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Free Woodburn Community Meal received some vital support from the Community Foundation

Free Woodburn Community Meal advocates announced on Jan. 10 that the event has received vital support via a $10,000 grant from Oregon Community Foundation.COURTESY PHOTO: TERRI BERKEY GONZALEZ - Volunteers and sponsorships are the backbone of Free Woodburn Community Meal, which is open to the entire community every Wednesday since February 2016.

The timing could not have been better.

"This award came at such a critical time as we were down to a $400 balance in our account a week before Thanksgiving, and we were wondering how we would fund the meals especially during the upcoming holidays," said Shelly Shook, a co-leader for the community meal.

"This fund will support important work in our community to address food insecurity. We look forward to furthering this work in our community, and we're grateful for the generous support," added Ali Swanson, who is also a meal co-leader.

The funding included support from Louise Minty Fund of Oregon Community Foundation.

In 2021 alone the Free Woodburn Community Meal served 18,631 meals. It serves any community member who would like to receive a meal, serving up every Wednesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in a drive-through, grab-and-go format at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 1036 East Lincoln St. COURTESY PHOTO: TERRI BERKEY GONZALEZ - Volunteers find cammaraderie via the Free Woodburn Community Meal, served every Wednesday.

Community meal advocate Terri Berkey Gonzalez said many meal attendees take additional meals to their friends and neighbors. The community-wide effort is supported entirely through donations and volunteers.

Anyone interested in more information, volunteering or supporting this vital community ministry financially can email Gonzalez at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Gonzalez noted that Free Woodburn Community Meal will celebrate 6 years of service in February; it began in 2016 as a dine-in meal but transitioned to the to-go format in April of 2020 to adjust to pandemic concerns and cautions.

About Oregon Community Foundation

Oregon Community Foundation puts donated money to work in Oregon, distributing more than $100 million in grants and scholarships annually.

Since 1973, OCF grantmaking, research, advocacy and community-advised solutions have helped individuals, families, businesses, and organizations create charitable funds to improve lives for all Oregonians. Impactful giving — time, talent, and resources from many generous Oregonians — creates measurable change.

Throughout 2020, OCF responded quickly and urgently by distributing a record-setting $220 million in charitable dollars to more than 3,000 nonprofits throughout Oregon working to address urgent needs, stabilize communities and prepare for long-term recovery in Oregon.

OCF donors responded to the magnitude of need, as reflected in a 44% increase in donor advised fund grantmaking from the previous year. For information visit oregoncf.org.


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