So you are interested in what you can do to help out?
Wonderful! Here is a partial list:
Many organizations exist to help children or families, not just with the problems of poverty, but specifically with cases of abuse, neglect, drug issues, etc. Here are a few good ones (all but the first one limited to Oregon) that I am sure would welcome any support you could give them:
Keeping a large fresh blood supply is always important. Even if you have never donated before, you can donate blood (well, unless you fall into one of the excluded categories). Just call your local American Red Cross office.
In Oregon: the Portland office's Blood Donor telephone number is (503) 284-4040. Anywhere in Oregon, you can reach this office by calling 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.
This is of course a perennial problem. One easy way to make a small contribution now (at no cost to you) is to go to the Hunger Site, which speaks for itself.
Despite the fact that an ounce of prevention is almost always less expensive than a pound of cure, people in Oregon often opt to buy the pound of cure instead, perhaps because it seems more viscerally, immediately satisfying. Witness for example the two "hand down harsher mandatory sentences and build more prisons" statewide ballot measures that Oregonians voted into law several years ago. And while this is happening, the places offering an ounce of cure go chronically underfunded.
One such place is the Kerr Early Intervention Program (KEIP). It is administered by Albertina Kerr Centers (AKC).
To quote from their fact sheet, the KEIP "serves up to 60 children, 2-12 years old, and their families by providing social and academic skill building, individual and family counseling and support." KEIP begins working with at-risk kids early, and from all I have heard, it is a really good program of its type. It does not need walk-in volunteers (unlike the other branches of AKC), but does accept designated donations: just attach a note with the money indicating that it is to go to the Kerr Early Intervention Program.
Many people think of donating to charity around Thanksgiving or Christmas, or when a food drive happens in their neighborhoods. Fewer people think of donating to charity when it comes time to get rid of something that they do not want, especially if it is something like a book or a computer. However, there are in fact many many things that could be re-used instead of thrown in the trash.
Here is a starter list. Some of these options are for the Portland, Oregon area and some have broader scope.
In the wake of the school shootings in Springfield, OR in May 1998, the Oregonian ran a list of a few of the Lane County banks and credit unions that were accepting checks to support families and students. Now, years later, I am not sure how many of these programs (if any) are still in operation, but here is the Oregonian's list:
Washington Mutual Bank
5703 Main St.
Springfield, OR 97478
Make checks to the THS Memorial Fund.
Selco Credit Union
P.O. Box 7487
Eugene, OR 97401
(No donation name given.)
Wood Products Credit Union
P.O. Box 297
Springfield, OR 97478
Make checks to Thurston Donation Funds.
If none of the above speaks to your current desires, here are a few more places to look:
Throughout the United States:
To my Front Room
(Last updated 10/3/02002)