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The little things make a difference

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MEDFORD — Some spots sit empty, but about 20 trailers remain parked at the corner of East Barnett Road and Golf View Drive in Medford, where an RV park was established for Asante employees impacted by the Sept. 8 Almeda and Obenchain fires.

Amid the stress of home rebuilding and the holidays, fire survivor Jennifer Harper with Phoenix Rising Fire Relief said she decided the time was ripe to bring some hope and cheer to the small community in the form of a delicious lunch.

Fat Kid Food Co. donated lunches Sunday for displaced park residents — some without insurance policies to cover a rebuild.

“I just really want to let people be able to wear it and feel the hope that it’s going to give — that we’re going to rebuild, that we will rise, that we will have our homes back again,” Harper said of the Phoenix Rising symbol, based on artwork painted days after the fires.

According to Asante, 120 families connected to Rogue Regional Medical Center were impacted by the Almeda and Obenchain fires, and 32 spaces are available for temporary mobile home parking at the lot through March 2023.

As someone who lost a home in the fire herself, Harper said it’s the little things that make a difference, whether a free lunch, replacement holiday ornaments or a simple conversation.

On Dec. 19, Phoenix Rising’s giving event connected gift-givers with 17 families, most of whom lost homes in Talent at the Vista Anderson apartments.

Fat Kid Food Co. co-owner Chaz McKenna said each person has experienced this year differently, but some faced worse hardship than others.

“We think more than ever, people need to show compassion and love for one another right now,” he said. “People are here for you, for us — that coming together and being there for one another is everything right now.”

Asante’s Hands and Hearts program can connect individuals interested in helping families with their holiday needs. Reach the program through email at volunteer@asante.org.

Jennifer Harper hands over a holiday card to a family residing at the Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center RV Park in Medford.
Some spots sit empty, but about 20 trailers remain parked at the corner of East Barnett Road and Golf View Drive in Medford, where an RV park was established for Asante employees impacted by the Sept. 8 Almeda and Obenchain fires.