“Every little bit counts. One year later, pop-up resource center serves Rogue Valley fire victims


Plastic bins were filled with loaves of bread, and folding tables were filled with bottles of canned soup and shampoo as people cycled through a large garage at Living Waters Church.

Maria Melendez lost her trailer at Medford Estates in Phoenix. His family had lived there for 11 years. The five of them lived for several months crammed into an RV, but eventually moved to White City. She visited Saturday’s pop-up event for a few bags of groceries.

“Every little bit counts,” Melendez said. “Right now, for people in difficulty who probably don’t have a job or can’t find something, every little bit of money helps. “

Marc Rosewood was also at church. Firefighters told him to evacuate his Phoenix home on September 8, 2020. He also lost his home and everything in it.

“If I think of, like, guerrilla warfare, useful things around the house other than emotional support, it’s having them. Having the ability to save money by not buying commodities, ”Rosewood said.

Seven months later he found a rental in Ashland. As unlikely as it is, he says, fire victims would benefit the most from housing or financial assistance.

Erik Neumann / JPR

Fire victims at a pop-up resource center hosted by the non-profit organizations Rogue Climate and Rogue Action.

More than a year after the Labor Day fires, the need for help is still clear in Rogue Valley. Some visitors to Saturday’s pop-up event still live in nearby hotels. Others are slowly rebuilding their homes.

” Everything is fine ; all of this is useful for people now, but people obviously need help in the longer term, ”said Adriana Sanchez, community organizer at Rogue Action. “It doesn’t change the fact that people are about to be deported.

Sitting at a folding table next to a large tri-fold notice board, Sanchez was helping visitors sign up for resources like emergency rental assistance. Events like this are a way to stay in touch with survivors of the fires, she said.

“It helps us maintain those community ties. And it creates new relationships with people we may not have reached before, ”she said.

Organizers say they served more than 300 people at Saturday’s event. They plan to continue hosting pop-up events as the community slowly picks up.

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