PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In recent years Thanksgiving Week has become the busiest week for the Sunshine Division. They are now serving 4 times as many households than they ever were before the pandemic.
But Monday was the busiest single day in the Sunshine Division’s century-long history.
“This holiday season, emergency crisis food relief is a huge need right now in our community, but really the entire country,” said Executive Director Kyle Camberg.
Camberg, who has led the Sunshine Division for more than a decade, said they’re addressing food insecurity nearly every day year-round.
And this day was unlike anything he’s ever seen.
“We actually served more families just in the morning than we ever have in a single day in the entire day,” he told KOIN 6 News.
A line of people and cars wrapped around the building. More than 1,200 households came to the Sunshine Division to pick up a Thanksgiving meal, plus hundreds more boxes were delivered to people’s homes.
That is double the number of families from their previous busiest record — 630 people in a single day.
“It tells me that the need in Portland has never been greater,” he said. “And now really we’re seeing the inflationary trends.”
The big factor in Portland, he said, is the cost of living, gas and groceries.
“We are seeing and hearing from families, many families where it’s two-income families that are just not able to make ends meet,” Camberg said.
A box of food for the holiday gives nourishment, peace and hope.
“I just heard from so many people the same thing over and over; it was gratitude. It was people saying, ‘God bless you.’ Thank you for doing this, thank you to the donors and the folks that make this happen,” he said.
It’s an honor for the Sunshine Division to continue this tradition for the 100th holiday season, he said. With more people in need than ever before in our area, it’s been really hard for the Sunshine Division to keep up. They exist on small gifts and food drives.
Camberg stressed they desperately need the community support to supply the demand.