Written by: Sabrah Maple
In early September, our community was ravished by wildfire, causing destruction and damage beyond anything we could have imagined. So many community members that were not affected directly came forward and stepped up to the challenge of supporting those in need. Temporary shelters were erected throughout the valley, local restaurants and individuals took it upon themselves to feed those unable to provide for themselves amid the chaos and community members from far and wide donated essential items to feed, cloth and shelter people and to help them back on their feet. The citizens of Jacksonville played, and continue to play a huge part in that relief effort.
Days after the event, a Donation Drop Site was set up at the Jefferson Farm Kitchen, then moved to the Jacksonville Community Center. Several volunteers and I gathered and sorted a wide range of items from clothing and bedding, to food, hygiene supplies and household items, then delivered them to various resource centers around the valley. We couldn’t have done it without the overwhelming generosity of our community. Thank you.
Almost two months later, the needs continue, though they seem to shift daily. Donations have slowed as area residents have cleared out their closets and garages of whatever they could contribute. It’s clear that it’s time to shift to a different model of support our community.
Thank you so much to those who have already given so much. Thank you to the Jefferson Farm Kitchen for hosting the drop site in the beginning, and the Jacksonville Community Center for offering their space to continue accepting donations. Thanks to the volunteers who’ve helped is get these supplies to those who need them. And thank YOU for taking the time to read this, for keeping these families in your hearts and to continue to do what you can to help.
As the weather grows colder and we all navigate this upcoming season amid the ongoing pandemic, I encourage you to find gratitude in all you have and in sharing with your neighbors who find themselves in an altogether new and unfamiliar space after losing everything to the fires. We’ll no longer be hosting the Donation Drop Site, but below are a few suggestions for ways that you can contribute, donate or volunteer to help.
Continue to watch the ongoing lists of needs coming from the resource and distributions centers (often posted on the Rogue Volunteer Initiative Facebook Page) and deliver items directly. There are centers set up in Talent, Phoenix and several locations in Medford.
- Talent Aid Center: Talent Maker City/Grotto Parking Lot
316 E. Main Street, Talent
- Phoenix Fire Relief: Shoppes at Exit 24, Phoenix
- Living Waters Church:
360 E Jackson St #5825, Medford, OR 97501, (541) 772-9502
27 N Ivy St, Medford, OR 97501, (541) 840-9669
- NW Seasonal Workers:
203 N Oakdale Ave, Medford, OR 97501, (541) 773-6811
Contact the various resource centers and ask how you can help. Sign up to deliver meals for Rogue Food Unites or S.O. Fire Relief Meals. Contribute to the clean-up efforts. Reach out to those you know, who’ve lost everything and ask directly what they need help with. Rogue Volunteer Initiative is a group on Facebook that is helping to coordinate volunteer opportunities.
Adopt a Family
Pool resources with your friends, family and neighbors and identify a family in need that you’d like to support. Help them find a new place to live or a vehicle to replace what was lost. Set them up with household items. Stock their cupboards with food and pantry items and their closets with clothes to keep them warm. Donate gift cards for gas, food and other ongoing needs. Consider their lines of work and what tools and supplies they may need to continue to earn a living.
Participate and Share
Join the Medford Food Project. Add a few extra items to your shopping cart with each visit to the store and volunteers will pick them up and deliver them to Access and other distribution centers.
There are various relief funds that have been set up by local businesses, banks and organizations as well as special fundraising events. Find one that resonates with you, and contribute. Share it with your friends, create some buzz around it and help your contribution grow by encouraging others to participate. Here are just a few of many to explore:
About Sabrah Maple
Sabrah Maple is a southern Oregon native, who moved back to Jacksonville over 15 years ago. She lives in town with her husband and two kids, and enjoys all that Jacksonville has to offer. When not hiking the Woodland trails or cruising through town with her family, she runs Maple Creative, a graphic design business, out of her home. As a longtime Rogue Valley resident, she is honored to do what she can to help those in need in our community and is grateful for the generosity of our town and for the hospitality of the Jacksonville Community Center.