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In the face of pandemic and wildfire recovery, Clackamas High School Key Club rallying to help

COURTESY PHOTO: CLACKAMAS HIGH SCHOOL KEY CLUB - Members of Clackamas High School Key Club are asking the community for donations to help families in need during the holidays for Winter Blitz, as the number of families struggling surges this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and recovery from wildfires.In the face of the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic and recovery from devastating wildfires, volunteers in Clackamas County are ramping up their efforts to help out families in need during the holiday season, but they need community donations to make it happen.

For 23 years, the Clackamas High School Key Club has been raising money, collecting clothes and creating a food basket and other items for "adopted" families during the winter for an event formerly known as "Winter Rage," which this year has been rebranded as "Winter Blitz."

Organizers are usually able to help out around 200 families each year, but due to factors like coronavirus and wildfires, they estimate they'll have a significantly smaller budget to work with and even more families than ever in the Clackamas community seeking help.

Cindy Rochester, a Clackamas High School math teacher and coordinator for Winter Blitz, said fundraising will occur throughout the month of November, which can be done in various ways. For instance, monetary donations can be made through the CHS Winter Blitz 2020 website, Gift cards and Winter Blitz 2020 T-shirts are also available to purchase for fundraising needs.

Rochester said the Wichita Center for Family & Community, FILE PHOTO: KOIN 6 NEWS - Food baskets prepared in 2019, as part of the annual donation drive to help families in need in the Clackamas High School community. which is run by the North Clackamas School District, is a partnering organization that usually matches the number of donations family-to-family with Clackamas High School. So if Clackamas High School adopts 200 families, the Wichita Center will adopt another 200, meaning 400 total families are helped. This year that grand total is expected to reach 600.

Once all the donated items are collected and money raised, an event culminates on Dec. 5 in which the adopted families can pick up their donated supplies from six different locations spread throughout the North Clackamas School District, Rochester said.

Clackamas High School treasurer Hua Ming Wu, a senior, said giving even just a little bit toward the cause still creates a small difference that has a rippling effect felt throughout the community.

"The difference it made in our community, as a member not an officer last year, just seeing how many families we could help and effect, it actually inspired me to become an officer so I can make more of a difference in my community," Wu said.

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