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A map of southern Oregon counties.

A look at the people and organizations coming together to do extraordinary things for their community during the COVID-19 Pandemic. This series is produced by Julie Akins in partnership with Southern Oregon PBS.

Ep. 12: Groceries for the Community

When the Shelter in Place order began, Chevonne and Darren Johst (owners of the Grocery Outlet Bargain Market in Medford, Oregon) immediately began on working on ways to keep the community fed.

Ep. 11: Recycled Donations

Learn more about the movement where people clean recyclable items in order to donate them to people who have no money and need to recycle to survive. Communities members clean bottles and cans worth a $.10 deposit each to donate to those in need. This is a grassroots effort, organized only by good will.

Ep. 10: The Labor Temple

The Labor Temple of Central Point is collecting food and preparing for a family food drive for its members out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic. They could not do it without the help of their members and community partners and volunteers.

Ep. 9: Camp for the Homeless

A look at how Medford's new camp will help the vulnerable through the pandemic.

Ep. 8: Organic Alcohol Company

A look at how one Ashland company has changed operations to assist vulnerable communities.

Ep. 7: Painting with Josslyn

See how young artist Josslyn Anderson Barton is working to turn her painting talent into help for those in her community.

Visit Josslyn's GoFundMe page HERE.

Ep. 6: Hearts with a Mission

Hearts with a Mission, a home for at risk and unsheltered youth in Medford, OR, faced unexpected difficulties during COVID-19 Pandemic. Fortunately, the community came together to help the organization overcome problems of food shortage, isolation and more.

Ep. 5: The United Community Action Network (UCAN)

The United Community Action Network (UCAN) of Grants Pass is working to house those in need during the pandemic. See how one veteran is off the streets and in his own home in this installment of Southern Oregon Responds.

Ep. 4: Ashland on a Plate

The pandemic has shut down businesses around the Rogue Valley and caused the cancellation of the Britt and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. A group of business people and philanthropists are attempting to create a unique culinary festival to overcome that challenge. It's called "Ashland on a Plate."

Ep. 3: Family Assembly

Southern Oregon Solutions features the Hutchings family of Medford who have converted their home into an assembly line for hand stitching masks during the Coronavirus. The masks are free and constructed through donations of fabric and elastic to the family which cuts, irons, installs filters and stitches them together. In all they've made more than 1,100 masks for people who work in essential services and members of the public who want and need a mask.

The family of six each takes a role in hand sewing these masks as a labor of love and care for the community. "I felt nervous and uneasy when the virus hit," says Gwen Hutchings who came up with the idea, "but when I started doing something to help I felt much better."

The Hutchings family, creating solutions in the midst of the pandemic featured on Southern Oregon Responds with Southern Oregon Solutions.

Ep. 2: Talent Maker City

Talent Maker City focuses on providing high end manufacturing equipment in a creative environment to tackle today's difficult problems. TMC harnesses the talent and knowledge of area engineers, fabricators, builders and designers to collaborate with students to build what the community needs. During the pandemic the group made manifolds and filters for ventilators, personal protection equipment for medical professionals and work on a daily basis to create what products that are needed on a 24 hour turn around.

Talent Maker City wishes to thank its many partners such as Asante and the Cow Creek Band for their generosity and support.

To learn more:

Ep. 1: Solidarity Gardens

On this episode of Southern Oregon Responds, we meet J'amie and Toni, a young couple who love each other and gardening together. As a result they met with a few other people throughout the Rogue Valley who have soil, plant starts and land to assist the process of "Solidarity Gardens." They assist back yard food growers and in exchange only ask that they share their crops with others in their area. They receive no pay and money never changes hands in this casual gift from one person to another. They have so far worked on 15 gardens scattered from Central Point through Ashland.

If you'd like more information on this grass roots association you may contact the reporter.

About the Producer

Julie Akins

Julie Akins is a multi media journalist who has lived in the Rogue Valley for the past 11 years. Her background includes investigative reporting for television stations in Seattle, Tampa, Baltimore and San Francisco. She taught journalism at Southern Oregon University and Emerson College in Boston. Akins continues to contribute as a free lance writer for several publications including Yes! Magazine and Huffington Post and her work has been seen on CNN, NBC Universal and syndicated across the country. Akins has also directed newsrooms in Medford and written for the Medford Mail Tribune and Ashland Tidings. She has been a host of Southern Oregon PBS broadcasts for the past five years and holds dear an interview with Ken Burns for his work on his Viet Nam doc-series.

To make a recommendation for a future feature, please email with the subject line "Southern Oregon Responds" or call 541-200-2053.