Volunteers from Our Lady of the Mountain Conference support Ashland and Talent needy, and volunteers from Shepherd of the Valley Conference support Medford and Central Point needy. In 2023, 1,387 individuals were served.
Camp Site Home Visit
Alice Nagel and Charlotte Dorsey were the “on duty” volunteers at Our Lady of the Mountain Conference when they received a telephone message requesting they visit a family living at a campground near Ashland. This conference serves the less fortunate primarily through home visits. This is Charlotte's account:
When we arrived at the park we met Denise, Warren and their baby daughter, Felicia, all living in a secondhand two-person tent. We all sat on a nearby park bench and began to collect the family’s story. They had traveled to Oregon on a Greyhound bus, carefully bringing the minimum belongings that they expected they would need, and that would be allowed by the limiting bus weight requirements. This restricted them to basic clothing for the family and the core needs for the baby. We learned that their primary motivation for coming to Oregon was the promise of a building maintenance job for Warren. This was particularly good news because they had just been evicted from a foreclosed rental property without any advance notice.
Alice and I listened carefully to the couple’s story, using the skills all volunteers are trained to use. As always, we were mindful that what needs to be understood often lies just beneath what is being said. The couple told a lengthy and heartfelt story. It felt like we were interviewing a modern day "Grapes of Wrath" family. Unfortunately, the building maintenance job had been given to another person so the discussion focused on potential jobs plus rental possibilities. At the end of the first visit the couple indicated they could use some food and diapers which we retrieved from the trunk of Alice’s car. United Way had already paid for two weeks of camping space.
However, in a few days the weather soon turned ugly. It started raining and the nights became quite cold. In addition, a trip to Ashland was a twelve mile walk round trip. It was apparent it would be better for the family if they could move indoors, and be closer to job resources. We subsequently secured motel space for them in Medford near SVDP. Within a week, a very affordable clean apartment was located on a main bus line. We secured payment of the deposit and first month’s rent. A few days after moving in, the family celebrated Felicia’s first birthday. Now they are focused on securing jobs so they can become self sufficient.
If you’ve met Alice and me you understand our dedication to helping. I’ve been doing home visits for eleven years, and Alice for seven. It brings us great joy to do this work. We felt deeply committed to this young family from the very first home visit. We clearly understood many of their needs and saw many of the challenges ahead. We’ve kept the family in our prayers, did additional visits as needed, and assisted them along their way. It has been clear all along that things were going to work out for them. We’ve been doing home visits long enough to see the patterns and witness the frequent miracles.
We both see doing home visits as a calling, a vocation.