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Austin Family Foundation begins employee assistance and community grant programs, netting tens of thousands of dollars

NEWBERG GRAPHIC FILE PHOTO - A-dec employees laid off by the Newberg company in April are eligible for assistance through the AFF COVID-19 Employee Assistance Fund created by the Austin Family Foundation.The Austin Family Foundation announced in late April a pair of relief programs aimed at helping people adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including employees laid off from companies under its umbrella.

"The coronavirus pandemic has affected families, communities and businesses worldwide," said A-dec Inc. President and CEO Scott Parrish, a member of the foundation. "The Austin Parrish family has been working to ensure we are prioritizing the safety and preparedness of all the people we employ. The foundation has been very busy looking at how we could meet the needs that we have in our community right now."

To that end, the foundation has created the AFF COVID-19 Employee Assistance Fund, which will provide financial assistance to the roughly 100 employees at A-dec, 240 employees at the The Allison Inn and Spa and others at Austin Industries that have been laid off due to the economic downturn brought on by the pandemic. The program, which will continue through the end of May, will distribute tax-free $1,000 grants to eligible employees (criteria and other information is available on the foundation's website at HYPERLINK "http://www.austinfamilyfoundation.com" www.austinfamilyfoundation.com).

"We are really happy that we were able to start the relief fund and take direct action to support our employees during this unprecedented time," Celia Austin, an Austin Family Foundation board member, said. "We are also proud to see so many people step up and do good works for our community."

The second program, called AFF COVID-19 Community Assistance Fund, provides $500 to $10,000 grants to nonprofit organizations in Newberg and Dundee that "are providing the community with basic needs (services and assistance that keep people housed, fed, healthy and safe), social and emotional needs, (services for mental health, child abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse and other social/emotional issues exacerbated by the crisis) and school closures (strategies for addressing learning loss, ancillary services provided by schools, and post-secondary issues," according to the release.

Nonprofit agencies can apply for the grants through the foundation, which had awarded $185,000 in grants to nonprofits in the community by early May.

"We have already been able to fund some of the groups we've worked with, who we know are doing important work in our community: Newberg FISH, Juliette's House, Virginia Garcia, Love INC, A Family Place, Meals on Wheels, 2nd Street Community Drop-in Center, as well as the other local churches and nonprofits that have been providing the community food during this time," said Austin Family Foundation Chairwoman Loni Parrish.

The move by the foundation follows other initiatives begun by A-dec and the Allison. From March 22 to May 3, the Allison served 3,645 family-style meals to go, at cost, to the Newberg community, feeding 21,870 people. The program also allowed some kitchen workers at the Allison's restaurant, Jory, to continue working during the downturn. More than $6,000 in tips gathered during the two-week effort were donated to nine local and national charities.

"When our doors closed in March, the community opened their hearts by supporting our meals to-go program," said Pierre Zreik, managing director of the Allison. "It was a sincere pleasure for our team to provide the community with comforting meals during this uncertain time."

Not to be outdone, A-dec mounted a national effort in March to aid in supplying healthcare workers with personal protective equipment (PPE). The company responded to a call from Legacy Health for help by designing prototypes for a plastic shield covering for air purifying respirators, worn during medical procedures to safeguard healthcare workers from airborne illnesses. A-dec initially produced nearly 13,000 of the shields to aid in the effort and has ramped up to fabricating 10,000 PAPR shields each week to meet Legacy's need during the pandemic.


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