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Salvation Army gives food to 800 needy, at Eastport Plaza

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Recipients patiently wait in line at Eastport Plaza on July 10th, ready to receive packages of food, household goods, and clothing.Volunteers unloaded two full semi-truck-trailers of food onto the Eastport Plaza parking lot, on S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses just north of Holgate Boulevard, on the morning of Wednesday, July 10.

Then they started setting up stations where they’d present 2,400 boxes of food, hygiene, and household products, to 800 local families in need.

“This is a partnership between The Salvation Army and Feed The Children’s HYPERLINK "www.americansfeedingamericans.org/" Americans Feeding Americans project,” explained Salvation Army Director of Communications and Marketing Teresa Engel, as people lined up for the distribution. “This caravan goes across the country dropping off food for major distributions, like this one in Southeast Portland.”

The local volunteers, she explained, find a location – then organize the distribution, and invite the families who come into their centers asking for aid, to participate.

“Some of those here have vouchers they received through our outreach,” Engel said. “Others, who learned about it through their friends or other community sources, can sign up right here. No one in need is turned away.”

These programs are important, Salvation Army Captain Raymond Dihle remarked, “Because people are hungry, and in need of the simplest of things. The need for food and personal hygiene products – simple things that many people take for granted – continues to stay at a high level.”

The pre-packaged boxes being given out contained canned foods and other non-perishable items, household products such as paper towels and toilet paper, hygiene items like soap and deodorant, and household cleaners. A long line led to the station for socks – available from toddler to adult sizes.

The Salvation Army corps of volunteers and staff were joined by about 80 volunteers from civic organizations – and the business community joined in to help move the recipients through check-in, then to the stations to receive their boxes of food and goods.

“This helps my family so much,” said Salou Chaem, as she picked up her boxes, with the help of volunteer Nichole Shepherd. “Today, I am very very happy.”