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2/22/2013 9:38:00 AM
Parishes take part in massive food drive
Catholic Sentinel photo by Ed Langlois
On Ash Wednesday, Patricia Fisher shows boxes for food collection at St. John Fisher Church.
Catholic Sentinel photo by Ed Langlois
On Ash Wednesday, Patricia Fisher shows boxes for food collection at St. John Fisher Church.

St. John Fisher, St. Clare and St. Thomas More parishes are part of a Lenten drive to collect more than 140 tons of food — or the the money to buy it. The supplies will aid needy people served by Neighborhood House in Southwest Portland.

"After the holidays are done, there is a real need," says Patricia Fryer, who is coordinating the drive at St. John Fisher. Like the 21 other faith communities taking part, St. John Fisher has placed boxes for food donations and is urging parishioners to give money at Neighborhood House, 7780 SW Capitol Hwy., or online. The drive runs through Palm Sunday, March 24.

St. Andrew Presbyterian started the project in 2007. Jewish and Muslim congregations have joined.

Neighborhood House runs the largest food pantry on Portland's west side, serving 1,500 people each month. Organizers of the drive increased their goal because of increased demand as the results of the economic downturn endure in the region.

Oregon's poverty increased by 2 percent last year, compared to national poverty levels, which stayed the same, says Rick Nitti, executive director of Neighborhood House.

For the first time, more than half of Oregon's children qualify for the federal free lunches.
Organizers say cash donations are even more efficient than food gifts. Neighborhood House can purchase five pounds of supplies from the Oregon Food Bank for every dollar donated. But food is most welcome, especially the healthy stuff — canned fruits and vegetables.  

A benefit for the cause is set for 5 p.m. to close Tuesday, March 12, at McMenamin's Hillsdale Brewery and Public House, 1505 SW Sunset Blvd.



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