LOVEfirst hiring workers to help fire victims; community continues to band together

If you want to apply, here's how.

Posted: Apr 13, 2021 2:03 PM
Updated: Apr 13, 2021 7:01 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- LOVEfirst Disaster Relief recently opened nine humanitarian positions to assist Holiday Farm Fire survivors gain access to resources through the recovery plans rebuilding process. Until this point, their relief site has been 100% volunteer-run. This is where survivors can access food, clothing, furniture and other items needed.

The Holiday Farm Fire destroyed more than 173,000 acres and more than 400 homes.

Adam Burner, LOVEfirst & Antony Abel, resident of Blue River and wildfire survivor

Adam Burner is the co-founder and secretary of LOVEfirst.

“At six and 20 months, survivors are at their most vulnerable," Burner said. “So having this help arrive at this point is really crucial and going to help us continue into their individual long-term recoveries.”

Positions consist of a Humanitarian Coordinator, Humanitarian Administrator and Humanitarian Director -- to name a few. Hires will work on-site and upriver.

“We're staffing the Blue River Library, and we're hoping to also bring a food pantry up there which will also include goods, treats and toys for animals -- which have been a big help to survivors,” Burner said.

They are eager to fill these positions that were made possible through Lane Workforce Partnership.

Funding was granted through a Dislocated Worker Grant awarded to the State of Oregon from the Department of Labor. It was a $5 million grant, and LOVEfirst will get $800,000 of that. It's a 2-year grant to fund nine positions.

They hope to fill the positions within the month, and more details about the positions will be posted on their website soon. If you are interest in applying, email or submit your resume HERE

“Over the last seven months, our goal has always been to serve the wildfire survivor,” Burner said.

Nimrod resident Andi Metz and her friend, Lynn Hill, lost nearly everything. However, as they put it, the community has truly come together.

“I've met more people from this fire that live up there and I've made more connections and friends than I ever have before,” Metz said. “I've lived here my whole life.”

Blue River resident Lynn Hill agreed.

“It's hard to say you need help,” Hill said. “It's hard, and this is one of the situations where a lot of people are saying it.”

They said excavators, electricians and so many others who have stepped up to help tremendously -- including Sheds of Hope, LOVEfirst and Valor Family Farm. However, there are so many more names, even those who choose to remain anonymous.

“We're really grateful, because I mean, I lost everything,” Metz said. “It's just gone. So, any little tidbit of a flower bloom or anything that just symbolizes that we are going to come back -- and we are.”

Metz said it’s important to be respectful and careful when you go up the McKenzie because many are still hurting inside and healing.

KEZI also spoke to Valor Family Farm.

“When the fires started, we said we need to at least replace people’s Elderberry plants they purchased last year and let them know they can get a free one. Then we decided to go a little further and provide trees to anyone who lost trees.”

Valor Family Farm still have several trees available for those who wish to replant. You can stop by their Springfield nursery for your free tree.

“The main thing is that even through tragedy, there's still many things to look forward to. Even with our Elderberry trees, some people didn't buy them last year because they didn't have full sun to put them in. They are able to have that now.”

LOVEfirst is also collecting items for a Stuff the Trailer fundraiser. They’re asking for clean clothing and bedding -- but no mattresses. The team will drive to Portland on April 17 to exchange the items in a “pay by the pound” format. The money collected with help toward the organization's goals of meeting the needs of survivors.

If you have items to donate, you can drop them off at LOVEfirst from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. until Friday.

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