Victims of Oregon’s wildfires need our help: Here’s how you can get involved

By Regence
September 18, 2020
Oegon wildfires

Main photo: A family surveys the devastation caused by one of Oregon’s active wildfires, source: United Way of the Columbia-Willamette

More than 90 wildfires have burned 5 million acres on the West Coast, forcing tens of thousands of families to leave their homes. In Oregon, 10 active wildfires still burn throughout the state and have devastated over 1 million acres, resulting in loss of life and property.

Progress has been made thanks to the valiant efforts of first responders, but these natural disasters still pose a very real threat to Oregonians, and the recovery process will take years if not decades in the most impacted areas.  

Regence is proud to play a part in supporting the recovery effort and help get our employees, members, customers and community partners back on their feet. We recently announced a $250,000 donation to help aid relief efforts statewide, as explained by our Oregon plan president Angela Dowling on KPTV.

In the following post, we highlight some of the many organizations working tirelessly to aid evacuees and begin long-term recovery planning for communities devastated by the historic wildfires. Read on to learn how you can join in and give back.

American Red Cross Cascades Region
Thousands of people depend on the American Red Cross for emergency housing, food, water and other necessities. Currently more than 1,100 Red Cross disaster workers are helping evacuees, and the organization has already served more than 260,000 meals and snacks and distributed nearly 21,000 relief items.

Donations to support the American Red Cross can be made online or by calling 800-RED CROSS, and you can also give blood or become a Red Cross volunteer.

American Red Cross Oregon wildfires
American Red Cross volunteer prepares meals for evacuees, source: American Red Cross

United Way
With chapters located throughout the state, including Jackson County, Columbia-Willamette and Mid-Willamette Valley, United Way is working with nonprofit partners to provide relief assistance to families affected by the fires. 

Additionally, the Columbia-Willamette chapter is prioritizing immediate relief assistance for families of color and low-income families affected by the fires, and the Mid-Willamette Valley chapter is collecting everyday items for families in need. View the full list of requested items on United Way Mid-Willamette Valley’s website.

Donations made online will help provide displaced families with access to food, shelter, childcare, health care and other critical services. Community funding will also provide emergency assistance, transportation and clinical trauma informed intervention and support.

Donate to United Way’s wildfire funds through their chapter websites:  

Southern Oregon Goodwill
Southern Oregon Goodwill, headquartered in Jackson County, has provided employment and training opportunities to more than 5,000 residents. To aid in wildfire efforts, Southern Oregon Goodwill organizations are offering cash register fundraisers, asking shoppers to “round-up” their purchase price and donate the extra money to support people impacted by the wildfires.

Individuals impacted by the fires who have immediate needs for clothing, shoes or bedding can also visit the Medford As-Is Outlet for free items.

Medical Teams International
Medical Teams International provides life-saving medical care for people in crisis, including survivors of natural disasters and refugees. Supported by partners in the business community, Medical Teams International is providing urgently needed hygiene kits to families displaced by the wildfires. The kits will be delivered to United Way’s Salem office and distributed to evacuation centers at Oregon State Fairgrounds and Deschutes County Fairgrounds.

Visit Medical Teams International’s website to make a donation. A $10 dollar donation will provide one hygiene kit, and a $50 dollar donation can help an entire family.

Medical Teams International hygiene kits
Medical Teams International volunteers put together hygiene kits for individuals and families in need, source: KATU/Medical Teams International

Catholic Charities of Oregon
Faith-based nonprofit Catholic Charities of Oregon has been a trusted ally of marginalized communities and a leader in finding innovative solutions to poverty and injustice. Recently they’ve partnered with agencies like the American Red Cross and local parishes to provide food and shelter during the fires.

In addition to meeting immediate food and shelter needs, the organization is focused on raising funds for an emergency shelter and longer-term housing solutions. Donate to Catholic Charities USA wildlife fund to support these efforts.

We’re in this together
Thank you to the Oregon community for coming together to aid individuals and families impacted by the wildfires. Together we can help others and support one another through these difficult times.

Please visit the Regence blog for the latest updates on wildfire support for members, employers and communities.