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Portland area nonprofits benefit from ‘Bag it Forward’ program at New Seasons

The fundraiser is happening at all 19 area New Seasons locations throughout the Portland area.

PORTLAND, Ore — A New Seasons fundraiser that's been happening for the past six years has raised over $1 million for area nonprofits.

The fundraiser is called "Bag it Forward." Each time a customer brings their own reusable bag to shop, the store donates five cents towards the fundraiser.

New Seasons donates the money to the nonprofits every fall and spring. In 2022, New Seasons raised over $200,000 for the nonprofits. 

Metropolitan Family Service is one of the organizations benefiting from the fundraiser. The nonprofit received $15,000 from it. It works to help people overcome barriers such as poverty.

Wednesday morning, crews were setting up a food pantry at Alder Elementary School. CEO Judy Strand said parents and students can come through the food pantry and get the healthy items they need. 

"Many of our families are not able to make an income that's high enough for them to pay the rent. It's not high enough for them to buy the food they need and they can't pursue education in the way that they want," Strand said.

RELATED: Portland nonprofit Feed the Mass struggling to keep up with increased need amid inflation costs

New Seasons Culinary Events Specialist Kate Cavanah said a lot of the customers are fully aware of the Bag it Forward fundraiser. 

"It is constant, we will continue doing it in the future! It has been successful over the past six years, we will continue doing it," Cavanah said. 

Strand said the program has been crucial in helping the nonprofit fund very important programs such as the food pantries at schools. 

"You need a driver for the vans, you have a relationship with the food banks, you talk with Urban Gleaners, you're moving and deciding who does what and goes where. Throughout the whole week, it's costing us close to $100,000 to operate programs in five locations," Strand said. 

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