Beavercreek groups, Pizza Schmizza offer free meals
Although school districts in the county are preparing and handing out free food to area schoolchildren during the COVID-19 crisis, two separate groups decided to step up and fill in the gaps.
The Hamlet of Beavercreek, the Hamlet Board, Beavercreek Saloon/Kissin Kate's Restaurant and Beavercreek Grange are serving breakfast and lunch from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday through Friday at the grange, 22041 S. Kamrath Road, unincorporated Oregon City. Volunteers also will deliver meals to those without transportation.
And Steve Leitz, owner of the Happy Valley Pizza Schmizza, has teamed up with Bloomin' Boutique and a local branch of Country-Wide Insurance; both organizations donated $500 to get the program up and running.
"We came together to assist students in our rural area who need support while not attending school," said Tammy Stevens, board chair of the Hamlet of Beavercreek. She noted that the coverage area is Beavercreek, Clarkes and Mulino and both the Oregon City School District and the Molalla School District.
"We live quite a ways from any of the grab-and-gos, and they don't deliver," she said.
The group has received over $6,500 in donations from local residents and The Hamlet of Beavercreek, and Beavercreek Saloon/KissinKate's Cafe "has donated time, food and talent," Stevens said.
The Beavercreek Grange has thrown open its doors and "provided amazing amounts of time and support, tables, chairs, kitchen resources and heat and, most importantly, coffee," she added.
Stevens noted that there are over 600 students in the Beavercreek Grade School and approximately 27% of the students receive some level of meal support.
"We reached out to the principal, who communicated with all of the families in both the Oregon City and Molalla school districts explaining that Beavercreek is offering breakfasts and lunches on both a grab-and-go basis at the Beavercreek Grange and to be delivered," Stevens said.
"There is no questioning or prescreening; if you need help, we're there," she added.
Organizers can accept donations from the public and checks may be mailed to the Beavercreek Committee for Community Planning, P.O. Box 244, Beavercreek, OR 97004. Include a name and address so a tax-deductible receipt can be mailed back. Donations also may be dropped off at the grange from 11 a.m to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Home supplies and nonperishable food can be left at the United Church of Christ (Ten O'Clock Church) at 23345 S. Beavercreek Road, Beavercreek.
"The church's volunteers have run a food pantry for decades, and they are serving our rural seniors and shut-ins," Stevens noted.
"Our citizens home with children and working with a tight budget have been supporting the cause by sharing the eggs their hens lay. We have received, on average, 40 dozen hardboiled eggs, weekly dropped off by our neighbors and friends," she said.
The response has been heartwarming, Stevens said, adding that the recipients "are all already like family to us. We look forward to seeing the families show up and eagerly deliver our meals to incredible appreciative families at their homes."
In addition to the Pizza Schmizza on Southeast 82nd Avenue, Leitz also is the owner of the Gladstone Baskin-Robbins. He always has been committed to community service he said, noting that the Baskin-Robbins has hosted Shop With a Cop and supported fundraisers for the Gladstone Library, Make a Wish Foundation, Doernbecher Hospital and the Gladstone Center for Children and Families.
When schools closed due to the virus crisis, Leitz realized that there was no coverage for children living in the Pizza Schmizza area, so he decided to "fill in the gap."
School-age kids can walk into the restaurant from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. or can call ahead for curbside delivery of free food.
Leitz said he also offers free food to first responders.
"Nobody goes hungry," he said.
People who have stopped by have been "very appreciative and we have had some wonderful interactions," Leitz said.
He thanks his staff who have stepped up and done "things out of their wheelhouse."
Leitz "would love to see the community, both businesses and residents, step up to keep the program going," noting that people can come in and order takeout pizza and leave monetary donations to help with the free food giveaway.
"If they order an extra-large pizza, they get a free roll of toilet paper," Leitz added.
"The Mission of the Bloomin' Boutique is to give a 'hand up' to underprivileged children. In these extraordinary times, we want to support all organizations and businesses that help families, that includes partnering to provide food," said Patti Serres, founder and executive director of the Bloomin' Boutique.
What Serres is most looking forward to when restrictions are lifted is "having our volunteers back and letting kids enter the boutique and actually 'shop' for their new clothes."
And one more thing: "Being able to give hugs."
Food for children, seniors
Volunteers at the Beavercreek Grange are serving breakfast and lunch to schoolchildren from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday-Friday at the grange, 22041 S. Kamrath Road, unincorporated Oregon City.
Volunteers also will deliver meals to those without transportation.
Volunteers at the pantry at the United Church of Christ (Ten O'Clock Church) at 23345 S. Beavercreek Road, are providing meals for seniors and shut-ins.
School-age children and first responders may pick up a free meal from 10 a.m.-10 p.m.at the Happy Valley Pizza Schmizza, 9495 S.E. 82nd Ave. Call 503-777-2200.
The restaurant also is open for takeout pizza and curbside delivery.
Learn more about The Bloomin' Boutique at bloominboutique.org.
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