The Rotary clubs of Benton County recently received some special disaster relief funds from Rotary International, $400 per club. The guidelines were that the money had to serve the homeless or homebound and 80% of the grant funds were to go towards the purchase of food and 20% towards the purchase of hygiene items. Our club raised an additional $625, at a recent Friday Zoom meeting, to add to the $400 grant money, for a total of $1025 to provide service for those in need. We chose Corvallis Housing First.
Corvallis Housing First provides housing and services for individuals experiencing homelessnes in our Corvallis Community. They work with partners in the community to ensure people get what they need to live their best life. Donors are vital to ensuring services are provided.
Thanks to Jim Swinyard and Andrea Myhre for taking the lead on this service project. Jim purchased food items for the SORT (Street Outreach and Response Team) as well as items for Safe Place. The Street Outreach and Response Team visit homeless people who are camping to provide them with food, water, socks and other supplies for survival. SORT tries to be proactive in addressing some of the concerns around camping. Each week, the SORT street outreach team brings hot coffee, small food items, water, and hygiene supplies to people on the street. The purpose of SORT is to promote harm reduction; to check on the health and wellbeing of those who are experiencing homelessness, as well as to share information about community resources and to form trusting relationships to help them improve their lives. SORT is a collaboration between several agencies and volunteer groups. The food items recieved through rotary will be distributed now and into the coming weeks.
Other funds raised by our club will go to helping support the Safe Place program, specifically through purchasing items for kitchen and shelter facilities. The Safe Place program is an emerging program of Unity Shelter, a newly-formed nonprofit dedicated to supporting the Cold Weather Men’s Shelter, Room at the Inn women’s shelter, and the Safe Place program. Safe Place includes transitional housing such as micro-shelters, managed tent camping, and car/RV camping at local religious organizations for those experiencing homelessness. These two services complete an important part of the services continuum for those experiencing homelessness in our community.