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Agencies continue to serve wildfire victims

Jeanne Swanson, New Hope Resource Center, Colbert


By Bon Wakabayashi

For 20 years, New Hope Resource Center in Colbert, now partnering with the North County Food Pantry in Elk, has assisted neighbors in need.

The partners recently took on a new responsibility of providing assistance to neighbors who are working to recover as a result of the September wildfire in the Oregon Road area.

The pantry not only supplies food commodities, personal items, fresh garden produce and medical supplies such as wheelchairs, walkers, canes and crutches, but also it offers lunches, showers and laundry facilities.

New Hope provides financial assistance for utility bills and rent, firewood, home repairs, gasoline, car repairs, baby formulas, toiletries and prescriptions.

In addition to offering a free thrift store with clean clothing, they provide assistance with chores, yard work and transportation to medical appointments.

Since the Oregon Road fire, they have been taking requests to assist with restoring utilities for uninsured or underinsured fire victims who plan to winter on their property.

The service can include new meters and breaker boxes, paying for electrical permits and inspections, replacing septic tanks, cleaning them out and replacing melted well wire, said Jeanna Swanson, New Hope's director, who is accepting applications.

In the area, 126 families lost their homes. With winter coming, shelters for these families are important. There have been a few donations of RVs and campers. Some families are winterizing sheds that survived the fire.

Because Elk is a small rural unincorporated community, there is no designated leadership, which makes recovery more difficult and the role of New Hope and The Pantry vital to helping these families, Jeanna said.

When fire victims found a place to shelter, they have needed bedding, linens, dishes, kitchen utensils, pots and pans.

Many who use tools to earn a living face hardship because they have lost their tools, so both New Hope and The Pantry are accepting tool donations as well as monetary donations to replace lost tools, such as saws, hammers, screwdrivers and snow shovels.

Knights of Columbus has contributed heavy equipment and excavators but needs volunteer operators to clear land and dig utility lines. They are also helping people who are jobless after sheds and outbuildings burned and damaged or destroyed tools.

New Hope, a nonprofit organization, is open from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4211 E. Colbert Rd. Their phone is 509 467 2900.

The North County Food Pantry is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Mondays, and from 8:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesdays, at 40015A N. Collins Rd. in Elk and can be reached at 509 292 2530.

For information, call New Hope at 467-2900 or The Pantry at 292-2530, or email
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, November 2023