COVID-19 Community Support
Pacific University is an incredibly caring and generous community, and we know that most of you are wondering how you can help our community through this trying time. Many of our community partners and local non-profits work with vulnerable populations who will need additional support in the coming weeks. Some of them have been forced to cancel fundraising efforts and events upon which their programs depend. All of them can use your support & have outlined ways that you can quickly and safely make a difference. This list will be updated regularly as additional information is received— but your help can start today.
We encourage everyone to carefully balance care for yourself, the paramount need to not further transmit the virus, and the desire we all have to help and support our community. If you have additional ideas for this list, please let us know. And remember - “Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say: This is my community, and it’s my responsibility to make it better.” – Gov. Tom McCall
OUR PACIFIC COMMUNITY - HELP A BOXER
Boxer Food Share
Boxer Food Share will remain open for the rest of the Spring semester in a temporary new location. Their mission is to provide students, faculty, and staff access to food in a dignified environment that is welcoming and inclusive. Some of their users need assistance more than ever, as lives are being disrupted by COVID-19. If you are able to donate to help buy groceries to keep the Share full, please use the link below. They are not accepting in-person food donations at this time.
Student Emergency Fund
Pacific University is proud to be a place where students from varied backgrounds can learn and grow. At least a quarter of our students are the first in their family to attend college, and many work to support themselves while they’re in school. As global events unfolded over the past few weeks, Pacific University worked quickly to ensure our students’ health and well-being. However, many of our students have emergency needs as they scramble to transform their academic experience.
In response, we have established the Pacific University Student Emergency Fund to assist students during these unforeseen financial emergencies. Your gift to this fund will provide emergency assistance for students with critical financial shortages for transportation, rent, food, technology and more.
FOOD AND HOUSING
Oregon Food Bank
More than 860,000 people rely on the Oregon Food Bank network each year — and in times of crisis, that number grows as many of the support mechanisms they usually rely on are put on hold. Oregon Food Bank is ready to meet the evolving needs of our community head-on - they’re shifting food sourcing and distribution to keep as much nutritious food flowing as possible statewide, adjusting staffing and volunteer allocations to better support local food assistance sites, and working with federal, state and local officials to remove barriers to food access and reach people facing hunger wherever they may be.
But they can't do it without our support. Here are three key ways you can support those at greatest risk in this worsening crisis:
- Donate to support the Oregon Food Bank response to COVID-19.Financial contributions go much further than food donations in moments like these, and your support will help to bolster food distribution in hard-hit communities across the state.
- Sign up for individual volunteer shifts if you are under the age of 60 and don’t face higher risks for COVID-19. We need all hands on deck as we adjust our food distribution efforts to meet the complex realities of social distancing.
- Spread the word that food remains available to all who may face challenges at this time. Oregon Food Bank is working with local food assistance sites throughout our network to ensure people have access to the resources they need.
Homeplate Youth Services
In these uncertain times, the HomePlate team remains committed to finding creative ways to provide consistency and resources for youth experiencing housing instability. The young people they serve (albeit not in the highest risk age category) are especially vulnerable and rely on knowing this is a community where they belong. Homeplate will continue to provide street outreach and drop-in services and the "Day Space" in Beaverton is still a place where every weekday youth can access vital resources, including food, tents, sleeping bags, and other supplies.
How can you help?
Funds needed: Please consider supporting their work with a cash donation or a monthly gift. As their major fundraiser, Stand Up with HomePlate, has been canceled, they definitely need the funds they hoped to raise at that time. Click HERE to donate from your couch. Contact Kirsten@homeplateyouth.org with your questions.
Supplies needed: Homeplate is in need of specific items listed below. Please consider sending items to their Day Space via Amazon rather than coming in person to our space. (Remember to use your Amazon "Smile" account first and choose HomePlate!) Our list of needs changes frequently, so please check in with email@example.com or 971-322-9381 if you have questions.
- Hand Sanitizer
- Disinfectant Wipes
- Adult backpacks
- Sleeping bags (new or gently used & clean)
- Multi-person Tents (new or gently used)
- Non-perishable food that doesn't need to be cooked (chili, peanut butter, crackers, jerky)
- Costco Gift Cards
Volunteer Opportunities: In the coming weeks Homeplate may have specific opportunities for volunteers that do not include being in direct contact with other folks in our space. For example, they will need backpacks filled with supplies youth can take with them. Please contact Amber at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to help out.
