Food pantries still open in Gateway and Hazelwood

Learn now two renowned outer East Portland pantries, PACS and Sunshine Division, have changed their operations to continue serving those in need …

Vehicles line up at the Portland Adventist Community Services Food Pantry, in the Gateway District of the Hazelwood neighborhood, where food boxes are being distributed.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Determined to keep intact their decades-long tradition of helping families in need to have a supply of good food, despite current restrictions related to COVID-19 coronavirus concerns, Portland Adventist Community Services (PACS) has changed their way of serving clients.

While many stores’ shelves have been emptied of food, the PACS food pantry has continued operating from their Center at NE 111th Avenue at Halsey Street, in the Gateway District.

Ready for another day of food box distribution are PACS Development Associate Katie Linfoot and Associate Director Tim Zollbrecht.

“We’ve set up to provide ‘food boxes’ for people who need food, without them actually having to come in,” said PACS Associate Director Tim Zollbrecht just as the doors were about to open for the day on March 17.

One of the first food pantries in the nation to provide a “shopping style” experience – where people can select food they need for their families off the shelves – COVID-19 concerns had caused them to shift their operations.

Volunteer Gamaliel Reyes and PACS Executive Director Laura Pascoe pack food boxes in the pantry.

“To keep everyone safer – both volunteers and clients – our volunteers are creating pre-packed food boxes,” Zollbrecht told East Portland News.

Medical professionals from the Gateway Grace Clinic, forced to suspend their service currently, circulate among the volunteers – keeping a close eye on operations, and enforcing “sanitary procedures” in the pantry.

One of three volunteers at the food pantry, coming from Portland Adventist Academy, is sophomore Roxanna Vazquez.

Then, volunteers bring the food boxes outside, set them down, and clients can pick them up and put them in their car, or walk away with them.

“We started off serving 70 families our first day; but, we expect our number of clients served to be increasing – especially with kids being home from school,” informed Zollbrecht.

Shipments from the Oregon Food Bank help keep them supplied, Zollbrecht, commented, but their usual donations from area food stores have fallen off, due to panicked shoppers empting their shelves.

At the door, ready to take out food boxes, are volunteers Bob Saintey and Fernando Chavez.

“People can really help us to help people in need, by donating online,” Zollbrecht requested. You can give to their cause, online, securely: CLICK HERE to be taken to their donation page.

The PACS Pantry is open Monday – Friday, from 9:00 until 11:00 a.m. It’s located at 11020 NE Halsey Street, 97220 – enter their parking lot from SE 111th Avenue.

Sunshine Division Pantry
open to serve

Located in the Hazelwood neighborhood, the Portland Police Bureau’s Sunshine Division food pantry continues to serve those needing food.

Another provider of food for the needy, serving from their outer East Portland Location, is the Portland Police Bureau’s Sunshine Division food pantry on SE Stark Street, east of 122nd Avenue.

“This week, we suspended most volunteer operations and limited access to our building, but we’re still providing food,” Executive Director Kyle Camberg told East Portland News.

“Like PACS, we normally operate with on the ‘food pantry’ model,” Camberg said. “But, in keeping with social distancing protocol, we’re serving emergency food boxes outside the door of the facility, so that those in need do not need to come inside, or be in close contact with the staff.”

The Sunshine Division food pantry is closed for “shopping”, but clients are invited to pick up emenrgency food boxes at the door of their building. East Portland News archive image

“Our most important message is this: we’re open to help anyone in crisis, without judgment or fear; if you need food, it’s available, one box per household, per week,” he stated. “We’re not turning anyone away. Please do not call ‘911’ for a food box – just come by and get one!”

The outer East Portland Sunshine Division pantry is located at 12436 SE Stark Street, 97233, and is open Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

The Sunshine Division is also asking for donations to help support their efforts, as they are “experiencing an historically high demand – in the number of individuals and families seeking help through the emergency food boxes,” as Camberg put it. CLICK HERE to securely donate online.

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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