Swallowing your pride and asking for help with basic needs is not easy. Yet thousands in Portland must do it every day. In the PACS food pantry, health clinic and thrift store, the goal is not simply to meet basic needs for struggling families, but to give a little bit of dignity back to each person in the process, as Christ did. It is a vital step in the process of empowerment and inspiration that these individuals need to get back on their feet.
Helping Paul see again
Paul was a hard worker. Since
high school, he had never been unemployed for long. But one day, that all
changed. First, he was in an accident that left him temporarily unable to
work. Then, the loss of income led to a worsening of his diabetes.
“The amount and types of food I was able to consume was not
really great for the diabetes side of it, it was all rather starchy,” he said.
Finally, his diabetes began to affect his eyesight, until
one day, he realized he was rapidly going blind.
“I was having a lot of trouble seeing anything at all,” he
said. “I was frustrated, depressed, and
feeling the weight of the world and trying to get back to where I was, but
things were not happening the way I anticipated.”
With no income and no health insurance, Paul decided getting
disability benefits was his only hope. But when he contacted a lawyer seeking advice
on the process, the lawyer told him
about the PACS Health Clinic, and he decided to check it out.
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“It was awesome!” he said. “They got me right in and signed me
up for the Oregon Health Plan. They were able to get me in pretty quickly to
Dr. Malos to get control of my diabetes.”
The clinic also referred Paul to an eye doctor. Today, Paul
had surgery on his right eye to have a cataract removed. The initial results
are good, and now, for the first time, Paul
is hopeful that he might regain his sight. He’s not sure how much damage
was done to his other eye, but says even getting full vision back in one eye
would make all the difference.
“That would be awesome!” he said. “I would be able to go
back to work and do everything that I was doing prior to this complication in
Paul shudders to think where he’d be if it weren’t for people
like you who help struggling people with food and health care access. “I
wouldn’t be doing so hot,” he said. “I definitely would probably be completely
Instead, Paul is
living proof of how meeting someone’s basic needs can turn their whole life
around. He now has hope, and wants to share it with others. “I hope to live
a productive life for society and be there for other people,” he said. “Since I’ve been down on my luck, there have
been a lot of people around me that were there for me to help me out, so I’d
like to be able to be there for other people."
“I don’t think I’d ever before worked in an environment
where I felt like everybody liked me,” said PACS volunteer Bill Leissner.
“It’s really quite heavenly, literally, to be able to go to
a place where you know that people appreciate you, and they’ll go out of their
way to appreciate you, and if you stick around long enough, you know it’s not a
Bill credits his time at PACS for helping him rediscover his
workplace skills and sense of self-worth, but the process of getting there
wasn’t free of challenges.
Prior to 2001, Bill had always held down a job. He had shot
3500 rolls of film as a professional photographer in Austin, Texas. He had worked
as a Network Administrator in New York. But shortly after the terrorist attacks
of September 11, 2001, Bill experienced a mental health crisis. While he had
relocated to Vermont a few months before that event, he had multiple friends
who were impacted, including a firefighter who lost his life after going into
one of the towers multiple…
2017 PACS DINNER & AWARD PACS just had their 13th Annual Awards Dinner
& Auction. The night raised almost $106,000 which $10,000 was through the
Silent Auction. The funds raised helps struggling families with basic needs
like food and health care. Dr. Clifford Walters of the Walters Family
Foundation gave the keynote address. The Barbara Nelson Award was presented to Dr. Rodica Malos
for her long-standing and tireless ministry as a volunteer provider for the
PACS Health Clinic. The story behind the Barbara Nelson Award is in honor and
remembrance of Mrs. Barbara Nelson. Barbara exemplified
unbounded enthusiasm, leadership and vision for a better community. She was
the executive of PACS from 1989 to 1993 where she established the PACS Health
Joyce Jordan, who is a volunteer and has worked all over
PACS but is currently volunteering in Food Pantry received the Director’s
Award. The Director’s Award is a combination of many things from length of
volunteering at PACS to putti…
The PACS Health Center project continues to move forward with facility renovations, benefiting most recently from a major grant of $75,000 from the Portland Development Commission (PDC).
The area for the building addition was excavated in February, thanks to a donation of services by John Jones Construction. The foundation was poured in April, and volunteers have nearly completed the removal of sheetrock and other interior debris from the existing facility.
The next steps involve the last bits of interior demolition, then the removal of the brick wall on the front of the existing structure, which will open it up to the addition. Once that wall is gone, framing on the addition will commence and the building will begin to take it's new form.
PACS already operates a primary care health clinic for low-income individuals in its current facility, which it shares with the Food Pantry and the Thrift Store's apparel department.
When complete, the Health Center will provides a dedicated…