COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE AT WORK
Stuck by Circumstances
I received a call today from Sheriff Roberts who was working with a family of 5 originally from Italy (this year they moved to my understanding) now living in California. The family came to Oregon for a funeral and got “stuck” by circumstances here in Clackamas.
Sheriff Roberts was able to get them a hotel for the night and we gave them a $100 VISA for gas and a Fred Meyer card for food for the drive home and day.
Chaplain Mike Vermace
Shining God’s Hope in a Time of Despair
Yesterday we had a fatal house fire. The homeowners (husband and wife), were safe outside the burning structure, but the wife re-entered the house to try to save her cat. She died in the fire. The surviving husband had to be physically restrained to prevent him from becoming a victim also. When I got to him he wanted nothing to do with me, most likely because I was associated with the firefighters that kept from going back in the house.
Eventually he accepted a quilt to cover up, as he only had on a t-shirt and shorts. While the Red Cross was assisting him, I ran to Fred Meyer and got him some shoes and pants. Fred Meyer gave us additional discounts for the purchase which allowed me to keep it on one Community Fund Gift Card. I took him to one of his church leader’s home where they scooped him up and provided loving support. I ended my time with him in a time of prayer, of which now he was very receptive.
All this to say how thankful I am that we can provide this ministry.
Chaplain Joel Peterson
Much Needed Phone Time
I had just returned home from church and lunch when one of our Sherwood officers called and asked me about gift cards.
Larry (not his real name), who looks to be in his late 40s has been out of prison since 2015. Owing to significant mental health concerns he has been homeless ever since. Aside from the backpack and duffle bag, one wouldn’t jump to that conclusion, however. He is clean, clean-cut, shaved; he hasn’t ravaged himself with drugs as have so many in his situation. He did look confused; possibly a little frightened.
Larry’s only trusted lifeline seems to be his therapist in Hillsboro. After sleeping in the woods last night near St Frances Catholic Parish and waking up disoriented, he wandered into the church.
It turns out what Larry needed most was the means to add minutes to his phone, so he could touch base with his therapist and ascertain his next move. We explained the gift card should have plenty for that purpose as well as enough to get some food. Unless his therapist has a different plan for him, he will be welcomed at the Shelter on the Parish property this evening.
Just thought I would let you know how you helped someone out today. As we sent Larry on his way, my officer (who grew up in church but no longer “darkens the door” as goes the phrase) asked where that gift card came from. So proud to tell him about the PSC Board and all you do to make moments like this possible. Thanks for backing us up in such tangible ways.
Grace and peace,
A Blown Tire Ruins a Family’s Day Trip
A Sheriff’s Deputy came upon a family traveling to Mt Hood last weekend – a blown tire destroyed the plans for this family’s day trip – the deputy realized that this family had no means replace the tire and were essentially stuck on the mountain. The Deputy called Chaplain Vermace who put this family back on the road after using a PSC Community Assistance gift card to buy the much-needed tire. The family was thankful for the kindness will hopefully use their story to help us spread God’s message of hope through caring for others.
Thank you Clackamas County Deputies for thinking of PSC, and thank you Chaplain Mike for sharing this story of God’s Grace.
A Glimmer of Hope to the Hopeless
A glimmer of hope to the hopeless and a brighter ending because of the compassion of the cops and their chaplain partners. The PSC Community Fund provides a glimmer of hope to the hopeless and lets the light of Christ shine brightly.
The comments below come from the Beaverton Police Department Sergeant’s Log in his briefing notes from yesterday–“Sergeants Comments:
“Very busy day. Officers made several self-initiated arrests throughout the day. Ofc. arrested a male for DV Assault IV, who threw his wife down and hit her in the face in front of their children – it was the oldest child’s 9th birthday today. Sad deal, but Ofc. did a great job with the investigation, and getting resources to the mom and kids. Chaplain McGuire also provided a stuffed animal and $50 gift card to the little girl for her birthday, since the parents said they didn’t have resources to buy her anything or celebrate.”
Another Good Ending to a Tough Story
Chaplain John Karay, of the Milwaukie Police Department, ran into a situation where a woman was taking the step of leaving a very abusive relationship. While the abuser was away, she worked a plan to move out of the home. Chaplain John and Milwaukie PD recognized the need, and in addition to walking beside her through this most difficult time – provided a PSC Community Assistance Fund Gift Card to help the victim with her transition.
Community Assistance During the Eagle Creek Fire
Assigned to the Emergency Operation Center in Troutdale in response to the Eagle Creek Fire, I was tasked with helping find a way to get some gas cards into the hands of folks stranded by the fire who needed assistance. Several of these individuals and family units were from the East side of the Gorge and could not get back to places like Cascade Locks because of the evacuation.
