▶️ Pandemic has coalition of nonprofits helping the community in new ways

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By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

As the COVID pandemic intensifies, more people test positive and are ordered to quarantine or self-isolate, the need for support and assistance grows.

A coalition of local non-profits is stepping up to provide “wrap-around” support far beyond their usual scope of services.

In Bend, the Habitat for Humanity Restore is a place many people donate fixtures and appliances during remodeling projects, and where others come to find and buy such items with proceeds supporting Habitat’s mission to build affordable housing.

Lately, Habitat has been helping people who’ve tested positive for COVID obtain food and other basic services.

“We do food orders, we do an Instacart food order. We get their address and do a delivery and they are so grateful,” said DeeDee Johnson, Director of Homeowner Services for Habitat for Humanity. “This an opportunity for someone who is just down and out and are really struggling. It’s nice to be able to help our community.”

COVID 19 is disproportionately affecting communities of color, low income, and the homeless.

Habitat for Humanity is one of six nonprofits working together to assist individuals who need extra support for daily living to comply with quarantine or isolation guidelines.

“If you’ve already tapped out your resources earlier in the pandemic, it can be really scary to have to be home for two weeks. How do you get your groceries? If you have to miss work, how do you pay your bills?,” said Mellissa Kamanya, Bend/Redmond Habitat for Humanity Development Manager. “The CARES Act allows us to step in and pay for those things.”

Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity, the Central Oregon Disability Support Network, Friends of the Children Central Oregon, the Latino Community Association and Thrive Central Oregon work with contact tracers to identify people who need help.

“We are working together at such a deeper level; I can only imagine what’s going to happen after this is that our community is going to have more depth of resources,” Johnson said. “I think the support of what we can do for our community is really growing right now.”

The nonprofits are not medically trained and cannot provide medical advice to COVID patients.

But, thanks to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, they can provide assistance.

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