By DG Cindi O’Neil

District 5110 Rotarians have collectively put 220 families that lost their homes, work tools, and business establishments in the September wildfires back to work. Occupations ranging from carpentry, home remodel, landscaping, forestry, house cleaning, auto repair, electrical services, hardware stores, and more were re-tooled so that families could return to work to support their families.

Two District Fire Relief Funds have been established to collect and administer relief where most needed throughout Oregon: the D5110 Fire Relief Fund and the United Rotary Clubs of Southern Oregon Fire Relief Fund.

The United Clubs of Southern Oregon began relief to fire victims of the Almeda Fire with RI Disaster Relief Funds of $25,000, leveraging them through private donations to $50,000 and served a total of 60 families.  Then realizing that whole business establishments had also been lost, dedicated a generous donation of $100,000 from the Rogue Credit Union and Rotary Club donations of $30,750 to reestablish an additional 72 family businesses.

The Rotary Club of Lincoln City leveraged a second round of $12,500 in RI Disaster Relief funds to $38,055 putting 57 individuals back to work in similar fields of employment. They had lost everything in the Echo Mtn Fire. The Rotary Club of Springfield, serving victims of the Holiday Farm Fire, have put 31 families back to work, leveraging the $12,500 RI Disaster Relief funds to $38,284. Included in this effort was a welcome relief for Christmas gifts, 109 warm winter coats and 400 hot meals in Blue River during the holidays.  All Clubs partnered with local hardware stores to purchase and re-tool the beneficiaries, stimulating small businesses in our local economies.

The Rotary Clubs of Roseburg used local Rotary funds to purchase $14,000 worth of Christmas gifts and needed items for youth displaced from the Archie Creek Fire in Glide.

In all $271,089 in relief has been distributed to those in need; $110,732 in Rotary funds and $160,357 from our community partners.  We are grateful for our generous community partners helping put families back to work and provide comfort during the holidays.  Rotarians: Thank you all for your leadership.

These long-term wildfire recovery efforts will continue.  Contributions are still accepted for the D5510 Fire Relief Fund at Eugene Rotary Charitable Trust, Fire Relief Fund, P. O. Box 1184 Eugene, Or 97440.  And for the Untied Rotary Clubs of Southern Oregon, click here.