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Inside Woodlawn Extra: Feeding families during a pandemic

Coronavirus has drastically altered our daily routines but nothing can stop the staff at Woodlawn elementary school from helping families.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The coronavirus has stopped almost everything but nothing can stop the staff at Woodlawn elementary school from helping families.

“Today, we have a mobile pantry where people can walk up or drive by,” said Tianna Sly the SUN school coordinator at Woodlawn.

Woodlawn always hosts a pantry for the community on Wednesday’s in the cafeteria. But now, schools are closed and social distancing is in place so the pantry was held outside and the food came in prepackaged bags.

“Even though there is a pandemic going on and a crisis, it's not going to change us having food for families,” said Family Coordinator Mary Evans.

Woodlawn staffers wore gloves and had disinfecting wipes on hand to make sure everyone stayed safe.

“Timing is important, kids are at home, grownups are not at work. It's hard to find things at the store. It’s difficult to make it through anyway,

never mind when or work has closed or laid off or left,” said principal Andrea Porter Lopez.

All the food was handed out to families in 40 minutes. Woodlawn plans to have the pantry next week unless a “shelter in place” ban prevents them from doing so.

About Inside Woodlawn:

KGW investigative reporter Cristin Severance and photojournalist Gene Cotton were granted remarkable access to spend the 2019-2020 school year chronicling life inside Woodlawn Elementary School in Northeast Portland. Their reporting offers a rich view of how teachers, administrators, school staff and parents overcome many challenges to serve students. Join us as KGW News goes Inside Woodlawn.

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