They say, “Times are hard,” but that seems to be an understatement these days as the dreadful moniker appears to be in full force more than usual. Rising gas, groceries, and housing prices have left many hardworking people in unfortunate binds with seemingly nowhere to turn for help.

Thankfully, for Salem residents, there are shining beacons of light during these challenging times in the form of many local non-profits, each of which offers numerous resources and services, along with helping hands, for those in need within the community.

Helping Hands Resources

1755 13th Street SE, Salem

These helping hands in Salem are found at the aptly named Helping Hands Resources. The non-profit organization gathers donated clothing, bedding, hygiene, and household items and provides them to anyone in need at no charge. The operation is supported by grants from foundations, endowment funds, and cash donations from local area businesses, service clubs, churches, and individuals. Of course, none of it would be possible without the help of the center’s current volunteers, who are always happy to accept an extra pair of helping hands for those interested in joining them in making a difference.

Salem Non Profits
Those in need of clothes, bedding, household, hygiene, and various other products are welcome to stop by Helping Hands Resources, where they’ll get 30 minutes to browse the shop for a bag’s worth of items, all at no cost. Photo courtesy: Helping Hands Resources Community

Those looking to take advantage of their services are welcome to come in and shop from 9 a.m. until noon Monday through Thursday and Saturday. They simply ask that you provide appropriate identification so that a Shopper’s Card can be issued. Once issued, shoppers can spend 30 minutes browsing the center’s extensive collection of teen and children’s clothing, backpacks, bedding, towels, blankets, housewares, books, toys, and hygiene kits.

In addition, Helping Hands Resources also offers a number of outreach programs to clients, including a Clothes That Work service to provide individuals with clothing items for job interviews, Work Wear, which is a service intended to give clients clothing for newly secured entry-level jobs, and Restart Resources, which is an outreach program for individuals and families who have been displaced from their homes and are settling back into housing.

Salem Non Profits
For over 50 years, the Center for Hope and Safety has been helping women in need within our Salem community, all made possible by a committed group of volunteers. Photo courtesy: Center for Hope and Safety

Center for Hope and Safety

605 Center Street NE, Salem

Salem women who are victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking can receive protection and security at the Center for Hope and Safety. The agency has offered women safe refuge and support since 1973, initially starting as a group of community volunteers who organized a rape crisis line.

Since then, the organization has transformed and expanded, offering five support groups in English and Spanish in urban and rural Marion County, along with a shelter to house those in need of their services. Today, anywhere from 250 to 500 adults and children reside in their shelter each year, and they’ve provided more than 140,000 nights of accommodation to those seeking refuge.

None of this could ever be possible without the help of volunteers, as they are the backbone of the crisis line and shelter services, assisting in support groups and direct agency policies. Those looking to get involved and lend a helping hand for their safe space are welcome to donate their time, goods, or funds. Those needing their services are welcome to call their 24-hour hotline at 503.399.7722, which provides daily advocacy, safety planning, and shelter screening.

The center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., where individuals can meet one-on-one with staff advocates to get the support and safety they need, and they’ll also connect these individuals to other local resources in the area for further assistance beyond their walls.

Salem Non Profits
There’s no place like home, and volunteers of Family Promise of the Mid-Willamette Valley work to ensure that families never have to go without one. Photo courtesy: Family Promise of the Mid-Willamette Valley

Family Promise of the Mid-Willamette Valley

1055 Edgewater Street NW, Salem

Delivering life-saving services in the form of prevention, shelter, and stabilization to families in need is Family Promise of the Mid-Willamette Valley. The organization has been dedicated to mobilizing the community to end family homelessness with a unique approach, offering a comprehensive support system to empower families to regain stability and thrive since 1999.

 Through this approach, they can tackle the issue holistically, providing prevention services before families reach crisis, shelter and case management when they become homeless, and stabilization programs to ensure these families maintain independence once they have secured housing.

To date, they have served thousands of individuals and over 2,000 families with children within the Salem community. Last year alone, the organization helped families with nearly 400 children. These families were housed successfully and could maintain these homes, reflecting a 98% success rate of assisting families to build a life of self-sufficiency.

Salem Non Profits
Pantry volunteers for Marion Polk Food Share ensure that each visitor gets the groceries they need to have a well-stocked pantry of their own at home. Photo courtesy: Marion Polk Food Share

Marion Polk Food Share

1660 Salem Industrial Drive NE, Salem

Working to end hunger and its root causes throughout Marion County is Marion Polk Food Share. The organization distributes nutritious food for individuals and families to more than 100 local partners, including food pantries and meal sites. In addition, they also deliver Meals on Wheels to homebound seniors and adults with disabilities.

To provide for those in need, they operate their own urban farm and support a network of community gardens that connect people and their food. Currently, the organization supports a network of more than 50 gardens in Marion and Polk counties, including gardens with plots available for rent, allowing those interested in gardening without the space to have one of their own. Each garden is supported by a dedicated volunteer garden coordinator who can help such individuals get started. Those looking to support a garden are welcome to donate funds, supplies, or their time and skills to help them with their more extensive projects, such as hauling wood chips or soil, building new garden beds, or planting large crops.  

Yes, times are hard, but thankfully, they don’t have to be, thanks to local non-profits like these here in Salem. These are just a few of many within the region, each demonstrating an unwavering commitment to Salem’s residents’ well-being. These helping hands stretch out into the darkness, looking to shine a light on those in need within the community.

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