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December 1 — Season of Giving

Holiday Giving Programs in Springfield

At the December 1 program Springfield City Club highlighted programs focusing on support for community residents. Tracy Kribs, of the Willamalane Park and Recreation District and Gabriela Commons and Julia Gutierrez of the Daisy Chain program, which supports those who are pregnant, described their efforts. YHou may view the program on Facebook HERE

Ms. Kribs focused on programs that occur at the Adult Community Center, located just north of Island Park. She emphasized four programs that provide services to senior and disabled citizens.

The largest support program she mentioned was the weekly food pantry which serves over 50 adults every week. An unusual feature of this food pantry is its support from the Burrito Brigade, a volunteer organized that rescues food from restaurants and other food stores that can still be used and distributed through the food pantry. She noted that food insecurity is a pervasive problem for seniors. Older adults, she said, are three times more likely to suffer from food insecurity than is the general population. The food pantry works in conjunction with Willamalane Community Breakfast program, which offers a once-a-month breakfast for anyone over 50. While the program, for now, remains a drive-by effort, Ms. Kribs says that Willamalane hopes to get back to an in-person program next spring. Finally, to help alleviate food insecurity, the agency also operates the local Meals on Wheels program.

Willamalane also for the second year is offering year around energy assistance, funded by a grant from Lane County, as well as providing senior health benefit assistance to help seniors navigate the complexities of Medicare and Medicaid.

Finally, she described the agencies annual giving program, which started as an effort by Willamalane employees to provide gifts to students in Springfield Schools who might not otherwise receive holiday presents, but has grown tremendously in the past several areas, particularly during the pandemic. Now, rather than operating a giving tree which many of us are familiar with, the giving program has gone digital during the pandemic and functions as an Amazon wish list. From the original effort which provided 50 to 75 gifts a season, the program grew to over 100 when the agency placed trees in many of its locations and now, with the program being fully digital, they anticipate helping as many as 300 children. They have also expanded to include disabled adults and veterans. More information can be found on the agency’s website at the Giving Season link.

Gabriela Commons and Julia Gutierrez of Daisy Chain are both fully trained doulas, but their services at Daisy chain go well beyond simply assisting at birth. The provide, at no charge support to all pregnant persons throughout the pregnancy to its conclusion, as well as post-partum services for up to a year. This includes helping the pregnant person make informed decisions about her pregnancy. They support all pregnancy outcomes whether the result is birth or some other alternative. They also provide training and support for lactation.

Gabriela said it is very important to meet their clients where they are, whatever emotional or physical state they are in. The find clients by networking with other social services agencies, by word of mouth and by being out on the streets where they can come across someone who is pregnant or someone who knows another who needs support during a pregnancy.

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