PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — For the third straight year, thousands of families across the Portland metro area received food boxes in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day from Sunshine Division using a grant from Kaiser Permanente.
The $90,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente was enough to provide 90,000 meals, officials with Sunshine Division said. There were 1,000 food boxes home delivered by Sunshine Division’s 200 volunteers. Partners in Cowlitz, Clark, Washington, Clackamas and Marion counties delivered another 1,000 boxes, plus 1,000 drive-up food boxes were available at the Kaiser Permanente Building parking structure on NE Multnomah Street.
According to data from the Oregon Food Bank, at least one out of five people can’t afford to buy food. The Sunshine Division have been telling KOIN 6 News they’ve never seen need like they’re seeing now — and say that’s why what Kaiser Permanente helped them do Monday is so important.
This is the third year the organizations have teamed up on MLK Day.
“Sunshine Division and Kaiser Permanente both know how essential nutritious food is in fostering vibrant, healthy communities,” Executive Director Kyle Camberg said. “We are grateful to partner with them again this year to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr and serve our community in this enormous way.”
Several Kaiser Permanente employees who have MLK Day off volunteered on Monday, loading food boxes into the vehicles of folks who showed up, no questions asked. Kaiser Permanente tells KOIN 6 News all the boxes were packed by their employees, filling them with fresh produce, canned goods and dry goods like beans, rice and pasta.
Camille Applin-Jones, the Vice President of Ambulatory Care for Kaiser Permanente’s Northwest region, said they are a proud partner with Sunshine Division.
“This is how we are continuing our tradition of honoring Dr. King’s legacy of service in this challenging time. Providing these meals is a tangible way we can come together and make a difference for community neighbors in need,” Applin-Jones said. “His dream is still something that we’re working to realize. So what we’re doing, it’s not just about the food but about the recognition of how far we’ve come, but also how far we need to go.