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Portland Boy Scout works with local nonprofit to feed hungry kids

Tabor Ketrenos plans to earn his Eagle Scout rank by helping Project Backpack make meals to distribute to children on weekends.

PORTLAND, Ore. — For many kids in our area, school lunch is the only guaranteed stable nourishment they get every week.

A common goal to feed these hungry kids brought a small group of people together in Nourtheast Portland Sunday afternoon. 

They were all on a mission spearheaded by 17-year-old Boy Scout Tabor Ketrenos.

"Being hungry sucks, and I don't think anyone deserves that," said Ketrenos.

For his Eagle Scout Project, Ketrenos decided to help kids in his community who are food-insecure, starting with a fundraiser.

"I just reached out to everyone I could and got them to post it on their stories and share it around, and we ended up getting a lot of people to donate," explained the high school senior.

He raised more than $3,000, which he used to get food and snacks for the kids he wanted to help.

Into each bag, filled with mac and cheese, fruit and granola bars, the Scouts added a personal touch - a handwritten note with a positive message for the child.

"It's just to let the kids know that somebody care about them, the community is thinking about them," said Ketrenos.

The group packed over 600 bags of food for students Sunday. 

Ketrenos' project is in partnership with Portland Backpack, a nonprofit that provides food bags to children at risk of hunger. Their mission is to feed these kids on the weekends, when there is no school and no school lunch.

"Having people use their own hands and hearts to pack these bags makes all the difference," said Portland Backpack executive director Diane Rheos.

The nonprofit will distribute the bags to students on Friday. The hope is that the kids who get them will have food to last through the weekend.

Rheos says food insecurity is more prevalent now, more than ever before.

"All of our schools have told us that they've heard from parents they've never heard from before," she explained. "People are asking for food who didn't need it pre-pandemic." .

As the need in the community continues to grow, so too will the importance of volunteers like Tabor.

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