Help the needy, from the comfort of your car

No, we’re not encouraging you to give to roadside panhandlers! Read this, and see why you should give a couple of hours to help the Sunshine Division deliver food boxes on December 15 …

The Portland Police Bureau’s Sunshine Division Officer Phillip Kent, Tim McLaughlin, Britt Rosenberg, Maryanne Dehner, and Stephen Townsend are here packing food boxes – but they might not get delivered to needy families without your help on December 15.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
On Saturday, December 15, folks at the Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division are hoping you’ll volunteer a couple of hours help them deliver some of the 4,000 holiday meal gift boxes to needy families in the greater Portland area.

84-year tradition continues
While the Sunshine Division is a year-around relief agency, we learned from Officer Phillip Kent that their holiday food gift dates back to 1923.

“Throughout the year, we provide emergency food relief to more than 500 families a month,” explained Kent. “Most of these people are hard-working folks – from every walk of life – who need some help.”

The holiday food boxes will go to families they currently serve. Additionally, Kent said they’re also taking names of other families in need of these special food boxes for the holidays.

Last year, after helping load cars and trucks with food boxes for delivery, East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs loaded up his own car and started his delivery route.

Why Commander Crebs volunteers
Don’t be surprised if you see the commander of East Precinct, Michael Crebs, on hand if you decide to help.

But you won’t see the commander standing around issuing orders. You’ll see him loading his car with food boxes and making deliveries.

“You’ll never forget the looks of joy on the faces of the folks getting the food,” Crebs recalled as he told us about one of his deliveries last year. “The parents were genuinely grateful. But what I remember most is the look of excitement and joy on the faces of the children. It gives you a great feeling.”

In past years, we’ve often seen entire families in the car on delivery day. “I’ve asked my son to cone in past years,” Crebs noted, “because it’s important for him to see the value in helping people who are less well off.”

The Sunshine Division Holiday Food Box program is the epitome of community policing, observed Crebs. “The police supply the food, and our volunteers touch the lives of those I need. Together, we’re building a better community.”

Easy to volunteer
“We rely on volunteers on Dec. 15 to help us get these food boxes out. Our largest source of volunteers are citizens who are willing to help,” said Kent.

Here’s how it works: Just drive over to the Portland Police Bureau’s East Precinct at 737 SE 106th Avenue about 7:30 a.m. You’ll see vehicles lined up along the street.

You’ll pull in into the Sally Port (drive-through garage), and Portland Police Cadets will load your vehicle with as many boxes as you’re willing to deliver. You’ll get an address card and map showing where to deliver the boxes. Afterward, you’ll bring back your delivery slips.

Want to help out more? Volunteer for the Holiday Food Box “Pack Nights” – Monday, December 10, and Wednesday, December 12, 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. For more information, call the Sunshine Division at (503) 823-2119, or see their web site:

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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