PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — “Unprecedented does not do it justice.”
That’s how Kyle Camberg, the Executive Director of the Sunshine Division, described how this holiday season has been unlike any before. “It’s something we’ve never seen, we could’ve never planned for.”
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the non-profit Sunshine Division distributed 15,000 holiday meals across the entire Portland metro.
Because of the pandemic, the wildfires, the economic shutdown, about 1 in 4 residents in Oregon is experiencing food insecurity. That makes places like the Sunshine Division extremely busy. Many of those who need help right now have never needed to ask for help before.
“We’re getting calls and emails daily from people that said, ‘You know, I used to be a donor’ or ‘I used to volunteer and I need a little bit of help,'” Camberg told KOIN 6 News.
Since April, the Sunshine Division has served 10 times as many households as they did in 2019, he said.
“It’s really heartbreaking right now because so many people, through absolutely no fault of their own, have had their worlds turned upside down.”
Volunteers lined up in their cars to help deliver Christmas meals to 2500 households. Without this box filled with a turkey and all the fixings, some families wouldn’t have had a holiday meal.
But the need won’t end after the holidays are past, Camberg said.
“We know we’re going to be very busy in 2021. This challenge, this problem, really the crisis that our community’s facing, doesn’t end on December 26,” he said. “It doesn’t end on probably February 26. This is going to be our new normal for quite some time.”
But the Sunshine Division needs community support to continue helping people at this level. Donations are easy to do online.