PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Hopscotch Foundation began with a spaghetti dinner.
In 2015, Dave Gunderson found out no one was providing team dinners for the players on the Jefferson High School football team. So he made dinner for the team — and then started to think.
Over the past 8 years — through the pandemic, school shut downs and civic changes — Gunderson kept thinking and building and morphing his idea, which became The Hopscotch Foundation.
By 2019, Hopscotch was providing healthy food and snacks to approximately 20 schools and other youth organizations. In 2020, Hopscotch Foundation was named Oregon’s Outstanding Philanthropic Foundation.
Last year, the non-profit Hopscotch Foundation built an indoor aquaponics farm at Jefferson High School where student slearn to grow, eat and sell healthy food.
The Hopscotch Foundation and Jefferson High School had a booth at King Farmers Market in Portland during the summer. Students Eleazar Gomez and Eric Cozart worked the booth the day KOIN 6 News was there — and shared the things they’ve learned.
Among the things they’ve learned is how eating better makes you feel better. Both Gomez and Cozart are student athletes and both drank a lot of soda.
“Before this, I used to drink sodas everyday, eat candy everyday. Ever since I’ve been here, I’ve been trying to cool down on drinking soda and eating candy a little bit,” Cozart said. “My body feels better.”
They are both involved in the aquaponics farm — ” how they use fish poop to grow plants and use it to help the plants,” as Gomez said.
“It’s real fun,” Cozart said. “It’s an experience that you don’t really do on a daily basis, it’s pretty fun.”