The Oregon City Woman's Club is dedicated to improving and enhancing the lives of others in the community, and it proved that in mid-February, when the club donated $8,000 to local organizations.
"The almost 50-member club raises funds that are then donated to the organizations that support our goal of making a difference," said Beverly Spilseth, the OC Woman's Club president.
She noted that the funds this past year were raised from the club's annual auction, working at both the Oregon State Fair and at the Oregon City First City Celebration, along with teaming with local restaurants for fundraising nights. This year the club also received funds from the Healing Hearts Walk, which they teamed up to do with two other organizations.
"We congratulate and applaud the organizations chosen for this year's financial awards, as they improve the quality of life for our neighbors in need," added Vicki Pearse, civic improvement chairwoman.
Below is a listing of most of the organizations receiving civic improvement grants or social services donations from the Oregon City Woman's Club.
Angels in the Outfield
Amount received: $500
"We are planning to use the money to fund a referral for a particular child that is made through one of our referring partners," said Shannon Kmetic, Angels in the Outfield founder.
"Our organizations work well together and have the same passion for helping children in our community," she said.
"We believe in each other's missions and can assist each other in achieving our goals. We are an all-volunteer organization and their support is what we require to continue to assist children each year," Kmetic said.
"Last year we helped almost 1,600 children and spent over $185,000 to help children impacted by crime and abuse," she added.
Amount received: $600
"All of the money received will be used to purchase food for children in need. Our mission is to feed children in need on the weekends," said Kathy Warner, a volunteer with Oregon City Backpack Buddies.
"This donation helps to keep our nonprofit running and reminds us that the community cares about how we can all work to make sure that children do not go hungry," she said.
"There is no immediate solution to fix the problem of childhood hunger, so our group of volunteers makes sure that kids can be kids. We hope that children can forget about hunger by giving them bags of nutritious food for the weekends," Warner added.
Clackamas Emergency Services Foundation—Clackamas Fire District #1
Amount received: $500
"Grants of this type are typically used for community assistance activities, which gives firefighters and law enforcement the ability to take steps to provide humanitarian assistance to community members who are discovered to be in need by emergency services professionals during the course of a response," said Tracey Grisham, administrative technician in the public information office for Clackamas Fire District #1.
In the past, funds have been used to purchase gift cards to Fred Meyer or Walmart for a family to purchase necessities after a house fire, food for a family and diapers for a baby.
"Partnering with the OC Woman's Club allows the Clackamas Emergency Services Foundation to meet its mission of providing humanitarian assistance and preventing tragedies in the community," Grisham said.
"Our long-term relationship with the Oregon City Woman's Club, as well as other community groups and organizations, ensures more options for helping those who have experienced a disaster, tragedy or other misfortune within Clackamas County," she added.
Clackamas County Historical Society
The grant will be used to refresh activities in the Hands-On-History Hall, the children's section of the Museum of the Oregon Territory, said Jenna Barganski, museum manager.
The historical society "values the history of our community and knows the importance of educating visitors about our unique region," she said.
"Clackamas County Historical Society does not receive any funding from the state, county or city. Donations such as these are what keep us relevant in the community," Barganski added.
Friends Involved in Dog Outreach (FIDO)
Amount received: $200
The money will be used immediately to purchase canned dog food for the upcoming monthly Pet Food Bank, said Nancy Martin, a volunteer with FIDO.
"It is so important that strong, caring woman reach out to those in need and in this case for the pets, which is so wonderful," she said.
"Without donations such as this we could not exist. Very little options are directed towards keeping the human-pet bond unbroken," Martin said.
She noted that in actuality, FIDO Pet Food Bank is a social services program supporting the mental health and emotional wellbeing of the people who are bonded with their pets, and that is not understood as much as it should be.
Helping Other People Eat (HOPE)
Amount received: $700 plus 172 cans of soup
"Every Tuesday afternoon we provide emergency food assistance to almost 70 families, with an average of three to four individuals per household," said Bruce Allen, a volunteer with HOPE.
In 2018, the Presbyterian Hope Pantry distributed more than 350,000 pounds of food to clients. Through donations and volunteer efforts, the pantry's cost was only $5.68 per household, he noted.
"The Oregon City Woman's Club donation will go toward the efficient purchase of needed food, which last year totaled $19, 447," Allen said.
The woman's club's "civic mindedness and dedication to the local community fits hand and glove with our all-volunteer organization," he said.
