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North Portland church helps those in need during the pandemic

Neighbors tend to a community garden and fill a food box with donations at Portsmouth Trinity Lutheran Church.

PORTLAND, Ore. — 'Take what you need, give what you can' is the motto at Portsmouth Trinity Lutheran Church in North Portland. Since the church has a small congregation, an older congregation, they create small projects as a way to serve their community. 

Projects like their 'Garden of Eating,' where church members plant vegetables and invite the community to help themselves. The garden was put in two summers ago and has turned into a community project. 

“A neighbor who is not part of our church membership, has come over and started planting, tending to the garden and we all take turns watering it.” explained church manager, Jodi Durnal.

Another of the church’s projects is a 'blessing box,' where church members leave donated goods for people in need to pick up anonymously. The church installed the box last summer but it has been used a lot more this year because of the pandemic. “When the pandemic hit and we quit having services in the middle of March, I was a little panicked because that’s the time people really needed it to be full,” said Durnal.

With the church closed, she worried the blessing box would be empty. Durnal was stunned to find it overflowing one day, when she decided to drive by. Their neighbors are stepping in to help fill the box when church members aren’t able to. Durnal says it now contains a multitude of donated items ranging from beans and toilet paper to a 10-pound sack of potatoes.

The blessing box is answering prayers for those in need and those looking to help others. “I’m glad that we can do this it’s a really small little step for the community," said Durnal.

Portsmouth Trinity Lutheran Church is in North Portland on Portsmouth Avenue.

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