Central Oregon is a beautiful place to live, but it’s also one with a tight-knit, caring, and compassionate community. As we enter the season of giving in what’s been yet another difficult year for so many, it’s never been more important to be aware of those in need and how we can help lift one another up.
Why do you think it’s important to give back to your community?
As a real estate broker, my community supports me and my business, so I feel that it is important to give back.
Tell us about the organizations you are involved in locally.
I volunteer in many ways. If the Red Cross needs blood, I give blood. I donate annually to Central Oregon Community College by funding a scholarship in the Business Development program for small businesses; they are our future. I serve on the COAR Community Giving board to make sure our donated funds stay local and support a great cause. I volunteer at The Giving Plate making gift boxes for locals in need and have cooked dinner for many at The Bethlehem inn. This year I was also involved in the Central Oregon Veterans Outreach Veterans Village project, a community of transitional shelters designed to provide shelter and services for homeless veterans. A group of us from Re/Max Key Properties were thrilled to help with siding, staining, and finish work.
Do you have a favorite fundraiser that you participate in?
The Giving Plate. I volunteer at The Giving Plate every Friday for about three hours, boxing up food. During the pandemic we fed about 1,000 people a week. It’s really rewarding to be able to give back. I was a single mom, wondering where my next meal would be coming from. I know how that feels.
Central Oregon is a very giving community. Why do you think our hometown attracts such compassionate people?
Central Oregon is a beautiful place to live! Not only is it beautiful, but it is also full of caring and compassionate people who notice each other and care about connecting with their neighbors and community members. When you lift someone up, it lifts you up! We feel that deeply here in Central Oregon. When the pandemic hit, our compassion as a community really was amazing. We show our true colors during times of challenge. I love that about Central Oregon.
Is the holiday season the best time of year to give back?
Everyone wants to give during the holidays and that is wonderful, but to be honest the need is all year long. There are many folks that suffer throughout the year, not just at the holidays. It is important to make giving an ongoing practice, whether through monetary donations or volunteer time. There are so many wonderful organizations that you can get involved in. If you start with a holiday donation, make an effort as you can to keep that giving going throughout the year.
Are there organizations that need extra assistance during the winter months?
Central Oregon Veterans Outreach (COVO). Veterans have done so much for us. I believe it is our duty to try to reciprocate in any way we can. COVO is doing amazing work here locally including getting the Veterans Village transitional housing off the ground, which of course is more important during the cold winter months. They also provide necessities to our homeless veterans and others in need.
How do you encourage your children to get involved in community giving efforts?
I’ve always believed that you lead by example. Show your children by doing. Get them involved in choosing an organization, raising the funds, putting in the volunteer time. It is an important life lesson and a wonderful way to spend quality time together giving back to your community.
If you could only give to five local organizations each year, what would they be?
1. The Giving Plate
2. Bethlehem Inn
3. Central Oregon Veterans Outreach (check out their housing programs)
4. Children’s Miracle Network
5. The Bend Food Project
As a real estate broker, do you have any special giving programs you incorporate into your business?
RE/MAX Key Properties is part of the Children’s Miracle Network. This organization helps children that are mentally and physically challenged. I have a sister that is mentally and physically challenged and so the work they do is important to me.
Where is the best place to go for more information on giving back in Central Oregon?
Volunteer Central Oregon is a great resource for our community to get involved and make a difference.
DEBBIE MARORANO, Broker