Fr. Don Gutmann, pastor at St. Clare
Fr. Don Gutmann, pastor at St. Clare
St. Clare Parish in Southwest Portland held a drive-up donation drive Aug. 13 in the church parking lot, collecting water, canned foods and toiletries for the people of Warm Springs.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on many. One community especially hard hit during this pandemic is the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. In addition to hardships and struggles associated with the coronavirus spread and subsequent lockdown, the members of the Warm Springs Tribe have also been, for years, dealing with a broken water system and a lack of clean water for drinking, bathing, hand washing and flushing toilets. This problem began 40 years ago with the installation of a faulty water system. Further decline and pipe breaks have led to a boil water requirement during each of the past three summers. All of these hardships are magnified this year with the pandemic and increased reliance on clean water to keep community members healthy and safe.

St. Clare Parish — led by Lynnette Howes, a parishioner, teacher’s assistant and member of the Mount Hood Cherokee Tribe — saw this as an opportunity to show God’s love through service and care for others. The outpouring of support and the spirit of giving were overwhelming for all involved in the August event.

“It is heartwarming to see the outpouring of love, the outpouring of God’s presence through all of those who donated,” said Father Don Gutmann, pastor at St. Clare.

Volunteers collected more than 20,000 pounds of water, food and toiletries, enough to fill two trailers and a truck. Monetary donations totaled $2,445, which helped purchase additional supplies.

“It has been a beautiful journey,” said Howes says.

Learn more

Those interested in donating to continued efforts to support the people of Warm Springs can send checks payable to “St. Clare Church” with “Warm Springs” noted on the memo line. Checks can be dropped off or mailed to the St. Clare parish office (8535 SW 19th Ave., Portland, OR 97219.) St. Clare hopes to hold another drive and will share information on the website – stclarechurch.org.