When much of the area lost power during the record ice and snow storm, one neighborhood provided help

DAVID F. ASHTON - Inside the Impact Northwest Brentwood-Darlington Community Center, organizer Kristin Sassano was arranging the refreshments, and urged, Recharge! Get warm! The lives of many Inner Southeast Portland families started getting back to normal after the major winter snow and ice storm in mid-February.

But, even by February 19, there were many Brentwood-Darlington homes still without electrical power – and were offered scant hope that their electricity would soon return.

"That's why we decided to host a four-hour warming opportunity here at the 'Impact Northwest' Brentwood-Darlington Community Center we're calling 'Recharge! Get warm'!" explained organizer Kristin Sassano.

The furnace was on, making it cozy-warm inside the Community Center. Tables were set up – with proper social distancing – each with its own electrical outlet strip, where neighbors could recharge their communication and entertainment devices.

It seemed like it would be a good idea to open the Community Center, so neighbors without power, and often without heat, could get warmed up while they charged their phones, had a cup of coffee, and talked with others – all socially distanced, of course," Sassano told THE BEE.

Among those taking them up on the offer, Stephanie Torgerson remarked that she was glad to get warm. "We haven't had power for five days; so, it's really nice to be able to come here and 'recharge' for a few hours.

"This is a good place to warm up – and get on the Internet through the Community Center's wi-fi, to catch up on e-mail, and contact folks!"

Five volunteers hosted the warming party. One of them made a big pot of fresh soup which was simmering on the stove. "In addition to the help of our volunteers, the coffee, pastry, and other treats were donated by Starbucks in the Gateway Fred Meyer Center," Sassano explained.

Smiles returned to the faces of those taking advantage of the invitation, as they "thawed out" and enjoyed some Brentwood-Darlington hospitality.

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