Disaster Relief & Mutual Aid

While we continue to fight against the destructive Jordan Cove LNG pipeline, Siskiyou Rising Tide is committed to supporting our community amidst crises such as the coronavirus pandemic and raging wildfires. Our current projects include working on the Rogue Valley Relief Fund and running a mobile warming space called Judi’s Midnight Diner in Medford, Oregon.

Rogue Valley Relief Fund

In the immediate aftermath of the Almeda and Obenchain fires, Siskiyou Rising Tide joined our friends at the Rogue Action Center, Rogue Climate, SOHealth-E and Southern Oregon Equity Coalition to form the Rogue Valley Relief Fund.

With support from the MRG Foundation, the fund is used directly meet the needs of those who have been displaced by fires. In the short-term, we helped buy tents, meals, gas, and other supplies to meet folks’ immediate needs. In the long term, the fund supports people who have lost their homes as they rebuild their lives, prioritizing those who have the least access to aid.

Fire is a traditional part of our local ecosystems, but it is human caused climate change and settler colonialism’s forest mismanagement that are wrecking havoc across the West coast. Since climate change most impacts the communities already marginalized by racial capitalism, including local poor and Latinx communities, we see our mutual aid and disaster relief work as an essential part of climate justice.

Judi’s Midnight Diner

Judi’s Midnight Diner is another way Siskiyou Rising Tide is continuing to support houseless folks in our region as even more people are displaced or living on the streets this winter because of COVID, wildfires, and other crises.

Sustained by grassroots donation and seeded with funding from the Rogue Valley Relief Fund and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Judi’s Midnight Diner offers a mobile warming space at locations throughout Jackson county.

Whether you’re displaced by wildfires, sleeping in a car, or just having a rough night, Judi’s offers a community space for mutual aid, connection, and a cup of coffee. Our heated, three-sided tent is an outdoor space with low risk for COVID transmission.

Judi’s schedule varies depending on the weather forecast. Hit us up at sorisingtide@gmail.com if you’d like to volunteer, or just stop by for a cup of coffee! We also need daytime volunteer help such as meal prep.

You can also support us by donating. Our Venmo is @siskiyou_SN, note “for Judi’s” in the memo. Or check out our Amazon wishlist. Items purchased through Amazon will be sent directly to us, or if you want to support local businesses we’d be happy to arrange a pick-up/drop-off.

Picture of a box truck and heated tent, and a person serving food.
Serving coffee at Judi’s Midnight Diner in Medford, Oregon

Why Do We Care About Mutual Aid?

We live in an era of crises: coronavirus, wildfires, and even the rise of American fascism. The climate crisis ties into these things, and mutual aid is about helping our community weather the current and future impacts of these difficult days and nights.

At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Siskiyou Rising Tide and our friends supported local houseless communities who were subjected to increased police harassment and denied access to public bathrooms. We distributed food and hygiene supplies, and fought against local policies and policing that sought to displace houseless encampments against CDC guidelines. (Check out this piece from NPR’s All Things Considered for a snapshot of this local struggle.)

When the Almeda and Obenchain fires raged throughout Jackson County, Oregon, Siskiyou Rising Tide worked with friends throughout the community to provide mutual aid disaster relief. Countless numbers of people were displaced for days on end, and when we smoked finally cleared we learned that thousands of people had lost their homes.

Grassroots responses to disaster relief are often quicker and more responsive to community needs. While the fires were still burning, Siskiyou Rising Tide helped with supply drives and coordinating mutual aid throughout the area. We were involved in the grassroots disaster relief site at Hawthorne Park, where over a hundred people sought shelter and many more came for needed food, sleeping bags, and other supplies.

Our work with the Rogue Valley Relief Fund and Judi’s Midnight Diner are a continuation of these grassroots efforts. Amidst the heartbreak of so many crises, we’re grateful to build community resilience with you.

If you’d like to donate to the RVRF, you can do so here. Contributions to Judi’s can be made to @siskiyou_SN on Venmo, note “for Judi’s” in the memo. And if you’d considering starting your own mutual aid project — hit us up at sorisingtide@gmail.com. We’re happy to share any lessons learned.

Picture of someone behind a table, serving food to two other people under two canopies.
Hawthorne Park disaster relief camp during the Almeda and Obenchain fires.

Confronting the Root Causes of the Climate Crisis