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A fair for fire relief

Almeda fire [Mail Tribune/file photo]
The second of many events for fire survivors

Three Southern Oregon nonprofits will come together from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday in the Talent Town Hall parking lot, 206 E. Main St., to share resources, supplies, information, and provide a chance for those who survived the Almeda and Obenchain fires to come together.

After a year of operation, the Phoenix-Talent Fire Relief Resource Center closed. But these nonprofits saw there was still a need for resources, information, and especially for fire survivors to have access to the basics as they recover and rebuild their lives.

The solution, according to Elib Crist Dwyer, Disaster Relief Team lead at Rogue Action Center — was to “take the show on the road.” The event will be the second pop-up supply and resource fair from the team of charities, and it won’t be the last.

Other events will continue through the summer, though the dates are undecided.

Information on upcoming events will be posted at Rogueactioncenter.org and Rogueclimate.org.

Dwyer said the events allow people to meet face to face after spending months communicating over the phone.

“Because of COVID, after the fires it was hard to get people together to get what they needed,” Dwyer explained. But now that the pandemic is winding down and the world is opening back up, fire survivors can meet their case workers and the nonprofits are happy to help them face to face.

Saturday will feature something truly rare — a free lunch. Courtesy of Rogue Food Unites, the food carts Loncheria Las Reyes and Curbside King will serve lunch for everyone. Nonperishable food, grocery staples, and hygiene and cleaning supplies will also be offered free to fire survivors.

Coalicion Fortaleza, Jackson County Library Service, OYEN Emotional Wellness Center, Maslow Project, Zone Captains, Catholic Charities, Bilingual ACCESS, Oregon Department of Human Services, and Jackson County Community Long Term Recovery Group will all have staff available at the event.

Those who want to help fire victims are encouraged to volunteer their time rather than their possessions. Dwyer said the flood of donations after the fires was so extreme some volunteers took to calling it “the disaster after the disaster,” due to the months of work it took for volunteers to sort through and prepare the generosity of the Rogue Valley for distribution to fire victims.

Clothes had to be washed, expired food could be legally given out, and some donations are simply unusable. Dwyer encourages the compassionate-minded to volunteer with Rogue Action Center or Rogue Climate. Other charities attending the event also need volunteers, and some will accept donations.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Morgan Rothborne at mrothborne@rosebudmedia.com 541-776-4487 or Follow her on Twitter @MRothborne