Aug 2021 - ND Club of Portland Helps During the 2021 Emergency “Heat Dome”
ND Club of Portland Helps During the 2021 Emergency “Heat Dome”
By Jack Bergen '77
Editor’s Note – Many of us have experienced extreme weather conditions during the ’21 spring/summer. On the west coast, temperatures soared well above average, and in Portland Oregon temps climbed over 100 degrees for an extended period. Here is what the local ND Club did at the end of June led by senior alum Albert Alter ’69 to help those in need.
Project Background – When the “heat dome” was predicted in late June, Andy Scott ‘09, club president, suggested they do their fan distribution project. Because of the closing of St. Francis Dining hall by the diocese and Covid 19 restrictions to SRO apartment buildings, the club was not able to distribute as in the past. After consulting with Dignity and Peace, the "cooler project" was created in addition to distribution of fans. The cooler project was a hit and greatly appreciated.
Club Is Called into Action - The Notre Dame Club of Portland expanded their emergency fan project to include purchasing 12 box fans and 4 oscillating fans, 200 spray bottle misters for individuals to spray themselves to cool down and 10 coolers for ice, bottle water and popsicles that were restocked twice daily by volunteers from Dignity & Peace.
The project involved collaboration with several existing partner organizations and one new one. Misters were distributed by Blanchet House, St James Lutheran Church, and St. Andre Bessette. Most of the box fans were given to Meals on Wheels for distribution to needed households. Two oscillating fans were given to St. Andre Bessette for use in their church as their HAVC was not operating. St. James Lutheran was also given 2 oscillating fans for use in their Sunday service and two box fans for use by people in their neighborhood.
Ten coolers and money to purchase ice were given to Dignity & Peace. Dignity & Peace grew out of the closure of St Francis Dining Hall to serve the needs of those the dining hall helped. D & P is a mobile van service delivering needed items of clothing, food, shoes, socks, etc. to houseless people where they live.
Volunteers for Dignity and Peace re-stocked each cooler twice per day with 24 bottles of water, bag of ice and popsicles. Only three days into the project 1,500 bottles of water, 60 bags of ice (very hard to find) and lots of popsicles were provided. It was so hot two coolers "melted away" and had to be replaced. Service continued throughout the week.
Member Contributions - In addition to the $500 committed to the project by the club board, the club received 11 donations totaling $620 to support the project. A big “shout-out” to everyone who donated and worked to make this project a success. The service and love continues.
Look Back - From Albert Alter ’69 Community Service Chair, “As I look back on this project, I am proud of what we did so quickly from the initial idea and money to water and ice on the streets. Involving our partners expanded our impact. It all came together and was on the street in about 24 hours. And had greater impact as we worked with partners we have worked with in the past."