St. Ed partners with USDA to distribute food

Josh Nelson hands off a box of fresh produce during a food delivery effort coordinated by St. Edward Catholic Church.

Some areas of Oregon may be reopening, but there are still many going without as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. St. Edward Catholic Church is helping feed the hungry with the assistance of the Archdiocese of Portland and a USDA grant. 

For the next five weeks, St. Edward parishioners and volunteers will be passing out at least 500 food boxes to local families in need. The next planned hand-out will be Monday, May 25 from 9 a.m. to noon. After that, St. Edward Business Manager Bonny Henny asked that those in need check the parish’s Facebook page and website. 

“What we really need now is someone with a refrigerated trailer that we can park on the site for the next few weeks to store the food as it comes in,” Henny said. 

Anyone with the ability to donate a trailer for a few weeks should contact Henny at 503-393-5323, ext. 303. 

On Monday, May 18, 25-pound boxes of produce were being passed out by volunteers to drivers making their way through the St. Edward parking lot. The boxes contained apples, oranges, strawberries, potatoes, onion, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, lettuce and carrots. The supply ran out about 4:30 p.m. and visitors were still showing up after 5 p.m. 

Henny hopes to make boxes available to the those attending the drive-through Community Dinner held at the church each month. 

The first shipment the church received totaled more than 700 food boxes and the church passed on 100 of those to the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde to feed community elders, another 50 were sent to the Gervais School District which is experiencing a shortage in its school meal programs. 

“We love our community outreach and taking care of each other,” Henny said. 

Future weeks will feature dairy boxes containing eggs, milk, butter, yogurt, cheddar and jack cheeses. Combo boxes containing deli ham and turkey, milk, cheddar and jack cheeses, carrots, apples, celery, lettuce and tomatoes will be given out other weeks. Requests for specific boxes are not possible. 

Marion Polk Food Share is receiving a similar shipment of the food boxes, from the same USDA source, to distribute through its network of community food banks. 

No appointment is necessary to receive a food box and there is no requirement to prove need. Those picking up food boxes are encouraged to ask neighbors if they need assistance. 

The food box delivery will continue through June 30.