December 22nd, 2008 5:33 pm | by Dan Green News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP

While Weather Freezes the Oregon Food Bank, Sunshine Pantry Stays Open


I wrote a small piece last week about a homeless shelter's inability to function because of bad weather, just as those it serves needed help most.

Now I'm sad to write there is another organization to include on the list of "groups helping the needy but who couldn't make it in when people need them most."

The Oregon Food Bank didn't open today due to “inclement weather,” according to a message on its numbers in Portland and Hillsboro. I called numerous times through out the day but each time was directed to voicemail. People in need of emergency food are prompted to press 5 to speak with an agent. Each time I did that, there was no answer.

The food bank is one of Oregon's largest distributors of food to the needy, reporting on its web site that it distributed 792,000 emergency food boxes in Oregon and Clark County, Wash., between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008.

Meanwhile, we do want to note there are local groups that soldier on, no matter the weather.

Sunshine Pantry, a small family and volunteer-run organization that's typically open just on weekdays, has been open the last seven days and will remain open as long as necessary. Sharon Straus, the 59-year-old founder and director of the pantry, says, “We can't close. I can't turn away a hungry person.”

Since Straus started her non-profit 27 years ago out of her garage, Sunshine Pantry now reports feeding more than 1,100 families since January ‘08, taking on 200 new families in November alone.

With the economic downturn and now this recent awful weather, Straus realizes this is the time people need her most. “This is so important to do. Too many people are out there that fall through the cracks…It's scary.”

To donate food, money or your time to the Sunshine Pantry, call 971-506-7827.
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