|Traditions face challenges as pandemic enters holiday season posted on 11/01/2020|
Community efforts to help those in need during the holiday
season have had to adjust due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, resulting in
changes to how they are done or, in the case of the annual Hoodland Community
Thanksgiving Dinner, being cancelled altogether.
Mark Grove, who has been involved in the dinner for 15
years, noted it has happened for nearly 30 years and he has never heard of it
being cancelled before. It is held at Camp Arrah Wanna and serves approximately
300 people, but the camp is shut down, making the decision less challenging.
“It was disheartening, but easy to make,” Grove said. “Every
angle we looked at it, it just seemed like a bad idea to do it.”
Grove noted that the dinner doesn’t just offer food, but
fellowship for those who participate, while adding that many of the people
served come from a population that has a high vulnerability to COVID-19.
He added that while they are not doing the dinner this year,
organizers are grateful to the community for all their continued support.
“Thank you for everything that everyone has provided all
these years,” Grove said.
For Thanksgiving, Mountain community members who need a full
Thanksgiving dinner meal box, from appetizers to dessert, can reach out to the
Sandy Action Community Center at sandyactioncenter.com or 503-668-4746.
Suburban Auto Group in Sandy has teamed up with the center and the Estacada
Area Food Bank to help fund the boxes, including matching donations up to
$5,000 through Monday, Nov. 9 via a Go Fund Me effort. For more information,
Erinn Sowle, President of Suburban Auto Group, told The
Mountain Times in late October that they had almost already surpassed the goal.
“I’m really thrilled at the response,” she said.
And efforts are already underway to continue the annual
Christmas Basket program, offering a food basket and a gift for children ages
18 and under to those in need within the Welches Schools boundaries. The
program started taking sign-ups last month, with forms available at various
local businesses, including Smoke on the Mountain, the Hoodland branch of the
Clackamas County Bank, Mt. Hood Cannabis, the Welches Liquor Store, Charlie’s
Mountain View, Coffee House 26 and Welches Mountain Building Supply.
Applications for the program are due by 2 p.m. Friday, Dec.
In a typical year, people would go and pick up boxes and
gifts, but as organizer Carol Norgard explained, this year’s program will
include deliveries on Friday, Dec. 18 or Saturday, Dec. 19 as the only option.
An adult with an ID must be present for the delivery, while non-deliverable
boxes will be given to local food pantries.
Norgard said she expected numbers to increase due to the
challenges people are facing. In recent years, the program has helped up to 100
local families, but organizers are anticipating up to 120 this year.
Community members can also help the program by giving gifts
at giving trees at various local businesses, including Smoke on the Mountain,
Clackamas County Bank, Mt. Hood Cannabis, Charie’s Mountain View, Coffee House
26 and Welches Mountain Building Supply. Norgard added that they will need more
volunteers to help with the deliveries, which will be done by a pair of
volunteers. Delivery volunteers should be able to lift up to 60 pounds and know
their way around the Mountain community.
Norgard added that putting everything together will be a
longer endeavor this year, as they will be limited by the number of people who
can sort through food and gifts at the Welches Lions Club building.
“We can’t have too many people in the building at once while
we’re sorting,” she said.
The Lions Club has also shifted gears to support the program
with their annual Toy Drive Dinner, which will be take-out only, on Saturday,
Meanwhile, the Mountain’s community outreach program,
Neighborhood Missions, just marked the two-year anniversary of holding a free
market once a month.
Program facilitator Steve Carlson noted the market, which is
open from 9-10 a.m. at the Hoodland Senior Center (65000 E. Hwy. 26 in
Welches), will continue as normal through the winter months. To maintain social
distancing, boxes will be put in people’s cars for them.
Carlson added that the turnout for the market has been
consistent in recent months, with an average of approximately 75 households
served. He noted that the food program is supported by the Oregon Food Bank.
Neighborhood Missions also offers other assistance for
housing costs, prescriptions and gas, plus food boxes in between the dates of
each monthly food market. The organization will not hold its annual Harvest
Festival this year due to the pandemic, but Carlson noted they have received
donations that have recouped some of the funding the event would have provided.
“The good thing is so many people have been so generous in
sending in monetary contributions,” he said. “That has been a relief for us.”
Monetary contributions can be sent to Neighborhood Missions,
PO Box 594, Brightwood, OR 97011.
For more information on Neighborhood Missions, call
503-622-9213 or email email@example.com.
By Garth Guibord/MT