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…
Updated 2/4/14: here is the brand presentation video created by Fiction:
Scott and Chrissy Petersen were not sure what to expect when they arrived at the 2009 PACS Awards Dinner & Auction. They entered the room and found their seats. It looked like many of the other charity events they had seen.
But Scott & Chrissy soon realized that PACS wasn't just another organization. They heard the stories of people who were served. They learned about the food pantry model that helps people choose their own food. They learned about the clinic and the doctors that volunteer their time to help uninsured patients maintain their health. They learned about the thrift store where low-income families could purchase food and household goods for as low as $0.25.
Scott, grew up in a community that had a large portion of its population struggling with economic hardship. His family often helped families who were going through difficult times. They would assist with charity events, deliver firewoo…
We hope you had a fantastic Christmas, and we want to wish you a Happy New Year!
As we go into the new year, one important resolution is to continue to help people right here in our own neighborhood who are facing new challenges.
In spite of the improving economy, the a decreasing risk of hunger nationwide, Oregon is proving to be an exception. Here, the rate is actually rising. The number of children threatened by hunger in our state is greater than the population of Eugene. That’s a lot of kids. No child should have to face a day of school on an empty stomach.
A big part of this problem is likely related to skyrocketing rent costs in the Portland area, which are putting new financial strains on families.
PACS helps ease this burden by providing groceries to families who are struggling. Jessica & Mark are the parents in one of these families. They have three daughters, including 7-month-old Mercy. Mark works full-time at a restaurant, but his wages are very low. The family can ra…