I was asked one evening if I might be able to assist a couple and the lady’s brother (all of whom are deaf). They were trying to get home to Cascade Locks from a trip they had taken a few days before the fire started – I think they were camping because they had no idea the Gorge was a raging blaze until they got to where I-84 was shut down completely with signs indicating why. Turning around towards the Glen Jackson bridge with plans to take WA-14 home instead, they realized they did not have enough gas or money to do so. Somehow, they found out about the Red Cross shelter in Troutdale but they had no gas and no real idea where the shelter was. I drove to the station where they were just off I-205 and the only way to communicate with them was paper and pen. They were shocked about the wildfire, worried about their home and their old outside cat still in Cascade Locks. They hadn’t eaten much since leaving for home, were out of money, food and water. They had no GPS even (they only use their phones as internet devices via Wi-Fi) so they followed me to the shelter. Long story short, the Public Safety Chaplaincy gift card I gave them helped them get home, and this chaplain and the Red Cross were able to get them fed, hydrated, and rested a day or two before anyone was allowed to return to Cascade Locks.
A day or so later, I received a text message with a picture of a very frightened but very much alive cat, with a thank you. There were quite a few other “God” things that happened between that first night and my last contact with them, and several great citizens that stepped up to assist this group. I was privileged to watch God at work, and am grateful for the card PSC provided me that helped them on their way. I don’t know about their personal relationship with the Lord, but the lady did acknowledge to me that she felt God protected and took care of them, and that she was thankful to him for what I was able to do to help.
Thank you so much, Merry Christmas!
Needed Lodging For a Night
Today I was asked to assist an officer with an elderly lady who had been evicted from the room she was renting. No family or friends were available tonight and she had limited income.
One of the Public Safety Chaplaincy Community Assistance Fund Visa cards provided her with lodging for a night and an opportunity for her to regroup with some friends to find a new place tomorrow.
“Thank you” from Sarah (not her real name), and with tears she gave me two long hugs as she could not believe the police would help her.
Chaplain Kevin Smith
A Little Boy’s New Shoes
It’s simple. One of our support volunteers (a Firefighters wife) while handing out gifts at the Fire Department toy drive noticed a little boy’s shoes, they had holes and appeared to be the wrong size. That’s when she learned about the gift cards available through PSC and was able to connect the little fellow to Fred Meyer’s shoe department.
Joel Peterson, Master Chaplain
Serving Those That Serve
Lake Oswego Police Officers used a $100 gift card to assist an elderly lady
She is unable to pay for the treatment of recent medical issues and her income leaves very little to live on once rent is paid. The officers have connected her with local resources hoping to alleviate some of her financial burdens in the coming months. Until that happens, the gift card from the Community Assistance fund will provide her with groceries. The woman told officers, she’ll be able to buy enough food to get her through the next two months.
Recently you may have received information about gift cards from a donated fund, through the Public Safety Chaplaincy. The cards are intended to allow Law Enforcement Personal and Public Safety Chaplains the ability to help a person in need.
This week, one of the cards was put to use by the Forest Grove Police Department. Chief Janie Schutz informed us that one of the $25 was offered to an elderly woman.
“The woman was in the early stages of dementia and had travelled by Greyhound bus from Oklahoma to Oregon in order to visit a disabled daughter in Hermiston. She took a cab from there to Forest Grove hoping to have a long-estranged husband help her out financially. He declined. We were able to locate a stepson in Hillsboro who would keep her for the night with the goal of putting her back on a bus to Oklahoma. I told her to use the gift card to buy some food for the trip.”
Thank you Forest Grove Police Department, for considering and using this new resource to help this person.
Public Safety Community Assistance Fund
The Public Safety Community Assistance Fund provides funding to individuals and families in need through your generous directed donations. Established in 2016 in partnership with local Police and Fire Departments, our Chaplains and Officers within their areas of ministry can provide immediate monetary assistance “in the field” whenever an emergency need is recognized. Your donation helps the victim of domestic violence who is in need of local shelter, or a family who cannot afford to purchase necessities for a child – all donations go to directly to those who need it most.
Local Police and Fire Departments rely upon our Community Assistance Fund to meet community needs through the distribution of prepaid Visa and Fred Meyer Department Store gift cards. The program provides a simple avenue for officers in the field to provide immediate help. The purpose of this program is to provide a bridge between officers and chaplains with the communities they serve. All donations to this program go directly back to our local communities to positively impact the lives of those who need it most.