“I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.” —Kahlil Gibran
The holidays are just around the corner. While many of us have been counting down the days with glee, others wish they could just ignore the whole thing. We have neighbors and friends here in Bend who are living with chronic disease, food insecurity, homelessness, loneliness, and sometimes just really difficult holiday memories. Reaching out to others with any kind of human connection can offer dignity and hope.
Below are some holiday-inspired programs for helping to make what can be an extremely hard time of year a little bit easier for those among us not feeling particularly joyful.
Family Access Network (FAN)
With 24 FAN Advocates in 50 schools in Central Oregon, FAN will make sure that items donated get to the people who need them. Current Needs: Alarm clocks, diapers (sizes 4-5), wipes, gift cards, and waterproof gloves and boots in all sizes (new or hardly worn).
Our local emergency shelter for individuals and families. Current Needs: Gloves, hats, men’s and women’s long underwear, hand and foot warmers, sleeping bags, backpacks, two-man tents and small tarps.
MountainStar Family Relief Nursery
A child abuse/neglect prevention nonprofit serving vulnerable families. They serve over 450 babies and toddlers and their families each year. Current Needs: Participate in the “Holiday Stars” program that fulfills holiday wishes for each child, sibling, and parent in their program.
Food for February
Newport Avenue Market shoppers can double their impact on the food insecurity problem in our area by donating funds at the register during the month of December. The market matches the donations and uses the total to provide ingredients to local hunger programs throughout the following year. Current Needs: Shoppers donating at the register beginning December 1.
United Way – Children’s New Book Drive
Families that read together more often and make reading fun help their children enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies, stronger language skills, and are better prepared to achieve their potential. Current Needs: Books for children aged 0-6 – drop at 1130 NW Harriman, Bend.
Bend Fire Department – Santa Express
In cooperation with the Salvation Army, the Bend Fire Department rolls through neighborhoods collecting donations for those in need. Current Needs: New toys, non-perishable food, new clothing.
BendOregon.gov Search for Santa Express
SleepTrain Foster Kids Program
Foster kids are often an invisible group. In Oregon in 2015, over 11,000 children spent at least one day in foster care. On any given day, 7,570 children were in foster care. SleepTrain’s yearly program offers dignity to youth in the system who often arrive at their foster home with nothing.
Sport equipment, art supplies, gift cards, action figures, baby dolls, electronics—unwrapped. Drop at Sleep Train November 1 through December 18.