Thursday, May 3, 2012

They Need Everything Like We Do by Elanie F.

The OES Annual Neighborhood House Food and Hygiene Drive (AKA Project Second Wind) ends May 9th this year. It is part of a project called Emergency Food Box under the non-profit organization Neighborhood House. Some returning students and faculty may have recognized that the name of the event has changed from “Food Drive” to “Food and Hygiene Drive” with an emphasis especially on diapers, shampoos and toilet paper.

Question: Why hygiene?
Answer: Because it’s needed daily and isn’t covered by food stamps!        

Just like food is essential for survival, hygiene items are a daily necessity as well. For example, little babies do not know how to control their excretory system yet––are you asking the families to wash fabric diapers five times a day? When an unemployed young man is trying to get a job, what will he do if he does not have any deodorant to make himself smell better? The lack of hygiene items may have just prevented him from getting a job and using his own power to change his situation! And no one wants to see a lack of toilet paper in their bathroom at home––it’s the same with neighborhood house families. On a daily basis, people who have no food will go hungry; people who have no hygiene items will struggle without the ability to stay healthy and care for their personal needs...
WHO ARE WE HELPING?
The program Emergency Food Box under Neighborhood House is open to all of the Portland area, but the food boxes from OES only go to a small group living in the Southwest. There is a wide range of beneficiaries: poor college students, families with single parents, immigrant families as well as disabled people. Every dollar that Neighborhood House has can buy five pounds of food from the Oregon Food Bank––which is exactly how much fills one of the food boxes we have. However, one full food box only supports one family for about 3-5 days. Each family only receives one box of food every month, and because some families are larger than others, some families struggle more for a lack of food. While we throw away extra food left in our cafeteria, those families have been poor and hungry generationally, and they are not able to escape from poverty without our help.

HOW MUCH CAN WE DO?
Roughly 50,000 pounds of food or equivalent hygiene items are needed every month, and that would cost $10,000 just buying it all food from the Oregon Food Bank. About 600 families, or 1,800 individuals, are always in need, with the number increasing, too. Neighborhood House cannot always meet the need, so our support has been very helpful. Consider this: one size 4-6 diaper costs nearly a dollar. How can parents who are struggling to have shelter and provide food, have enough money to buy diapers? Everything that Neighborhood House receives will be divided up and sent to different families, and the more we donate, the more we can support families in need. “We are not sending supplies to people who are making the choice between a vacation or a car, but to people who are making hard decisions between choosing food, shelter and medical care,” explained Delena Meyer, the representative from Neighborhood House. Please do what you can and bring in your donation today!

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