by Cindi O’Neil

It is Christmas time and many, many people do not have their home.  It is Christmas time and for many their traditions are lost in the 2020 wildfires.  There are no dreams about where to put the tree, who is coming to dinner, what to buy for the family presents, what china to use, how to decorate, because they have lost everything. Hundreds, if not thousands are still in motel rooms scattered about in towns they do not call home.  Many have lost their ability to return to work.   Many lost their vehicles too.

Since that disastrous September week, when fires burned close to 1 million acres and consumed over 4750 homes, Rotary has been there mobilizing resources to begin the long road to recovery.  We have applied twice and received Rotary International Disaster Relief Grants and put hundreds of individuals back to work by retooling their occupations and returning their dignity.  We leveraged these precious Rotary Foundation dollars two to three times over by publicizing our efforts.   Bravo to the Rotary Clubs of Southern Oregon, the Rotary Club of Lincoln City and the Rotary Club of Springfield for leading and completing these grants!

Rotary Clubs of Roseburg have been there buying Christmas gifts for seventy displaced children from the Archie Creek fire that consumed 109 homes in Glide.  Using Annual Fund dollars leveraged twice through a three-Club District Grant, and partnering with Fred Meyer these 70 children will have Christmas presents.  Rotary Club of Springfield is providing a Christmas dinner, and warm winter coats for over 150 children and adults for those displaced from the Holiday Farm Fire.  These contributions made by the Club and also partially funded by the District 5110 Fire Relief Fund.  Thank you to the Rotary Clubs of Roseburg and Springfield.

Rotary Club members from all around the District, the region, the US, and the world have donated to the District 5110 Fire Relief Fund generously.  We are grateful.  These funds will be used for mid to long-term recovery efforts that are material or sustainable in nature, leveraged by partnering with other entities or agencies.  The District Fire Relief Governing Committee is carefully gathering a needs assessment and releasing funds when requests meet these criteria: a material demonstrated need, leveraged, and sustainable.  But we still need your help. Donations of RV’s, vehicles or funds are desperately needed.  You can donate here:

View a video about the Holiday Farm Fire by Rotarian Jeff Robinson.

If you have not contributed to the Annual Fund of the Rotary Foundation this year, I strongly urge you to do so this Christmas.  These funds have been essential to helping our communities during the COVID 19 crisis and the wildfire crisis.  Contribute here.

With sincere wishes for safe and happy holidays,

District Governor Cindi O’Neil