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Michael Patrick, executive director of East County For All, asks that community members look for opportunities to lend a hand wherever they can during the COVID-19 crisis.

MICHAEL PATRICKLuckily for most of us in the Northwest, there have been few states of emergency. So this current crisis leaves us with that feeling of "what can we do and who needs our help."

It's a proven fact that the giver redeems as much pleasure from the act of giving as the recipient. And during times such as these we all need "feel good" moments! While toilet paper is important, it's not who we are. Here are some ideas and I am sure you have more. So please put your ideas in the comment section of this column in the online version.

BE MINDFUL

Wash your hands. Just a plain old-fashioned scrub with some regular bar soap — scrubbing and rubbing — is the best way to remove germs from layers of skin.

If you have basic symptoms of a cold, stay away from others as we do not always know who is in those "at-risk" categories. Of course, the elderly, but others may have conditions that we are unaware of that could be compromised.

SENIORS

Seniors are at-risk and our local Gresham Senior Center has been closed. Thus, the seniors who gather five-days a week at the center will not receive daily meals or social interaction.

Those who regularly receive food through the Meals on Wheels will continue to do so. However, because of the recent run on products such as disposable gloves and hand sanitizers they are having trouble getting these for their carriers.

If you are fortunate to have extra gloves, please drop them off at Gresham Ford and they will deliver to them. Also, Meals on Wheels is providing "no contact" deliveries (they follow-up with phone calls to make sure seniors are OK).

The delivery drivers need clean, never-been-used bags that will hang on a door knob. If you have any of those left from "the pre-no-plastic ERA," please drop them off at Gresham Ford for this good use.

Just an FYI: Meals on Wheels drivers must go through a background check, and that cannot be accomplished in the short run.

If you are a senior who needs the services of Meals on Wheels, please call 503-736-6325. There is currently a no-waiting list. Also, if you are a senior who needs other services and are not sure where to go for help, call Multnomah County ADRC at 503-988-3646.

NONPROFITS

Please, more than ever before, support your local nonprofits — particularly those that take care of our neighbors' immediate needs like food, utilities and such.

SnowCap Community Charities is a great example of one of these. Sadly, its annual fundraiser was scheduled for March 14 and was canceled. However, if you are looking for a place to make a difference, go to SnowCap.org and see how you might be able to help.

They need able-bodied, healthy volunteers as many of their regular volunteers are older and live with compromised health issues. Those volunteers are being asked to stay home.

The great news is SnowCap is putting together premade boxes of food that can be picked-up.

If you are in need of food provisions, do not be afraid to come by.

For more information about SnowCap, call 503-674-8785.

I also spoke with El Programa Hispano Catolico and Birch Community Services and the shared theme seems to be they are in need of hand sanitizers and gloves.

For other nonprofits that might need your help, go to GreshamChamber.org. They have a list of local nonprofits organizations.

SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES AND RESTAURANTS

All the local nonprofits that I talked to made one thing perfectly clear, their plea that local residents continue to keep local businesses economically sustainable. Supporting local businesses means their employees continue to have jobs and do not need or over-tax the services of local food banks and services.

Local restaurants are happy to prepare to-go items, and they adhere to strict protocols regarding food prep, making takeout a healthy option.

There is never a bad time to shop local, but during a time when challenges abound it is critical to our economic well-being.

When Wall Street gives us lemons, we need to make lemonade by buying what we can locally.

They say there is nothing that brings a family together like a board game, so visit Off the Charts Games in Historic Downtown and bring home a new one (better than binge watching).

What other ideas can you come up with?

CONNECT — CONNECT

While there is a valid reason for "social distancing," this crisis gives us all time to reflect on who and what is important. Pick up the phone and give someone who lives alone a call. Whether they be a senior citizen or a single mom who is now trying to juggle working from home and kids who are not attending school.

We all need a friend and friends who care.

A phone call and listening goes a long way. If needed, read between the lines and take action. Numerous resources are available and we have a city government and local Chamber of Commerce that are willing to connect citizens with resources if at all possible.

We are a community that can solve problems and ease the burden for some of our merchants and residents who are coming to grips with the real loss of income. So let's stick together to make East Multnomah County a great place for all.

Michael Patrick is executive director of East County For All, a group working to promote and support people and causes to increase prosperity, opportunities and equity in the East Multnomah County area. Contact Patrick at 503-481-0900 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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