BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Workers and volunteers at St. Vincent de Paul were busy Thursday preparing meals, clothing and grocery bags.
The charity organization said that while they spend all year doing such work, the wildfires are creating a larger need across the region, as many fled their homes with nothing but the clothes on their back.
Gary Hewitt, the organization's Bend pantry manager, said the fires are coming at a time with so many already in need.
Really incredible how intensive that can be on top of the COVID," Hewitt said. "And so those two issues combined it’s been really -- we see a lot of emotion here anyway, and this week and other weeks recently, it’s been really bad."
The group said it's starting to serve the needs of fire evacuees, many who are coming in desperate for much-needed supplies like food and clothing.
Conni Slape, who also works for St. Vincent de Paul, said, "We had a woman come in saying she had several children, school-aged children and she needed coats. And of course we’ve only had two cold nights, but already they’re starting to think about that they’re going to need something next week to stay warm."
"I think as the news is getting out more," she said. "People are starting to call in, saying, 'I have some things I can donate. Can I bring them to you?"
The American Red Cross says St. Vincent de Paul is where all who are looking to donate should bring their items. The Red Cross is advising that during the pandemic, supplies should be taken there first, as the charity organization has COVID-19 procedures in place to keep those in need safe.
Hewitt said, "We have two different quarantine rooms, so we’re always filling one and then were emptying the other after a number of days of no new donations going into it. And we’ve had as many as 3,000-4,000 pounds in one room at a time.
"And then we just switch rooms, so it works really well. We’ve been quarantining clothing donations, as well as food donations -- it works very well," he said.