Two East County charities saw some relief this week after receiving significant financial contributions, great news after encountering a spike in demand for services and diminished resources caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jan Weston, owner and chief financial officer of Weston Kia, 22309 S.E. Stark St., Gresham, presented $15,000 each to SnowCap Community Charities and My Father's House.
At a Tuesday, April 21, event at My Father's House, 5003 Powell Blvd., Gresham, Weston and sons Josh and Jacob, gathered with a small group of people representing the two charities. Strict social distancing was observed.
"We saw an opportunity to do something for two organizations that have been in the community for a long time and that have a huge impact," Jan Weston said. "We knew they were hurting."
In the weeks since the shutdown of the Oregon economy, the two charities have been forced to stretch their finances.
SnowCap, 17788 S.E. Pine St, Gresham, is primarily a pantry, making food available at no cost to low-income clients. Executive Director Kirsten Wageman said the nonprofit organization has seen a sudden increase in the number of first-time visitors since the start of the economic crisis.
"This (donation) means we can continue to be a reliable source of help to the people who have had the bottom fall out," Wageman said. "We are seeing more than double the number of people who are first-timers. And that's increasing every day."
My Father's House is a privately-funded, nonprofit shelter that strives to keep homeless families together while providing them with the life skills necessary to live independent and productive lives.
Before Gov. Kate Brown's stay-at-home order, My Father's House was the beneficiary of food drives conducted by local churches. Executive Director Cathe Wiese said the food donations have been interrupted by the quarantine.
"Right now, we are paying for everything out of our own funds," Wiese said. "This donation from the Westons means we'll be able to keep 40 families housed. We are so grateful for this donation."
Wageman also expressed gratitude.
"They (the Westons) didn't need to be asked," she said. "They stepped up. This shows this community really cares about each other."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.