Much appreciation to the LocalsGuide and Shields Bialasik for continuing to showcase our foundation, HeartRising.Org. As our organization takes shape, we are expanding, connecting and serving more families and individuals in the community.
We are a growing group of volunteer teams, of 5 or more, and the families and individuals impacted by the Almeda Fire, whom we serve.
As individual community members struggle to offer resources to assist those that have had such massive loss, limitations are recognized as we contribute to the many GoFundMe accounts, all of whom we want to assist, as well as aid organizations and those we know personally, who need help. It can be overwhelming.
Coming to terms with the devastation in our communities and the loss suffered by our displaced friends and families has been new work for all of us, both volunteers and those displaced, as we begin to absorb and understand all of the ramifications of this tragedy. Day by day new needs emerge.
It is the goal of our Heart Rising teams to connect, form relationships within their teams with one another, and to be the support our displaced families need through the long recovery. This deepens our community connections in all directions and gives our families in need a long-term place of support. One team supports one to a few families, bonds are formed, and understandings develop so that the support can be deep, reliable, and long-term.
If you would like to help but are unsure how, reach out to us. Some take a leadership role and others can help a little and all are needed and important. We will connect you with other volunteers to form a team. Once your team is formed you will meet by phone or Zoom to organize and then reach out to the family that is excited to meet you.
It is up to the team to develop how they want to work together and discover how they can best support their assigned family or families. This does not need to take an immense amount of your time, you can participate at the level that fits with your life.
We have been receiving calls offering furniture and clothing, kitchen items and beds and asking if we can pick up these items. We do not have a storage place and are not doing pick up and delivery. I am running my real estate brokerage, the Patie Millen Group, and our foundation exists online. So there is no facility to receive goods.
However, your goods are needed and can be posted on our Facebook Heart Rising page. Our individual teams are the ones searching out needed items and it is they who will coordinate to get those goods to those in need. Additionally, the National Merit Society at Ashland High has offered to pick up and deliver, but they must have a destination in place as we do not store goods.
As an update, families that have reached out to Heart Rising are truly forming bonds with their teams. Some of the ways the individual teams are operating is to find items that families need and to get those items to them. The teams have assisted in getting an Internet connection set up so the children can do their online schooling. They are gathering winter clothing, blankets, and rugs as the weather chills. Engaging their church to contribute to the needed water heater and other essentials. Fundraising for their supported family to get needed transportation, securing gas cards, letting them know of new grants and money offerings. Securing trade tools or laptops, finding rentals or permanent housing. Delivering small gifts as their birthdays and holidays are celebrated. Arranging therapy, we have been contacted by Scott Bandaroff at Peak Experience and Nando Reynolds, who have assembled a team of therapists who are generously offering no-cost therapy to assist those in need. This has been a request from the families that have reached out to us.
As our team volunteers get to know their families and talk with them, it opens hearts, identifies their priority needs, the softer emotional needs and from there a plan can be formed. With a plan, anxiety is reduced, with support and friendship lives become easier and more hopeful.
Please consider joining one of our teams, or please bring your own team. I understand life is busy, if you decide you do not have time to volunteer, please consider that this does not need to take a large amount of your time due to the team model. We are finding individuals from businesses, book clubs, networks, friend groups etc., are volunteering and coming into our organization as an established team so that they can work together. Some teams are growing as member’s friends and own families choose to join them. Volunteers are joining singly and then join a team. Our volunteers are offering support in varying degrees based on what works for them in their lives. Not all team members can offer the same degree of assistance. That is why we have a team.
As the weather changes, housing is a big concern. Many are fearful of living in their cars in the winter. Many families that are living in hotel rooms on vouchers are unsure what will happen at the end of each month.
We are currently taking donations for the families through the Thalden Foundation, generously offered by Barry and Kathryn Thalden. Donations can be marked for Heart Rising and sent to The Thalden Foundation at 550 Ashland Loop Road, Ashland, OR 97520. We are in the process of establishing Heart Rising as a non-profit, until that is complete please send your donations to the Thalden Foundation, where it will be tax deductible. If you need your donation picked up, we are happy to do that. The Thalden Foundation has also generously matched the first $10,000 of received donations. Thank you to all who have contributed.
If you know a family in need or would like to volunteer in any capacity, please contact us. As a volunteer or as a family in need you can visit our website at www.HeartRising.Org and click on a button at the bottom of the home page, “Offer Help” or “Request Help” and fill out the questionnaire. This information is confidential and only used to determine how to best place a helper on a team or how to best assist a family in need. A family need not be concerned that their information will be shared with any government organization, it will not.
I am new to this. I have never formed a social organization. I am a Realtor in our Valley and I am figuring this out step-by-step, day-by-day. I am doing as much as I can as fast as I can. I wish I could go faster. If someone would like to offer their expertise as Heart Rising becomes established, we would be incredibly grateful.
If you have questions or suggestions, comments, want to find out more or offer a kind word 🙂 you can call me on my cell at 541-301-3435 or at my real estate brokerage at The Patie Millen Group at 541-488-0010.