonald Houses for families living in rural Oregon in need of housing near hospitals for their sick or injured child.

A Volunteer wears cape for Week 1 rally.

A family works on fundraising by celebrating their favorite superheroes.

After receiving inquiries from locals asking how they could contribute to the foundation, Ronald McDonald Charity Houses created the Neighborhood Heroes Campaign to engage the local community and fundraise for the cost of the stays, always free of charge to the impacted families but averaging about $115 to $200 per night for the Ronald McDonald House.

Previous guests, board members, and volunteers reached out to friends, family, and coworkers to recruit volunteers and participate in weekly themed events from their home. 

“We want to offer a fun opportunity for people to become the hero they want to be,” said McFadden.

Week 1 consisted of families and individuals dressing up in their favorite superhero costumes or favorite capes. McDonald’s hosted week 3’s “Neighborhood” theme by encouraging others to help their local neighbor, whether it be by picking up trash or mowing someone else’s lawn. One HR Company even hosted a dance competition. 

While COVID-19 social distancing guidelines have placed restrictions on rallying and fundraising gatherings, locals were able to show their support from home and through social media.

Additionally, Netrush, an online retailer, gave a $10,000 corporate sponsorship to continue the campaign for one more week. 

The Neighborhood Heroes Campaign ended on June 17th. Due to its success, the campaign will happen again next year. “We were honored to help the community step up and step in for our families, and have fun while doing it,” said Lilly K.H. McFadden, Director of Programs & Community Engagement.

From its first house in 1984 by OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and Shriners Hospital for Children, the Ronald McDonald House Charities in Oregon and SW Washington are placed in close proximity to hospitals, helping impacted families with sick children easily reach their medical center in Portland, Bend, and Springfield. Ronald McDonald’s House Charities are in four different locations; Portland East House, Bend House, South Waterfront House, and Springfield House. Each house has 79 rooms, equipped with a fully stocked kitchen and beds. 

From Ronald McDonald House Charities (Oregon & SW Washington):

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon & SW Washington provides access to medical care, a home away from home, and a community of support for seriously ill or injured children and their families.

Local Nonprofit Serving HIV Affected Community Helps Feed Neighbors During Pandemic

Local Nonprofit Serving HIV Affected Community Helps Feed Neighbors During Pandemic

Portland, OR. The nonprofit Our House provides services to people with HIV including healthcare, housing, occupational therapy, and other vital resources like a food pantry. Now during the pandemic, the Our House food pantry called Esther’s Pantry is helping the larger community. With Esther’s Pantry lifting its usual HIV positive requirement, it has been able to serve 200 community members per week; four times the usual number.

Volunteers at Esther’s Pantry serving the entire community on Wednesdays.

The Portland residential facility serving HIV affected people has continued to operate during COVID even without the support of its 230 volunteers. Director of Development and Communication Dana Kinney said that COVID has been a “great pause,” in which Our House has looked more deeply at its position in the community. The organization typically partners with local restaurants and wineries in its fundraising Dinner Series but realizes it cannot ask for support from these businesses when they are financially struggling. 

“Moving forward, I see more of a multi-beneficial kind of relationship with our community, more than just our community supporting us, but flipping the narrative a little bit and supporting the community,” Kinney said. “We’ve been able to take this situation, this really unknowing situation, and create all these new innovative ways to connect.” 

“The community out at Esther’s Pantry has been phenomenal. We have all these great new community partners, stores and shops that are donating to us, community members that have stepped up,” Kinney said. “Our granters and funders have stepped up, and we’re seeing two to three times the amount of people.” 

While the residential facility cannot accept volunteers due to the vulnerability of its residents, Esther’s Pantry still needs community members to help keep it functioning. Additionally, in light of recent Black Lives Matter activism, Our House is interrogating its racial composition and asking how it can better serve the broader community. 

“When over 90% of the clients we serve are self-identifying as white people, we are missing something,” Kinney said. “Especially since we know people of color, especially Black people, are disproportionately impacted by HIV.” 

Our House has also employed new technology to keep its Neighborhood Housing and Care program functioning. This program helps people living with HIV live independently and usually relies on social workers going into clients’ homes. Now, devices similar to iPads, but far simpler, are keeping caregivers, clients, and families connected via phone trees and Zoom calls.

Kinney said that despite the physical distance, she feels more connected than ever to her coworkers. Now they talk about topics beyond work and do personal check-ins to see how everyone is doing. 

“I don’t know what the future of Our House is, but it’ll be here because there’s a need,” Kinney said. “That’s what social service programs do: the government isn’t able to fulfill a need so we step up and do it.”  

From Our House:

Our House inspires people with HIV to LIVE WELL. Our House provides integrated health and housing services to people with HIV/AIDS.  Guided by compassion, collaboration, and respect, we provide 24-hour specialized care, supportive services, and independent housing with support services.

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