After the pandemic forced Portland Community College campuses to close, the Rock Creek Learning Garden had to figure out what to do with the abundance of vegetables the garden produces each year. Miriam Latzer, the garden’s coordinator, and faculty member Henry Mesa teamed up to bring the produce to nearby St. Juan Diego Parish’s food pantry, according to Portland Community College.

“We developed our annual crop plan back in December and we were moving forward with it in January and February,” Latzer told the publication. “Obviously, we had no idea a global pandemic was on the way. We had to make some decisions in a hurry.”

Between 80 – 150 pounds of food was brought from the garden to the parish food pantry each week during the harvest. As of September, 2,000 pounds of food had been grown.

Concerned with students who depend on the produce from the garden, Lazter reached out to them, offering alternate food resources. Among those was St. Juan Diego’s food pantry, which is a partnership with the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul ministry.

Mesa, a parishioner at St. Juan Diego, said he was happy to see students among those from the community who showed up to collect food from the pantry.

“As an instructor at PCC, I hate that our students are struggling to find enough to eat, but I’m proud that the campus and the church could team up to help them,” Mesa told Portland Community College.