Parameters changed at the start of the month for distribution of federal coronavirus food box aid. The shifts affect the Archdiocese of Portland and other religious organizations that have been pitching in.

Pacific Coast Fruit, which earned the federal contract to produce boxes for Northwest Oregon, informed its distribution partners that it will deliver only to sites that can give out 1,000 boxes or more at a time. The Portland-based company also will send trucks less frequently.

The boxes, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are engineered to feed needy families during the pandemic and also to provide a place for farmers to sell goods.

The Archdiocese of Portland — along with other faith-based organizations, local food pantries, civic organizations and homeless shelters — got the call to help distribute about 275,000 boxes per month in Northwest Oregon.

Before July 1, 15 parishes were involved. With the new guidelines, only 10 parishes are taking part: Ascension in Southeast Portland, Holy Redeemer in North Portland, St. Vincent de Paul in Salem, Holy Trinity in Beaverton, St. Henry in Gresham, St. Anthony in Tigard, St. Matthew in Hillsboro, St. Cecilia in Beaverton, Our Lady of La Vang in Happy Valley and St. Edward in Keizer.

A federal extension will have the archdiocese and Pacific Coast Fruit collaborating on the food boxes through the end of August.

Plans call for distribution at St. Joseph Parish in Roseburg and Shepherd of the Valley Parish in Central Point.

“This program, in such a short amount of time, has been an amazing success,” said Archbishop Alexander Sample. “We are blessed to see it continue through the summer months so that even more people in need can be served.”

Matt Cato, director of the Archdiocese of Portland Office of Life, Justice and Peace, is overseeing parish distribution of the free boxes. He said the need for food will continue well into the summer, especially as many relatively low paid migrant laborers come to pick crops in the state. The Oregon Legislature prevented an even sharper spike in need at the end of June when lawmakers voted to extend an anti-eviction notice.

There is no need to prove eligibility to receive the boxes. Those who are isolated or who cannot get to the grocery store without a burden are welcomed.

edl@catholicsentinel.org



Learn more

The latest distribution times and locations can be found at

evangelization.archdpdx.org/usda-food-box



SIDEBAR

IMAGE: FOOD BOX 14-20 (NO CAPTION NEEDED)

What’s in the box?

The weight of each box is 20 – 25 pounds. Produce boxes contain apples, oranges, strawberries, potatoes, onions, spinach or spring mix, baby carrots, celery, bell peppers or cucumbers and zucchini. Dairy boxes have milk, half-and-half, butter, yogurt, cheese and cottage cheese. Combo boxes hold ham or chicken, butter, milk, cheese, potatoes, onions and leaf lettuce.