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels People home-delivers meals to vulnerable seniors and has operated dozens of dining centers throughout Multnomah, Washington and Clark counties for nearly 50 years. They are aiming to raise $250,000 to support their work during the Covid-19 crisis, for which they are modifying their service model to ensure the safety of all volunteers and participants. Learn more and donate online, by mail or via PayPal here.
Your Favorite Local Restaurants and Stores
Small and family-owned businesses are a beloved driver of our community and economy. There are measures we can take to support our favorite local businesses during this time:
- Carry-out and delivery is still an option for many restaurants and bars
- Buy gift cards from your favorite restaurants or boutiques
- Shop online
- Buy local produce (and eggs, meat etc.) - many farms are just now rolling out their 2020 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs & some even have home-delivery options.
Community Action works to eliminate conditions of poverty and create opportunities for people and communities in Washington County to thrive. Although their buildings are currently closed to the public, they are still working - and have changed the way they are delivering services to meet the current needs. When you support Community Action you are providing hope, help, and change to hardworking struggling families. With a gift of $50, you can feed a family of four. A gift of $300 can keep a family housed for another week. $1,200 can keep a family housed for a month.
Bienestar’s mission has been to build housing, hopes, and futures for the wellbeing of our community. They operate 12 multifamily properties for more than 500 families. Over 95% of their residents are Latino, and many are immigrants. Nine of Bienestar’s properties are restricted to farmworker and their families. Now more than ever, they need the support of our community of friends and partners. If you can, consider supporting Bienestar's COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund. Donations to this fund go directly to food, rent, and other essentials for our families.
HEALTHCARE & COVID-19 RESPONSE
Please consider a gift to Tuality Healthcare's COVID-19 Pandemic Response Fund as we work together to create solutions. Your funds will be used to increase the capacity for care at OHSU Tuality Healthcare in the following ways:
- Create and establish alternate care locations to treat acute patients
- Increase staffing of frontline healthcare workers
- Provide equipment and supplies necessary to provide testing and patient care
Donate here to help them quickly evolve to provide the best level of care possible for our community.
The American Red Cross
Urgent blood donations are needed due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Donating blood is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give or receive blood. Watch this video on the safety and need for blood donations. Right now, eligible and healthy donors are strongly urged to make an appointment to give soon.
State of Oregon's COVID-19 Response
The State of Oregon has launched a Covid-19 Reponse Hub where citizens can learn about the response, donate services or supplies, sell or engage in a business relationship with the state, and volunteer to assist with the response - as well as find resources and links to keep yourself and your family safe.
Governor Brown has also compiled a How Can I Help with the Coronavirus Effort in Oregon? list with volunteer and donation ideas.
YOUR COMMUNITY, YOUR VOICE
The US Census has been forced to suspend field operations, which means it is more important than ever that you respond online as soon as possible. Being counted means more political representation and funding for critical programs like health clinics, fire departments, schools, even roads and highways (the Census results help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities each year). For the first time, the census can be completed online and it is estimated to take less than 10 minutes.
Note: Students living on campus should speak with their RAs about the best way to be counted and can email Res Life with questions.
Dear Stranger is a recurring letter-exchange project that connects Oregonians through the mail to share experiences, beliefs, and ideas. When they planned this spring's round of Dear Stranger, they wanted to get people thinking about this year's upcoming elections and share the things they are holding in their hearts and minds for those elections.
Given the circumstances of the moment, they're adding a second prompt, inviting you to reflect on the things that the COVID-19 pandemic reveals or changes for you, your community, or the country. And if you want to ignore both prompts and write about something else entirely, that's OK too.
When you write to Dear Stranger, your letter will be swapped with one from another writer. They will get your letter; you will get theirs. Dear Stranger will be mailing out letters at the end of each month through May 30. If you'd like to participate, visit their website to get started.
Register to Vote
Oregon's Primary Election will take place on Tuesday, May 19th. The deadline to register is Tuesday, April 28th. The entire process from registration to casting a ballot is easier than you think - and our Pacific Votes pages walks you through it step-by-step.
ps. If you are voting via absentee ballot in another state, the primary and registration deadlines may both be earlier (or even have passed). Even so, getting registered now will enure you're ready for the presidential election in November. There is no downside!