Schnitzer, SnowCap team up to feed hungry in East County
A major donation and partnership between the public and private sector helped a local nonprofit food pantry pass out 600 food boxes and feed 3,000 people in one day.
Jordan D. Schnitzer, president of the Schnitzer Properties (formerly Harsch Investment Properties), announced a $20,000 donation to SnowCap Community Charities on behalf of The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation.
That money directly funded a bonus food box distribution Thursday afternoon, Jan. 13, at Gresham Station Shopping Center, 1297 N.W. Eastman Parkway, that came at a time when many families are unsure what the future holds.
"The thought that our neighbors and friends in East County may not have enough food on their table this winter season breaks our hearts," Schnitzer said. "We are honored to work with SnowCap to provide the funding for hundreds of boxes of food that will be able to feed families."
The food boxes were assembled and distributed by a large group of volunteers at a TriMet property adjacent to the shopping center. SnowCap invited clients to drive-through and receive the food while distanced, with folks like Mayor Travis Stovall and Schnitzer doing much of the heavy lifting of the boxes.
"This exceptional gift is a demonstration of love, compassion and care for our neighbors," said Kirsten Wageman, executive director of SnowCap. "Children, the elderly, disabled folks, single parents and working families in particular continue to have exceptional needs and this donation comes just as donations decrease after the holidays."
"SnowCap is proud to partner with Schnitzer Properties and their team," she added.
SnowCap said many families are struggling right now as there is so much uncertainty around the pandemic. Students may be sent home for virtual learning, and employees barely managing to get by don't know when their job will be shuttered after a positive test.
"When a business closes unexpectedly for a quarantine, or a parent is unable to look after their kids during the school day, it becomes tough for families who aren't sure where the next meal is coming from," Wageman said.
Schnitzer first learned about SnowCap 18 months ago during the onset of the pandemic, as his organization sought ways to support East County. The two have since teamed up several times to host distribution events, including another $20,000 donation in 2020.
"Too many developers take and don't give back," Schnitzer said. "Our philosophy is to make a difference in the communities we are in."
Since Schnitzer Properties took over ownership of Gresham Station, it has become a center for community events. With occasional disruptions from the pandemic, the shopping center hosts a Halloween costume contest, brings in reindeer and Santa Claus for the holidays, and offers space for nonprofits to operate out of rent-free — including a vacant storefront for SnowCap to distribute clothes as it fundraises for a second building of its own.
"SnowCap is efficient with its dollars and because so many people want to volunteer for them it speaks highly of the organization," Schnitzer said. "They are humble, and a wonderful group to work with."
Schnitzer also complimented the city for being a great partner.
"Gresham has been a dream to work with," he said. "That is what is best for a community, the public and private sector working together toward a common good."
SnowCap, the largest provider of food assistance in the state, feeds community members in Gresham, East Portland, Troutdale, Fairview, Wood Village and unincorporated East Multnomah County. In 2021 the nonprofit pantry distributed more than 500,000 meals to more than 116,000 people in need. In addition to food, SnowCap also distributes clothing and provides utility assistance.
"An event, and donation, like this is a big boost for all of our morale," Wageman said with a smile. "It is such an encouragement to know businesses and local officials have got our back."
Learn more about the groups involved online at:
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