St. Rose parishioners, including Heidi Hodge, sort and stock food to be delivered to six Northeast Portland neighborhoods as part of the parish’s annual food drive. (Courtesy St. Rose of Lima Parish)
St. Rose parishioners, including Heidi Hodge, sort and stock food to be delivered to six Northeast Portland neighborhoods as part of the parish’s annual food drive. (Courtesy St. Rose of Lima Parish)

More than 100 volunteers from St. Rose of Lima Church gathered outside recently — distanced and masked — to obtain food drive assignments. They then fanned out to canvass six Northeast Portland neighborhoods for nonperishable food donations. The Nov. 21 food drive is just one event in a pre-Thanksgiving to Christmas tradition that results in more than 12,000 pounds of food collected in six hours.

A parish planning committee has been working since early October, coordinating assignments and donations aimed at preparing more than 200 boxes of food for delivery to almost 100 families in need just days before Christmas.

“COVID has changed so much and hindered so much of what we normally do as Portlanders,” said Father Matt Libra, pastor, as he thanked volunteers and organizers. “I am so grateful that there are those among us who would not let COVID exempt us from feeding the hungry.”

Many volunteers distributed donation bags with instructions during the week of Nov. 9. Eighth graders from St. Rose School’s Student Leadership Team and their teachers spent a weekend distributing the door hangers around the neighborhood and promoting the food drive. Boy Scout Troop 100 took on nearly a quarter of the houses, while parish and school families took on smaller sections — adding up to 6,500 houses in total.

Since the pandemic started, the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul conference “has been committed to meeting the needs of our most vulnerable population,” said Mark Pinder, St. Rose parishioner and conference president. “In order to do this, we changed our procedures to ensure safety for our clients and volunteers and still get food, rent and utility assistance to those in need.”

 

Need help?

Those who do not have sufficient food are urged to call St. Vincent de Paul’s emergency line at 503-235-8431.