As always, we are amazed by the solidarity of our Central Oregon community when facing any kind of adversity. The COVID-19 situation is top of mind for most of us, as we adjust to a new, temporary way of life and way of doing business. With all this change comes hardship for area families who have lost their jobs, are at high risk for illness or are even putting themselves in harm’s way to continue working (thanks medical workers!). Our community has stepped up to the plate, offering resources for those in need. Below is just a sampling of programs and lists of resources for your reference.
There are a large number of nonprofit organizations stepping up to the plate to help feed our community during this time of need. Just a couple include the Salvation Army, which has changed its model during COVID-19, with their food pantry transforming to a “drive-thru” model with prepackaged food boxes. Bend Food Project is continuing its local community partnerships to provide food bags to the needy.
Recently, Oregon launched a program to allow SNAP participants to order online, to help fulfill the stay home, stay safe mandate. Go here to find out more information about statewide self-sufficiency services. The Bend-LaPine school district is also offering Grab & Go lunches during school closure.
Many Central Oregon counselors are offering video counseling sessions; the OSU Cascades Counseling Clinic is offering free services and Deschutes County Behavioral Health sessions are free to those on the Oregon Health Plan. More in this article from The Source.
Another resource is Lines for Life which is a Oregon nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing substance abuse and suicide. As a phone-based, call-in service, they provide a great way to seek support when facing personal crises.
Credit unions are offering customers ways to make it through the immediate, uncertain future. Some of the programs include loan modifications to make payments more affordable, options to skip mortgage payments for up to 90 days and emergency low-interest and zero-interest loans. Check with your bank or credit union to see what programs they may be offering.
Many utility companies have suspended non-payment disconnections and are working with customers to get through this difficult time. The Oregon Energy Fund is offering help to those in the state that are struggling to pay their electric bills.
On a statewide level there are a number of programs to help small businesses make it through economic difficulties, including counseling services, general assistance and tax relief programs. Locally, businesses can look to the Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) for services and resources. The Small Business Development Center and the OSU-Cascades Co-Lab both provide advice, workshops and consultations to help businesses navigate hardship.
There are some fantastic, comprehensive lists of resources available, that are being updated dynamically. If you are looking for specific information or services to help your family – or to find places where you can lend support to others – you can see the Pandemic Partners Community Resource Sheet here. Pandemic Partners started out as a Facebook group to help connect those in need with those who have help to give.
In addition, a new site that categorizes resources for businesses, community members and employees, called Central Oregon SOS, has an easy-to-navigate list of places to find help. For updates on COVID-19 response information and new regulations, Central Oregonians can see the Emergency Information Network site.
These are just some of the resources available during the COVID-19 crisis. Again, our community has banded together to support each other in a time of need. If you are in a position to provide support, we encourage you to explore some of the organizations that are serving our community and may have a high demand for their services during this time. They will need extra help from those who are able to give. If you are in need, check out some of the options listed above, including the other community resource sites listed. We’ll all get through this, together!