PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With thousands of newly unemployed it should come as no surprise that food is an increasingly big concern for families in the Portland area.
The Sunshine Division has traditionally played a role in providing food for the area, and now they have delivered more food in the last three months than they did during the entire year of 2019. They have been swamped by new requests for food and they are meeting those new requests with help from some allies you might not expect.
One of Sunshine Division’s new allies: the organizers of the Hood to Coast Relay. The annual Timberline to Seaside relay is canceled this year but instead of putting their stuff away and waiting for next year, HTC is putting some of its logistics skills to work — not to run a road race, but to help feed people in need.
“There’s a registration system that we normally use for race participants that we’re now using for people to get contactless home delivery of food in a time of crisis,” Dan Floyd of Hood to Coast said. “The logistics is just like organizing a race route and getting people on time to certain locations as would be exchanged for Hood to Coast.”
The new home distribution initiative is in addition to Sunshine’s food box pantries, which have also seen a surge in demand. With help from Hood to Coast and Portland Police Bureau volunteers, the Sunshine Division has been able to deliver one million meals from their facility in just the last three months.
“We’ve done more in three months during COVID-19 than we did in all of 2019 and that was our busiest year ever [in our] 97-year history,” Kyle Camberg of Sunshine Division said. “We’ve never seen anything like this.”
The times demand it — and the Sunshine Division with new help and support from Hood to Coast race organizers are responding. It’s a collaboration of disparate entities bringing specific skills together to tackle the soaring demand for free food as the virus shows no signs of letting up.