Community organizations come together to help those in need

In the parking lot of El Tapatio in Ashland, canopies of tents cover the parking lot. Under each one, a different grouping of donated items to support people who were displaced by the Almeda Fire that ripped through southern Oregon a little over a week ago.

In addition to providing food, toiletries, clothing and other items for those affected by the fires, the relief center at El Tapatio is helping people find semi-permanent and permanent housing.

“My number one priority is not thinking about today, but thinking about what happens in a few months, a few weeks, in years to come,” Yahaira Padilla, who is in charge of the relief center at her father’s restaurant El Tapatio, said. “Because it’s going to take time for our community to heal from all this pain it’s suffering.”

El Tapatio also offers hot food for those in need from 11 am-6 pm in addition to the other services and items provided. Volunteers are also able to bring need items to people who cannot make it to the donation site. Volunteers can help people in a variety of languages including English, Spanish, Russian, Italian and German.

Not far up Interstate 5 in Medford, the Living Waters Church is offering similar help for people who were affected by the fires.

“The purpose of this is to give relief to that so people can use their resources in other places; temporary housing or other needs they might have,” associate pastor Drew Berryesa said. “We’re really working to try and create a space for people can get basic needs met and not have to worry about the cost.”

Donations can be dropped off at the Living Waters Church on Jackson Street from 9 am-5 pm.

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