Winter Holidays, such a wonderful time of the year, so many gathered together all for the same purpose, to share the joy. To many this is the best time of the year, so much to celebrate, so many reasons to gather and spend time with our loved ones. But what happens when this time of the year is not a reason for joy? What happens when our loved ones aren’t close by or no longer around? While for many this may not be the case, many people out there are in this situation. The holiday season is not something that brings joy but more so it serves as a reminder of how lonely we may feel. This feeling of loneliness can be due to many reasons, too many reasons to name for some, but we would hope that someway, somehow, a reason for joy, even if small, can be found.
Here at 211Info, we have many resources in our database that would hopefully help make this holiday season a better one for many. Whether it is a food box, a Christmas box, or a meal, a place to spend the night and find shelter. A reminder that there is someone out there who cares, who wants to listen, someone who can lend a helping hand. Sometimes that is all we need, someone to talk to, someone who can remind us that not all is bad with the world and that if we are open to looking for the good, we may find it.
While many of our departments are only available during traditional business hours, our main line, which you can call and inquire about many different needs and topics, is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. On this line you can ask anything from “what is the nearest food pantry to me?” or inquire about possible local organizations that may be able to assist you with your electric bill or rent assistance. Around this time some organizations offer Christmas food boxes or possibly Christmas gifts for children. If you are in the position to donate to this cause or any other, we may have some names of local organizations so you can make your donation to help someone in need.
This year, we handled 836 contacts for holiday gifts and toys and 1099 contacts for holiday meals or baskets!
The 2022 holiday season provided multiple opportunities for community service and outreach in Eastern Oregon.
On Thanksgiving, Joshua, our Eastern Oregon Community Engagement Coordinator, worked with Community Fellowship Dinner of Hermiston (https://www.facebook.com/CommunityFellowshipDinnerHermistonOR) alongside several dozen volunteers, serving traditional Thanksgiving dinners (with all the fixings) to over 1400 folks in and around Hermiston from the kitchen of Hermiston High School.
On December 14th, Maternal and Child Health Coordinator, Gaby, and Joshua returned to Hermiston High to do outreach in Spanish and English at the annual posada esencial de la comunidad event, distributing comics, coloring books & crayons to kids (and information about social services to their parents). The event was well attended and featured food, dancing, pinatas & live music.
Christmas provided another opportunity for community service, this time in Pendleton where Joshua volunteered with Pendleton Community Action Coalition, serving up 600+ to-go meals to families in Pendleton, Pilot Rock & The Umatilla Reservation.
Our Community Engagement Coordinator in the Gorge, Meg, also did some volunteering, delivering meals with Gorge Native American Collaborative to natives living along treaty access sites, and with Riverside Church, delivering meals to households in Hood River.
From our staff here at 211, we wish you all a happy holiday season and a happy new year!