By editorial board • 

Further coordination can improve already robust service community

For several years, a group of volunteers associated with McMinnville churches worked together to provide shelter during times of extreme cold. Known as C-WISH, the effort was discontinued this year after the group decided expansion the Yamhill County Gospel Rescue Mission should suffice.

However, as a story last week noted, the mission’s expansion to 35 beds still leaves it well short of being able to serve the total count of people left out in the cold without benefit of heated and insulated shelter.

Perhaps the role C-WISH played was too much taken for granted. It required an investment in organization, coordination and support that can be hard to sustain.
We tend to lavish praise on our charitable nonprofits, which depend on managers and volunteers driven by compassion for their fellow men and women. And rightfully so.

The agencies strive to communicate as best they can to connect people coming through their doors with services available in our community. But we wonder if there is a need to take a greater step in that direction.

The phasing out of C-WISH clearly left a gap that needs filling. It represents an example of how a service that seems simple to many, arranging for an empty room where the homeless can escape the elements long enough to warm body and soul, can require a high level of concerted effort — one that is not fully appreciated, perhaps, until it’s gone. 

A pooling of resources is typically the best way to effectively address issues faced by people in need in Yamhill County. This is already occurring on many levels, extending out to tap churches, nonprofits, schools, the business community, public safety agencies and local government departments of health, housing and more.

There’s no doubt this is a community full of care. It wants to see the hungry fed, the cold warmed, the jobless employed and the homeless housed.

In the spirit of striving to always do better, we pose the question, what gaps are we facing in the local service network and how can we go about filling them?

In the meantime, here’s hoping for a quick solution to the one that has already come to light — a lack of winter warming and shelter facilities.

After all, the chill of winter is far from over. The inevitable spring thaw is not yet in sight.

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