A Family Relief Nursery classroom. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

CRESWELL – It’s that time of year, so everyone’s cooking up ways to give back to their community. 

With the help of Creswell First! and other charitable organizations, many local citizens can expect to get plenty of “stocking stuffers” – as well as getting their bellies stuffed – during the holiday season. 

Looking to make a contribution? There are many avenues from which to choose. Need help or know someone in need of help? That’s not a problem, either.  

“This is my third year, and it’s great. It’s so much fun,” Family Resource Coordinator Kathryn Dumas said. 

Each year the Family Resource Center at Creslane Elementary School takes applications from needy families in the Creswell School District and provides food, clothing and other necessities. Applications were due by Nov. 15, but Dumas said late entries will be accepted. 

“We always have a handful of families who submit later,” she said. “We don’t want to turn people away.” 

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Kenneth W. Ford (1908-1997) and his wife Hallie E. Ford (1905-2007) of Roseburg created a meager foundation in 1957 to give back to the small timber communities of southwest Oregon. Thirty-nine years later, the Ford Family Foundation was born, providing scholarship programs and offering grants to projects in rural areas. Training sessions were offered in Cottage Grove and Creswell, and leadership sessions were held.

“I thought that was brilliant, training people how to collaborate and how to use money more effectively,” Creswell Library Director Su Liudahl said. “I was in the second group for Creswell – we had a series of names; the first one was called C2A2, for Creswell Community Action Alliance. It went well for a year, but then it fizzled out. 

“So we came together and said we needed a community organization. And that’s how Creswell First! got started.”

To make a donation, send a check payable to Creswell First! at PO Box 1, go online at creswellfirst.org, or drop it off at the Chamber of Commerce or the Creswell Library. 

“Creswell First! can serve as a starting point for several organizations that don’t want a 501c3, but they want to make good things happen for the community,” Liudahl said. “We can be a resource for them in all kinds of ways. But also financially, we can be their financial umbrella. We’ve done that for a number of other organizations.

“It’s a nice surprise for these organizations to get an unexpected check every year.”

Among the organizations supported by Creswell First! this year: 

Creswell Community Singers

Creswell Clubhouse 

Creswell Education Foundation

Creswell Food for Kids

Creswell Heritage Foundation

Creswell Pantry, Creswell

Creswell Vision Assistance

Public Library Foundation, Family

Relief Nursery of Creswell

The Intergenerational Reading Collaborative