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by: JAIME VALDEZ - Tricia Hornback and Pastor Don Walters stock bread at the Tigard Community Friends Church food pantry on Hall Boulevard.Tricia Hornback wheels a small cart loaded with bread into the small room at the back of Tigard Community Friends Church on Hall Boulevard.

“This cart is our lifeline,” she says as she unloads the bread onto large racks.

The bread joins hundreds of cans of soup and boxes of macaroni that line the wall in preparation for this weekend, when the church opens its monthly food pantry for the area’s hungry.

The pantry started four months ago at the church after Hornback and others noticed a growing need for hunger relief programs around the community.

by: JAIME VALDEZ - The pantry stocks a variety of foods for families including canned goods, fresh produce, bread, beans and nonperishables.“There was a man who came into the church who said he didn’t have any place to go, and he didn’t have any food,” Hornback said. She took the man into her home for the night, but said that she began to notice more and more people struggling with hunger.

“There is so much need, it’s amazing,” said Hornback, who serves as an elder at the church. “We thought ‘What can we do?’ One thing we can do is have food and let people come get it.”

The food pantry offers nonperishables, bread, diapers and other essential items free of charge to anyone once a month. The pantry will open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 17.

The church joins a growing number of food programs across the city, including the Tigard Community Backpack Program, which gives food to elementary school students in Tigard, a pantry at Tigard Covenant Church and the St. Vincent De Paul food pantry at St. Anthony Church.

Hornback called hunger a hidden problem in the community.

“It’s right under our nose,” she said. “We all tend to ignore it, maybe by nature or habit, but when you look up and start to look for it, you start to see it.”

What: Food pantry for the area’s hungry

Where: Tigard Community Friends Church, 15800 S.W. Hall Blvd.

When: Saturday, Nov. 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

How much: Free

Want to contribute? The pantry is always looking for donated items including nonperishable food, diapers and other items to give to people at the food pantry. For more information about how you can help, call 503-620-7836.

So far the pantry has been small, spreading by word of mouth. Hornback estimated that about 120 people have come through the pantry since it opened last summer.

Hornback said she’d like to see the pantry grow and help more and more people.

The food is bought by church members or donated by the community, Hornback said. The Good Neighbor Center, a homeless shelter on Southwest Greenburg Road, donates fresh produce when they overstock.

The pantry often runs out of nonperishables before the end of the day and church members have to make trips to the store, Hornback said.

The idea is simple, she added, families take as much food as they need and enjoy a hot meal that day.

Most don’t want to be a burden and only take a few cans, Hornback said.

“We have to encourage people to take more,” she said. “We tell people, ‘You have a family of six, you need more tomato sauce or this or that. After a few times coming they start to realize we mean it. This isn’t some token ‘let us help you’ thing — we’re all in this together.’”

Hornbacker has seen people from all walks of life come to the pantry in need of help.

“There are moms that come in and don’t have food for themsleves, or an elderly couple that doesn’t get enough money every month to eat,” she said. “There was a woman who comes here at 9 a.m. every time. She works full time, but she can’t make the bills. And (there was) a family of eight that had nothing to eat the week before school started because there weren’t any school lunch programs.”

Although the pantry officially opens its doors once a month, Hornback said she encourages people to come whenever they need help.

“We tell people to come in any time,” she said.

It’s for that reason that Don Walters, the church’s pastor, said that he hopes to turn it into a weekly pantry by early next year.

“We have people drop in here during the week and ask for food and we don’t turn people away,” he said. “The whole point of this is not to be formalized and programmed. It’s to have food and if someone needs food we give it to them. We don’t want to have restrictions; we’re part of the community and want to do our part to serve one another.”

The food pantry is open this Saturday at Tigard Community Friends Church, 15800 S.W. Hall Blvd.

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