Trillium Sends A Winning Hand

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Date: Friday, May 8 2020
 Trillium Gift Goes Straight to Family Success
Sharing in CDC recommended fashion, Trillium's Debi Farr and Michael Yoshioka, Youth and Family Services Director for St. Vincent de Paul.

Trillium's Debi Farr showed up at the First Place Annex May 7, brandishing a handful of 56 Walmart gift cards. Valued at $35 each, the cards were sent by Trillium’s parent company, Centene, to assist with the COVID-19 response in the 26 states where Centene offers Medicaid plans.

That includes Oregon where Debi Farr and her colleagues contemplated the windfall. The number of cards issued was based on the size of local Trillium membership.

“We wanted to work with organizations that help unhoused individuals, families, youth… and especially families with children,” she said. “St. Vincent de Paul was a natural. We know you’ll put them to good use.”

Early in the COVID-19 emergency, families in the First Place Night Shelter were stationed at the Annex 24-7 for easier access to homeschooling technology, and to achieve as much social distancing as possible. Nineteen families with children under 18 – 70 souls -- have access to meals and snacks, restrooms with showers, laundered clothing, and the spacious playground. Tutors help kids and adults alike with studies. A child care program allows parents and kids some space. Meanwhile, the steady drive of First Place clients toward permanent housing continues.

At the Annex, the Walmart gift cards will be used by families to purchase items ranging from infant formula to helmets and locks for bicycles, according to SVdP Youth and Family Services Director Michael Yoshioka. Bicycle safety is especially important for young adults balancing the needs of their children with their own endeavors toward career development and housing attainment. As the boss, he ensures that every expenditure from the Trillium gift will be linked to family success. Purchases are made online and delivered to the Annex in keeping with best practices for COVID-19.

"It is amazing how impactful just one single $35 gift card can be to breaking down barriers for an individual family during these trying times," Michael said.