We at Heart Rising want to acknowledge some of the great teams and families that have been
working together to restore lives since the Almeda Fire. Diane Schaffer from Team Seven has
graciously agreed to share her and her team’s experiences with one of our families:
As the smoke cleared from the Almeda fire, many of us whose homes survived wanted to pitch
in to help the victims. Fortunately, Heart Rising offered an avenue for volunteers to “adopt” a
family. In our case, seven households formed a team, offering everything from money to hands-
When we first met our fire refugees, a family of five, they had taken shelter in a small trailer at
the Jackson County Fairgrounds. The roof leaked when it rained. They had only the clothes they
were wearing when they barely escaped the fire. These were people in shock. Yet mom and dad
were capable and loving parents, already engaged in putting life back together for their
First order of business was winter clothing; second, roof repair — then, gifts to make Christmas
as joyous as possible. With the new year, mom and dad started planning for the future, each
enrolling in (remote) courses at RCC, this made possible by the gift of a computer. She opted
for Early Childhood classes, he for ESL and Construction.
Then a donor provided a used van which was big enough for the family and their aged grandpa.
We are excited to report that besides forming a lovely bond with this amazing family, Heart
Rising and our team worked with the wonderful local resident, Joe Davis, who donated the van.
Team Seven purchased new tires and now the family is ready to roll!
A tremendous strength of the Heart Rising model (adapted from the Canadian model for
helping refugee families) is that, by having multiple households focusing on one family, we have
been able to meet a wide variety of needs. Yes, we raise money for purchases. But just as
important, members of the team have expertise that can help, whether it is navigating
registration at RCC, tutoring, searching for a new home, or planning summer camps for the kids.
Best of all, we have formed a lasting bond, sharing meals and outings, learning one another’s
Our greatest unmet challenge has been to find a piece of property for this hardworking family
to rebuild their home and their lives. If anyone can offer a lead, please contact Heart Rising at
You can help Heart Rising continue its mission in three ways: Send a donation to us care of the
Thalden Foundation, 550 Ashland Loop Road, Ashland, OR 97520. If you would like to volunteer
go to our website: HeartRising.org and click on: “Offer Help.” If you need help, click on the
“Request Help” button. We also offer information in Spanish and some bilingual volunteers.
Information is kept confidential and is only used to help volunteer teams to assist their assigned
individual, couple or family.