Sandy community members, groups offer aid to those affected by wildfires
After months of division in Sandy and elsewhere in Oregon, community members are uniting to help each other survive several wildfires that have ignited within the past week.
As Estacada quickly moved into Level 3 evacuation — the "go now" level — earlier this week, Sandy residents jumped to help facilitate people in need of shelter, supplies and places for animals. Now, with the rural, southern edge of Sandy under Level 3 and the core of Sandy moving into Level 2 as of Thursday afternoon, many residents are preparing out of caution to leave. Citizens, civic groups and business owners are lending a hand to their neighbors.
While some places are closing in order to allow workers to prepare, others are staying open to serve those in need.
In the business of service
Wednesday, AntFarm Café extended its hours to offer people a place to go for free Wi-Fi and food as they prepared to leave town, or if they arrived in Sandy from elsewhere. Similarly, several local civic groups and nonprofit organizations have begun pulling their connections and resources to gather aid for others.
• Sandy's Helping Hands
Sandy's Helping Hands Founder Machel Heldstab is still taking calls and requests for aid while working alongside the city of Sandy to assess the current needs of the community.
• The Sandy STAND UP Movement
The Sandy STAND UP Movement offered aid in removing debris to community members following the windstorm on Monday, Sept. 7, and leaders now are working to collect donations to provide food boxes and supplies to local churches and sites hosting evacuees. They also are taking monetary donations to gather feed supplies for those housing extra right now and facilitating other needs as they are made aware of them. Monetary donations are being taken via Venmo, PayPal and Cash App at the following accounts:
Cash App: $standupmovement
"We are standing up for our community and those (in the) surrounding area," said SSUM co-leader Tracy George. "That's what we do. So, we see a need and are trying to do what we can to meet that."
• Sandy Backs the Blue
Randall Santos II of the Sandy Backs the Blue group also has extended an invitation to those in need to contact him via a message to either his personal page or the Sandy Backs the Blue page on Facebook.
"I'd be glad to use the group to help out," he said.
Churches open doors, resources
The Sandy Community Action Center is closed for now, but several local churches are working to feed and help evacuees.
• Community Church of Sandy
The Community Church of Sandy, 39290 Scenic St., opened a food pantry late last month and offers access to those resources on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month from 3 to 6 p.m. The pantry will be open Thursday, Sept. 10. Contact Rebekah Harrell at 971-867-0776 for more information.
• Living Way Fellowship
Living Way Fellowship, 39300 Dubarko Road, Sandy, is offering use of the church grounds, parking lot and fields as camping sites for those displaced by the fires and also is trying to offer aid in whatever other ways possible. There aren't water hookups at the church, but the site does have a water source.
• Abundant Life Church
People also have been setting up camp in the parking lot in front of the Abundant Life Church, 16633 Champion Way, Sandy. While this isn't an official evacuation site, the church staff and congregants have been taking the opportunity to serve.
"We don't have Red Cross, but people are here anyway, so we're showing up to help in any way we can," said Pastor Bryce Gunther.
Earlier in the COVID-19 crisis, the ALC started a care network to recruit volunteers while also taking requests for aid from the community. That network is open to all affected by the wildfires as well. To submit a request or find more information, visit alcpnw.wpengine.com/covid19/ or call the church at 503-658-8271.
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