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Food box program going strong during pandemic posted on 06/01/2020

Neighborhood Missions, in partnership with the Oregon Food Bank and the Hoodland Senior Center, has offered a Free Food Market on the last Monday of each month for a couple years. Their efforts to help those in need in the community have continued during the COVID-19 pandemic, including providing food box to up to 75 households (approximately 180 people) last month.

Steve Carlson, who facilitates the market, noted that despite the onset of the pandemic, numbers of people receiving boxes have not surged.

“Not as many as I would have anticipated, which has been surprising to me,” Carlson said, noting that other factors, such as stimulus checks and unemployment. “As this goes on longer, we may see an increase more than we have.”

The market, which is open from 9-10 a.m. at the Hoodland Senior Center (65000 E. Hwy. 26 in Welches), has seen a good number of monetary donations, which Carlson said could be used to help other programs on the Mountain that help those with food insecurity, such as Meals on Wheels and the summer lunch program.

“We’re looking at some ways we can utilize those contributions in a little wider way,” he said. “We are feeling like that could be an area where we could have a substantial impact.”

The market has taken steps to adhere to social distancing, including boxing food for people as they wait in their cars (normally the market allows people to select items from a table). Neighborhood Missions also offers assistance with rent, utilities, prescription drug costs and gasoline, although Carlson noted they have not had a lot of recent requests. To request aid, call 503-622-9213 and leave a message. Somebody will call back within 24 hours.

Carlson also added that volunteers are welcome to help at the food market and that Neighborhood Missions has a committee to help with planning and organizing the effort. The committee meets the second Monday of every month at 2 p.m. at Hoodland Lutheran Church, 59159 E. Hwy. 26,.

“We always welcome more voices, more ideas to serve the needy in our community,” Carlson said.

Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office also has a program to help seniors impacted by COVID-19, the Community Care Initiative. It offers food, medicine and household supplies, along with delivery. Those in need can email CCIrequests@clackamas.us or call 503-794-8008.

By Garth Guibord/MT

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