In my short time in Oregon, one thing has become abundantly clear: We lack humanitarian resources for the people in and around our communities.

The problems don’t seem to go away; where we may clean one community, it seems the problem just moves to the next one down. This is because we aren’t solving anything by supplying temporary solutions. We may give a homeless man a meal, but he’ll only be hungry tomorrow; maybe shelter him, although everywhere is temporary when you are homeless. We might find a way to alleviate an addict’s vice, but how long could that last without the support of family, friends, and professionals to stand by and help keep them strong. Often this is the case when it comes to all kinds of people struggling. No resources and no support to get back on solid ground.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to forcing many shelters and groups to stop functioning as they were. This is due to restrictions for employees and volunteers, especially in closed environments. Of course, this is obvious, especially how we’ve failed to mitigate the lack of resources. We have been so cooped-up and closed for almost two years, we barely notice the suffering at our doorstep. Day after day, it seems another poor soul is found dead on the Greenway; we see the addicts screaming at themselves; crying out for help, quite literally. We are so numb to it. This is not normal, natural, or fair to them, us, or our society.

My hope for this short article is to rase awareness towards the growing need for programs and resources to help pull people out destitution. There is a need for drug counselors, shelter programs, rehabilitation programs, and housing for homeless Americans. We need interested caring people to build programs to influence people to get help, get healthy, and continue to help other in the same way. That’s the key; it’s just you and me finding ways to pitch in. The problems we face today are complex and far to nuanced for someone like me to cover with detail, but I do know how big of a difference one person can make. Perhaps more of us getting involved in small ways will give opportunity for the creation of resources, programs, and communities that can make lasting change. If you, like me, are concerned and wonder how you can make a change, the best thing you can do is taking the first step: Find somewhere to get INVOLVED and stick with it! Only we can make a difference with action and ideas! So, get to it.

—Dennis A.