PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Hungry children in the Portland area will have more access to healthy food — thanks to voters.
Voters renewed the Portland Children’s Levy this past election, and this year there is an added emphasis on hunger prevention.
At Glenfair Elementary School 80% of students are on a free or reduced-price lunch plan. The school has set up a food pantry in a portable classroom — now, with lots of healthy options.
“She’s very grateful and pleased that they provide very good fresh vegetables and good grains, which are whole grains,” food pantry client Araceli Hernandez said of her 2-year-old daughter Debanhi.
City Commissioner Dan Saltzman championed the Portland Children’s Levy and is now helping oversee how the nearly 12 million dollars in funds are allocated. The levy has been renewed each time it has gone to voters, providing services from after-school mentoring to child abuse prevention.
1.3 million dollars is given to the Oregon Food Bank to support programs like food pantries in schools.
“There is a definite need,” Ally Meyer with the Oregon Food Bank told KOIN 6 News. “The majority of kids at schools we have food pantries in get three meals a day at school, and so to be able to provide extra food for families at home really helps with that stress.”
Funding provided by the Portland Children’s Levy will help expand food pantries at seven local schools and establish new pantries at 11 others.
“Anyone can come in, we don’t check anything as far as eligibility,” Celia Flaim with the Metropolitan Family Service said. “Anyone can get food if they come in.”
The pantry behind Glenfair Elementary School is expected to provide food for at least 50 households every week. For information on food pantries in your area, click here.