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Food assistance on the move

Sandy Community Action Center takes its mission on the road to Boring

Some Boring residents that normally wouldn’t be able to access the Sandy Community Action Center food pantry because of lack of transportation now have full cupboards thanks to a new mobile program launched this week. POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Sandy Community Action Volunteer Peter Hoffman packs a box with food for a family at Pioneer Mobile Home Park in Boring.

On Monday, July 13, volunteers from the Action Center and Director Dawn Loomis assembled boxes and coolers full of food, packed them in a van and delivered the supplies to Pioneer Mobile Home Park on Bluff Road in Boring.

In June, the center changed its pantry hours in order to make time to launch a mobile program. The idea was to increase service to the population of Boring, since the pantry serves the Oregon Trail School District, spanning from Boring to Government Camp.

The Action Center’s Sandy food pantry, located at 38982 Pioneer Blvd., serves 250-300 families a month, said Loomis, and 65 percent of them are from Sandy. POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Sandy Community Action Center brought food supplies to families in need at Pioneer Mobile Home Park in Boring on Monday, July 13.

“We wanted to make it more accessible,” she said to residents at the Boring Community Planning Organization on July 7. “We realize those numbers are that way because you can’t get to us.”

Boring doesn’t have buses that travel off the main roads and it doesn’t have a food pantry of its own.

“We just don’t have anything out here,” said Tina Carey, property manager at Pioneer Mobile Home Park. “We really count on our adjoining towns and cities for services.”POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - In addition to nonperishable foods, action center clients got to pick fresh produce to bring home.

“The school district had let us know that this is an area in need,” said Loomis. She added the 100 unit park likely has a large elderly and migrant worker population.

On July 13, Loomis and three other volunteers showed up at the park not really knowing what to expect. They came equipped with 10 food boxes packed to feed a family of 1-2 and several coolers and crates of food for clients to self-shop and pack more into their boxes.

Each box was pre-packed with non-perishable foods and clients were allowed select additional items — two fresh produce items, two packages of meat, a bag of frozen vegetables, four potatoes, two boxes of snack items, two bread items and a carton of eggs.POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Mobile Park Property Manager Tina Carey picks food to deliver to a tenant unable to make it to the mobile pantry on Monday.

At the end of the day, the group had exceeded their expectations of what they thought they would need. They had 11 families come to collect boxes.

Luckily, volunteers had asked clients if there was anything in the boxes they would not use. Throughout their shift they collected a box of extras and were able to put together a substitute box to give out as well.

Loomis said they will most likely pack extra boxes to bring to the park next month.

Carey called needy tenants to remind them prior to the visit and got a grateful response.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for the people struggling to get by; for us to help them,” Carey noted. “For me it’s about helping people.”

She said as manager she often gets to know a lot of the park's tenants as well as their hardships and challenges.

One tenant in particular drew Carey’s friendly reminder, a single mom she knows has been working hard to provide for her kids.

Carey said when she spoke to her on the phone, the woman was grateful for the opportunity since she has a growing grocery list but no money to shop with.POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Sandy Community Action Center volunteers came ready with 10 family food boxes to Pioneer Mobile Home Park on Monday.  Caption #6: The 10 boxes action center volunteers brought on Monday were barely enough. They plan to bring more next month.

“Even the gas she can save and the time,” Carey added. “As a single mother myself, I know how appreciative you get for anything that can save you time.”

The Sandy Community Action Center mobile pantry will return to the Pioneer Mobile Home Park from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. the second Monday of each month. In order to serve more of Boring’s needy communities, the mobile pantry also will commute to the Boring Fire Station, 28655 S.E. Highway 212, on the fourth Monday of each month.