Life can be hard. Unforeseen circumstances or any number of emergencies can change your life in an instant. We’ve all been in a tight spot in our lives. The lucky among us had someone there to help us stay afloat. But when you feel like you have nowhere to turn, know that you have options.
For example, the Salvation Army is always there to help. Their goal is to meet human needs in God’s name without discriminating. They provide food, shelter, school supplies, and emergency financial assistance for things like rent or medications. They can even provide toys for the holidays to those in need. They will attend to your spiritual needs, too, if you would like. But you are never obligated in order to receive services.
Many area churches also offer different programs. Some run food or clothing pantries, some will house the homeless on cold nights, others provide meals or gifts for holidays. Even if you are not a member of the church, they will welcome you with open arms and let you know what they can assist you with.
If you have school-aged children, talk to their guidance counselor if you need help. They may be able to locate free or low-cost uniforms, assist you with getting free breakfasts or lunches for your child, provide needed school supplies, and connect you with organizations that will help with gifts for birthdays or holidays. There may be a backpack program to help you feed your child when school is not in session on the weekends. The library might even be willing to allow your children to borrow additional books for the summer or on longer breaks to prevent that “summer slide.”
If you require medical or dental care, you also have options. While any hospital will treat you regardless of your ability to pay, that does not mean you will not be saddled with a bill. A QuickCare clinic, like the one offered in the West Salem NorthWest Human Services clinic, will treat you same day for most common ailments. The prices are on a sliding scale based on your family size and income so that you don’t have to worry about whether you can pay.
The Oregon Department of Human Services is a great option for a variety of resources. They provide assistance and information for many different needs. They offer food, child care, and cash assistance. They can help with developmental disability services and assist seniors. If you are looking to help or require foster care services, DHS can work with you on that as well.
The important thing here is to know that you are not alone. Many of the people who volunteer or provide assistance have been in the same situation themselves. All you need to do is ask. It may feel like a wound to your pride to ask for help, but there is no nobility in suffering. It will all be worth it, I promise.