Starting Thursday, Umatilla County residents will have a new way to make donations to local organizations.

Icon City Umatilla County, modeled after a program created by Bend nonprofit, Icon City, uses text messages to inform participants once per week of a needed donation.

The Home for Hope Coalition, which sponsors the program, coordinates with local agencies and nonprofit organizations to identify one pressing need for each week. Marci McMurphy, the program coordinator for the Home for Hope Coalition explained that the emergent need for the week could be furniture for relocated domestic violence victims or blankets for the homeless, but it will never be money.

“As soon as you get money into the mix, it just adds a whole other question,” she said. “We’re not going to be asking them to take money out of their own pockets. If they have an extra table, that’s what we’re looking for. If they have an extra bed, that’s what we’re looking for.”

If users want to donate, they reply to the text with “GIVE.” Soon after replying, the users will be contacted by the Home for Hope Coalition to arrange a time for someone to pick up their donation.

The donation used to fund the program came as a bit of a surprise for the coalition.

“The Myer Memorial Trust came to Umatilla County to talk to area agencies about what was working,” McMurphy said. “They invited Head Start, CAPECO, the Warming Station, Home for Hope - they all spoke. [After the meeting] they sent a $2,500 check to all the agencies saying ‘thanks for talking to us.’”

McMurphy said that Home for Hope had been interested in setting up a text message-based donation service similar to Bend’s Icon City program but didn’t have the funding.

“The Home for Hope Coalition chose to create and sponsor the service after gettting a check for $2,500,” she said.

The coalition plans to send out the first text message donation request on Thursday.

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