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Supporting each other with Hands and Hearts

A new program will match resources with specific needs of employees whose lives were upended by the September fires.

The devastation from the September wildfires is fading from the headlines, but 120 Asante employees and their families are still coping with loss. For them, Asante has launched the Hands and Hearts program, a matchmaking service of sorts that helps connect employees with the resources they still need.

Hands and Hearts is more than a passive referral service. It connects Asante volunteers from ARRMC and AACH — many of whom have been sidelined by COVID-19 restrictions — with families in need. The volunteers will contact displaced families to offer assistance from the resources listed in the right column. In addition, teams and departments can “adopt” a family to provide resources, goods and support.

The idea came after the Smullin donation center was closed. The center was vital immediately after the fires, when employees needed essentials such as food and clothing. As time has passed, needs have changed.

“We decided to take a personal approach and adopt employees and their families,” said Julie Hale, Asante’s director of Support Services, who leads the effort along with Volunteer Services supervisor Lorry Shlitter. “We wanted to help these families with their specific needs.” For some, it may be winter coats as the weather turns cold; for others, shovels and equipment for cleanup. Those moving into homes may need household items.

Their needs will be documented and recorded and matched with other willing employees, volunteers and departments that will adopt an employee or family. Essentially, the volunteers will be matchmakers.   

Requests for assistance are sent to Renae Adams in Human Resources and a volunteer, who will reach out to leaders, employees and departments who are willing to adopt and meet the needs of displaced employees. Depending on the needs and requests, the program is expected to last up to a year, but will be reevaluated periodically for effectiveness.

Any employee who has been displaced by the wildfires, who would like to donate needed items or help may call the Volunteer office at (541) 789-5875. In addition, Asante Foundation’s Employee Emergency Relief Fund is still accepting applications.

How they’re helping

Because there are so many agencies better equipped to handle larger requests, this is how Hands and Hearts can help:

  • Community resources
  • The Asante Employee Food Pantry
  • Prepared meals
  • Household items (i.e. dishes, glass wear, towels, etc.)
  • Handyman services (i.e. non-construction services, light repairs, cleanup)
  • Clothing (i.e. scrubs, socks, children’s items, shoes, etc.)
  • Errands
  • Shopping
  • Uber transportation
  • Handmade quilts
  • Interpreter services
  • Conversations of support and encouragement
  • Gift cards
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