City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

LOCAL Generosity

Creative Energy Helps Meet Needs of the Community

When Julie Poulin moved from Vermont to Bend in 2017 with her husband and two children, she brought with her a passion for helping others. “I’ve volunteered and been involved with a variety of nonprofits for the last 15 years — fundraising, event planning and as a member of the board of directors.”  As she was volunteering locally, someone in the community happened to mention the gaps that existed in helping organizations get the exact supplies they needed. So, in 2019, Julie created Bend Gives as a way to fill those gaps. “The purpose of Bend Gives is to support existing nonprofits working with children in Central Oregon by communicating current needs and facilitating the collection of these items,” she says.

Julie wanted to ensure that resources were being allocated in a really effective way. For example, she would notice that one organization had a stockpile of items urgently needed by another organization. “In the short time that Bend Gives has existed, I’ve been able to communicate with the community and help secure donations for organizations such as Family Access Network, Every Child Oregon, Furnish Hope, The Giving Plate, Hope’s Closet and  KIDS Center,” she says. And due to COVID-19, the need is greater than ever.

Bend Gives focus is not just on arbitrarily gathering donations, but getting those that will be put to immediate use. In order to do this, Julie spends a lot of time speaking with people in various organizations to find out what’s missing right now so she can help fill that gap. “What I love, and what is so wonderful about Bend, is that many of the nonprofits work together to fill needs, which I think is beautiful,” she says. “It makes for a better distribution of resources.” Julie often posts on the Bend Gives Facebook page and on Next Door in order to get the message out about what different charities need. She offers porch pick-ups, or people can drop off donations at West Coast Provisions in NW Crossing.  “Bend Gives wouldn’t be possible without all the folks in this generous community who answer the call to help children and families in Central Oregon,” she says. “It’s very rewarding and fulfilling, and I’m sending the message loud and clear to my children that we give back. That’s one of our family values.” Facebook/ BendGives

  • Julie Poulin