BEAVERTON, Ore. (KOIN) — With school suddenly canceled in Oregon, many of the state’s children who rely on school lunch programs could go hungry over the next few weeks. A group of volunteers from Beaverton is now stepping up to help out.
Services were actually canceled Sunday morning at the Bethel Congregational United Church of Christ due to the restriction on large gatherings. However, a small group assembled at the church in the evening to put together care packages for students who would otherwise have nothing.
“There’s macaroni and cheese, there are things that are easy to eat without too much prep,” said Pastor David Randall-Bodman.
This group of community members prepared bags of food for 150 homeless students at Beaverton High School.
“That’s about one out of ten,” said Volunteer Coordinator Nancy Winston with the Food Project for Beaverton High School Teens. She is also a church member at Bethel Congregational. “That’s a pretty serious problem.”
The group sprang into action after sudden school closures threatened to leave kids hungry.
“Because of the COVID-19, everything is going chaos and crazy, and we think it’s still important to serve the most vulnerable,” said Randall-Bodman. “So we want to help these kids at least feel like somebody cares about them.”
Beaverton High School students who suddenly had more time on their hands due to school closures joined in on today’s effort.
“Since we have so much free time now with an extra week off spring break, I am kind of happy I’m doing this,” said student Siyanne Abraham.
“It was kind of a surprise that all of a sudden school was canceled, so that’s what we’re doing today,” said student Mackenzie Ruff.
Bethel Congregational United Church of Christ provided the space to work and the manpower, along with other organizations. Cedar Mill Bible Church added gift cards to each bagged meal.
“It’s just really nice to see all this food go to someone who really needs it,” said Lexi Roper with Club Hope.
Volunteers said this was even more important because it’s unclear how long schools will be closed and students will be without food. They said it’s given them an outlet to help during a time when many feel helpless.
“With everything happening in the world right now, it’s important for everyone to come together and help each other,” said Camille Liggins with Club Hope.
“I think everyone is a little anxious with the COVID-19 virus and it feels good to be able to help out,” said Elena Woo, a student and Club Hope member.
“They are our neighbors,” said Randall-Bodman. “Jesus said love your neighbors, so that’s what we’re doing.”
Winston said they will drive the bagged meals over to Beaverton High School on Monday and counselors there will deliver them to the group of students in need.