COVID-19 has torn through our world over the past months, disrupting lives, putting the health of our family and friends at risk, and destabilizing the local community which we hold so dear. We are all coping in the best way we know how, as daily stories of resilience and ingenuity inspire us to keep pushing onward. In this series of blog posts, I am highlighting some amazing stories of resiliency and dedication in Portland’s non-profit sector — stories of organizations and community members who are fighting to serve our most affected populations.
This week I spoke with the Hopscotch Foundation, our partner in the FEED PDX fundraiser. The Hopscotch Foundation works with Portland schools to provide fresh, healthy food directly to Portland-area students. An all-volunteer crew including school personnel, led by “Uncle Dave” — as Hopscotch founder Dave Gunderson is known to those he helps — distributes food weekly to over 18 schools and locations across Portland, setting up food pantries and distribution sites where families receive vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs, seafood, and other staples, most of it locally sourced. Each week, thousands of families (including many families in the I AM Learning Partnership) rely on the Hopscotch Foundation for their fundamental food needs.
The Hopscotch Foundation has greatly ramped up its work due to the rising food insecurity caused by the coronavirus crisis. The charity has been organizing food distribution events across the Portland metro area in conjunction with their Portland school network and attendance has been increasing exponentially daily.
The USDA, under the COVID Response Program, has just awarded a major contract to Pacific Coast Fruit for the distribution of food in our area. Pacific Coast Fruit is a primary supply provider for Hopscotch. With the knowledge of the well-established network and food storage capabilities of Hopscotch, PCF requested Hopscotch’s assistance as a frontline distribution channel for this federal program. This major development extends the reach and resources of Hopscotch even further. Pacific Coast Fruit will be delivering and distributing three 25-lb. boxes of produce, dairy and mixed food for thousands of families twice a week. This federal program is intended to run until the end of June, and is expected to continue throughout the summer to meet these critical needs.
Lines are increasing dramatically each week and there is rarely anything left over, highlighting the enormous level of food insecurity in our community currently. Hopscotch is a frontline program that connects on the ground and through the schools to identify and serve the most urgent needs. We are honored to play a role and be of service in such a critical and fundamental way at this challenging time.
Our fundraiser has raised over $30,000 on our way to the $50,000 goal! Your donation or sharing of information about FEED PDX with friends, family, and across social media in support of the Hopscotch Foundation will have a huge impact on those most affected by the COVID crisis here in Portland.
Visit the FEED PDX Go Fund Me page at https://www.gofundme.com/f/AM-Feed-PDX or by clicking the banner below.