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Food pantries helping residents handle inflation

Posted by | Catholic Charities Communications

With inflation taking a bite out of everyone’s resources, Catholic Charities of Oregon has organized a vibrant food pantry program for residents of its affordable housing sites.

There are weekly and monthly pantries now at five locations.

The food gets donated from multiple sources, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oregon Food Bank, Dave’s Killer Bread and Pacific Coast Fruit.

Hundreds of families are receiving food assistance, one way to make it more likely that they can afford housing, job training, education, transportation, youth activities and other items vital to thriving and advancing.

A resident of Catholic Charities housing enters a community room to obtain food.

At one Southeast Portland housing site, about 80 households obtain food each week. One regular customer is Nancy, who has lived in the building for 12 years. Living with a disability, Nancy delivers newspapers to supplement her income, but was having trouble affording groceries.

“I’m so happy the food pantry opened,” said Nancy, smiling as she waits her turn.

In the pantry, staff and volunteers help residents like Nancy pick fresh produce, bread, milk, cheese, pasta and beans. It’s all healthy food, which can be expensive at the grocery store.

“Good food makes me feel better,” Nancy explained as she held her bag open for volunteer Hannah Gustafson of St. Patrick Parish in Portland. Gustafson loaded the sack with onions, brussels sprouts and other produce.

Nancy, a resident of Catholic Charities affordable housing, gets a sack of brussels sprouts from Hannah Gustafson, a volunteer from St. Patrick Parish in Portland.

“It’s a joy being able to provide healthy food options for our residents and clients,” said Sally Erickson, Community Services Director for Catholic Charities. “Customers can ‘shop’ the fresh selections to choose items their families would like, including gluten free, vegan, Halal and culturally specific foods. We’ve been blessed with generous donations, which makes the pantries possible, and we’re able to help families make ends meet and tummies full.”

Beatrice Endler, Health Outreach Supervisor, explained that beyond reducing monetary and geographic barriers to food access, the on-site food pantries also have become fun social events for residents and clients.

“It gives everyone the opportunity to convene with friends and neighbors and build a stronger community,” Endler said.

Kler, who lives in Catholic Charities affordable housing, joyfully picks out groceries.