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Sunshine Division feeds more families than ever before during Thanksgiving box handout

Sunshine Division handed out more than 1,300 Thanksgiving food boxes this year, which is a record for the organization.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The rising cost of food, rent and utilities have sent more people to nonprofits that provide food for the community this winter, especially going into the holidays.

On Monday, Sunshine Division had it's busiest day in history. More than 1,100 families visited the nonprofit's two food pantries on Monday, and the team delivered more than 200 Thanksgiving food boxes.

The organization was about twice as busy as last year, according to Executive Director Kyle Camberg. The previous record was 625 families. 

"We had a line literally 50 yards down the street," Camberg said. "It was literally every walk of life."

Camberg said that Sunshine Division is serving four times as many households as it did in 2019. Visiting the organization's headquarters on Tuesday, KGW met Devin. He's houseless, which means he's not the usual clientele for the nonprofit, as it generally helps working families.

Camberg said they do not turn anyone away, so Devin was able to get some food.

"It's really nice," Devin said. "It means more of my funds are going towards things I need, like shelter, clothing and hygiene."

Sunshine Division relies on donations — and inflation is making every dollar worth less, which means donations don't buy what they once died. The cost of groceries have gone up 13% in the last year, housing prices 6% and energy spending cost have gone up almost 20%. Camberg said the nonprofit needs help. 

"Give what you can," Camberg said. "Give to your local relief organizations. Organizations that are on the front lines serving people everyday. We need your help now more than ever."

Over at Feed the Mass in downtown Portland, crews are preparing meals for 1,500 people. Marketing Director Mark Kronquist said demand for them is higher than ever before as well.

"The number of people needing food and needing what we provide is growing by leaps and bounds," Kronquist said. "It's exceeding our ability to keep up."

Feed the Mass will also have a fundraiser on December 15 in order to raise money for the organization.

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