SnowCap Community Charities got a bit of help from KeyBank employees May 14, who stopped by to assist other volunteers and staff distributing donated food to the agency’s clients.

The employees work at KeyBank’s branch at 148th Avenue and Division Street and were participating in the bank’s 23rd annual “Neighbors Make a Difference Day.”

More than 8,000 Key employees nationwide partnered with local nonprofit agencies to make a difference in their communities, according to information from the financial institution.

SnowCap seemed like an ideal place to volunteer, according to Luis Calderon, a relationship manager at the Division Street SNOWCAP - The community garden at SnowCap Community Charities helps feed low-income folks in East County. The agency invites people to consider planting an extra row of edibles in their gardens this year, and donate them to low-income folks.

“It’s within the community of our bank, and I wanted to give back to the community,” he said of SnowCap.

His coworker, bank teller Tony Nguyen, echoed Caldron’s sentiments, adding that he was struck by the number of folks who lined up for boxes of food at SnowCap’s headquarters at 17805 S.E. Stark St., behind Rockwood United Methodist Church.

“I’m just not familiar with this,” he said of the number of people in need of food. “The lines ... were long.”

Judy Alley, SnowCap’s executive director, said clients are allowed up to six visits yearly to obtain food boxes for themselves and/or their families. The “Neighbor” day is a special bonus.

“We realize that the average family on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — food stamps — runs out of food about the 17th of each month,” she said. “So it is particularly gratifying to be able to offer a little extra food to families in such need. We were able to feed 135 families today.”

SnowCap helps feed more than 8,000 people — including more than 3,000 children — per month.

To drop off donations, visit 17788 S.E. Pine St., one block north of Stark Street, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, call 503-674-8785, or visit

SnowCap looking to cause a row

If you’re planting a garden this year, SnowCap Community Charities invites you to plant one more row than you originally planned and donate what sprouts to the hungry of East Multnomah County.

“What you eat is even more important than how much you eat,” said Judy Alley, the agency’s executive director. “Teaching children to like vegetables at an early age will guarantee them better health and the rest of us fewer healthcare bills. Sharing your abundant harvest can have a huge impact for the good.”

SnowCap’s clients are often working folks who struggle to make ends meet, people who fall through the cracks of the area’s social service floor. Take Loren, a landscaper who battled cancer when he was young and has suffered a variety of health ailments since.

He said he usually grows a garden each year to help feed him and his wife, who works at a sporting goods store.

“I just needed food,” he said, noting the couple had just paid their rent. He’d love to enjoy any onions folks decide to donate.

“I eat ‘em raw,” he said with a smile.

A woman named Donna walked with her 4-year-old granddaughter, Emma, out of SnowCap after they picked up food to feed themselves and two other grandchildren who live with her full-time.

The single woman has a job, she said, but with so many mouths to feed, sometimes her income is not enough. Her eyes teared up a little as she described the challenges she faces.

“I’m trying to catch up with all my bills,” she says. “I paid my rent, my telephone and my car insurance.”

So food comes last in her budget, as it does for many SnowCap clients.

However, her face brightened when asked if she would appreciate some fresh vegetables from time to time.

“Cherry tomatoes,” she said, “I can toss them in anything!”

SnowCap Community Charities is a philanthropic organization created to provide food, clothing, advocacy and other services to the poor.

— Rob Cullivan

Contract Publishing

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