PORTLAND, Ore. — Woodlawn Elementary School family coordinator Mary Evans and Sun School coordinator Tianna Sly have been feeding families every week at the Woodlawn food pantry since the start of the pandemic.
“So, right now, what you see happening is an assembly line of all the food we give families each week,” said Evans.
During the summer, they helped feed nearly 200 families each week. This fall, they’ve seen between 30 to 100 families come through every week.
While the food pantry is set up at Woodlawn, the spot where KGW spent the 2019-2020 school year telling stories, any family who needs help can come by and get food.
On Wednesday night, Sly and Evans handed out more than bags of food; they also gave out surprise $250 Visa gift cards to families.
“This could mean Christmas, a bill, gas, getting clothes. It's really amazing to provide this for families at this time,” said Sly.
$30,000 in gift cards were provided by the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and the CARES Act.
The families told KGW the surprise gift cards were a blessing. People said they plan to spend the money on food, bills, warm coats and presents for kids.
“I have a foster child, and that will help because he's new in my home so that will help,” said one mom.
The food pantry is set up every Wednesday from 4-5:30 p.m.
About Inside Woodlawn:
KGW investigative reporter Cristin Severance and photojournalists Gene Cotton and Kurt Austin 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. KGW will continue to tell their stories in 2020 and beyond as the staff deals with the pandemic, distance learning, and providing support to families during this unprecedented time.
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