Holy Family food pantry benefits from donations during pandemic
Persistent food insecurity and hunger has grown as a problem in Inner Southeast during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the plunge in the economy and many people losing jobs, being able to buy enough food has become difficult for many.
So when Lisa Revell's "Better Bones and Balance" exercise class that had been meeting two times a week at Trinity United Methodist Church began instead to have virtual classes on "Zoom", Revell suggested that class members donate their class fees to a local food pantry rather than paying her.
This gesture of community generosity did not surprise class members, since Revell spends a month each year organizing a feeding program in northern Ghana. But it raised awareness of the need for food in our local communities. Some class members decided they would send the class equivalent fee of $30 per month to the Portland Food Project – which BEE readers may remember was founded eight years ago by the late Richard Nudelman, a Woodstock resident and passionate jogger who tragically died of a heart attack in the neighborhood one day while running.
But, at present in the pandemic, the PFP "green bag" food collection has been suspended. PFP is asking people who usually give non-perishable food every two months to instead send money to food pantries, and one of them in this area is Holy Family. PFP asks their monetary donors to put a memo note, on their check, that it is from PFP contributors. So for Revell's students, the answer presented itself.
The Holy Family Church pantry is on S.E. Knapp and 37th Avenue. Dan Hoffa, an Eastmoreland resident, has been an organizer at the Holy Family food pantry for two decades, and is currently Co-President. Who receives food from this food pantry? Hoffa says, "95% of food recipients have no ties with the church. We [church volunteers] give our time and money, because our faith puts a huge emphasis on assisting those who are less fortunate, and live in poverty."
In a phone interview, Hoffa explained to THE BEE how the Holy Family food pantry usually operates in pre-pandemic times: The pantry receives 600-800 pounds of non-perishable food items every two months from the Portland Food Project, in addition to weekly donations from the Oregon Food Bank. Hoffa says their overhead is only 3% (some money is earmarked for food not donated) and they serve approximately 30 to 35 families each month.
Each week half a dozen volunteers stock the pantry shelves on Tuesday morning and now – in COVID-19 times – volunteers DELIVER food boxes every Friday to people who qualify for food relief within the area they serve, which is McLoughlin Boulevard to S.E. 72nd Avenue, and Woodstock Boulevard to Johnson Creek Boulevard.
If you'd like to help, send a check to Dan Hoffa, made out to "Holy Family/SVDP" ["St. Vincent de Paul"] at 3666 S.E. Claybourne Street, Portland, 97202. Alternatively, online donations can be made with a credit card at – www.birchcommunityservices.org/give
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