"More than 50 people volunteer in the weekly operation of our pantry, working 12,235 hours in 2018. The endorsement of the OC Woman's Club is a valuable recommendation," Allen said.
He added, "We are encouraged by their generosity to continue in service to the greater Oregon City community."
Amount received: $150
"We will use these funds to stock our CARE Pantry, a pantry for neighbors in need supplying them with personal hygiene and cleaning supplies," said Joan Jones, executive director at Love INC of Clackamas County.
Volunteers serve hundreds of people a year with these items, allowing those needing help to use the cash they have to meet their rent/utility and food needs.
"We greatly appreciate (the woman's club's) continued support for not only us, but so many organizations that serve our community," Jones said.
She added, "Without the support of groups such as theirs, we would not be able to care for people seeking assistance."
Oregon City Library
Amount received: $500
The donation will be used to set up an ADA-compliant public access catalog.
"While the library does offer wheelchair-accessible internet computers, we felt we needed to also offer a wheelchair-accessible catalog computer for patrons to look up specific book titles, see what's in our and other Clackamas County libraries' collections, place holds and check their accounts," said Maureen Cole, library director.
"We created a custom computer workstation, complete with an ADA accessible table and a computer that features a high-contrast keyboard and magnifying touchscreen. This workstation is located on the floor level in the foyer next to two other standing catalog computers," she said.
"By locating this wheelchair-accessible workstation in the foyer near two self-check machines, we love the idea that we can now offer self-sufficient service to even more people," Cole said.
Amount received: $900
"The beauty of the donated funds is that I can use them in a discretionary manner to meet immediate needs of those I'm conducting outreach with," said Mike Day, OCPD homeless liaison officer.
"My goal is to eliminate barriers faced by those I conduct outreach with, in an effort to get them into housing. There are any number of unique needs that present themselves when I'm working with this vulnerable population," he said.
"One person may need state-issued identification for employment purposes, another person may need bus fair or gasoline to get to a job interview, and another person may just need a cup of coffee while we sit down and work together to get them back on their feet," Day said.
The Oregon City Woman's Club has supported the Homeless Liaison Program since its inception, he noted.
"They believed in the program from early on, which encourages and motivates me to work hard in my assignment to positively impact as many lives as possible during my outreach efforts. I'm very thankful for this donation and the ongoing support of club," Day added.
Oregon Department of Human Services
Amount received: $600
"The intent of the donation was to provide shoes for foster children. To facilitate this, gift cards are purchased from retail stores that sell shoes and those cards are issued to caseworkers who identify a child with a need for shoes," said Amy Seymour, business integrity coordinator, Oregon Department of Human Services.
Gift cards enable children to pick out their own shoes, she noted.
"We can always count on the annual donation from the Oregon City Woman's Club. We are very grateful of their faithful support to foster kids in our community," Seymour said.
"Because resources for our foster care population are limited, donations from our community, such as this, are needed to provide for some of the most basic necessities for our youth in foster care," she said.
Meals on Wheels/Pioneer Community Center
Amount received: $500
"We will use the funds for additional emergency meals or just to maintain Meals on Wheels services," said Jamie Davie, client services coordinator for the Pioneer Community Center.
She noted that the center has recently acquired Gladstone, so volunteers supply meals to three cities — Gladstone, West Linn and Oregon City.
"We appreciate the woman's club support; this is a group that gives back to the community out of the kindness of their hearts," Davie said.
Amount received: $400
The organizers will use money to purchase food for students' backpacks, said Ted Thonstad, project coordinator.
"We are now providing over 120 backpacks per week to homeless and food insecure students at the four high school locations," he noted.
"The OC Woman's Club has been helpful and supportive in providing food, personal hygiene items, snacks and gift cards for special occasions," Thonstad said.
"The donation means that the pantry has money to pay for snacks and water for homeless and food insecure students," he said.
Thonstad added that in past years the club has provided gloves, hats and scarves for students throughout the district.
Amount received: $700
This organization provides backpacks in the fall that are filled with school supplies for Clackamas County students in grades kindergarten to 12.
"Any funds received are spent on school supplies. The organization is staffed by volunteers and we have no overhead, said volunteer Pauline Vorderstrasse.
Donations were also made to Clackamas County Behavioral Health to buy diapers and feminine supplies and Oregon City High School for the graduation party and yearbook. Colin Allen and Andrew Griffin contributed to this story.
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