Radical Generosity within Oregon
Oregon Public Broadcasting recently reported that child abuse reports dropped 70% over the span of March, due the lockdown orders for COVID-19. However, this trend is not only in Oregon, but across the country hospitals are seeing more severe child-related abuse cases than ever before.
Safe Families for Children, a nonprofit organization surrounding vulnerable families with caring compassionate community, shifted into action as a result.
Dr. Karen Bergstrom, Safe Families National Regional Director of Western States, read about the decline in reports for abuse. “Child abuse cases weren’t being reported, and that worries everyone in the field of family health,” Bergstrom stated when asked about the matter. “Then seeing the increase in severe child abuse cases at hospitals around the country during the same time help us realize we needed to do something.”
Previously, a partnership with Family Independence Initiative, UpTogether, and the Stand Together Foundation provided $500 to every qualifying Safe Families for Children in the state of Kansas and Oregon. This campaign sparked further generosity to support these vulnerable children, at Safe Families for Children’s Oregon chapters.
However, as the initial grant money dried up, the need continued, so other stepped forward to continue to give grants of their own, showing radical generosity. With the growing concern for those children in isolation on Bergstrom’s mind, and these newly generous gifts from donors, an idea was born—connection grants.
“We knew we were fighting against isolation, not a virus. When families go underwater, they need help not only financially, but relationally. We needed a solution that would bring both of these to those families” Bergstrom explained when asked about the heart behind the idea.
If the family qualified, they were given the grant, as well as a family friend, who was to come along side these hurting parents.
Robin Sanders, inspired by the idea of connection grants, gave generously to propel the idea into motion.
“Connection grants were like boxes put together to help care for and connect with those families. It was just a really warm soft way to support families, so they knew we were here willing to support them through this” Sanders commented when asked about her involvement.
“I just funded it, Safe Families Oregon made the movement and connection happen, and I am so thankful I was able to be a part of it” Sanders added.
Slowly but surely, Safe families Oregon has made a major impact in their community with these connection grants, fighting the isolation caused by the virus and protecting these families.
Bergstrom emphasizes the importance of connection at all times, but specifically during these times.
“The message on this side of the country is that connection is going to protect families more than any other thing we can do. If people feel like they have an advocate, like a connection with someone, then they will more likely to do right by their kids, protecting the children in vulnerable situations” Bergstrom states.
Both Sanders and Bergstrom have emphasized the importance of volunteering and giving in these times to allow Safe Families to continue to support these families. Strictly volunteer based and donor driven, these connection grants were not made possible without the efforts of those willing.
Without the generosity of their donors, and the radical hospitality of willing volunteers, there would be no effort or solution for these children and families in crisis.
“There is this army of compassionate volunteers loving their neighbors, but we need more volunteers, because now more than ever, there are families in crisis” Bergstrom states.
They encourage all who are able to continue to support by volunteering at any chapter or give to propel the cause forward.
About Safe Families for Children
Founded in 2003, Safe Families for Children surrounds families in crisis with caring, compassionate community. As a volunteer-driven nonprofit that provides hope and support to families in local communities, now more than ever, volunteers are needed to protect and care for these families.
Located in 70 cities across the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and beyond, Safe Families is motivated by faith to keep children safe and families intact. With many different volunteer opportunities, one can find many ways to get involved.
For more information, visit our website at https://safe-families.org.