Story by Phillip Jones
Nick was proud to be part of an event recognizing the contribution Potluck in the Park makes to our community on Sunday, when Wal-Mart awarded the organization a $50,000 grant.
The gift from Wal-Mart is part of its State Giving Program, which recognizes organizations nationwide working to create opportunities for people to live better.
Potluck in the Park has been serving meals in O'Bryant Square every Sunday afternoon for 20 years. The grant is the largest donation ever to be awarded to the non-profit, which serves 400-600 guests each week with an all-volunteer crew.
Hunger and homelessness are critical issues facing our community:
- More than 1,600 people sleep outside each night
- More than 50,000 Oregonians are struggling with hunger - and the number is rising
- Half of all Multnomah County kids are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches at school
The organization saw a nearly 20% increase in the number of guests between early 2010 and early 2011, making a gift of this kind more significant than perhaps ever before. Board Chair Cheri Baber told the Oregonian's Matt Buxton, "Potluck has been hand-to-mouth for 15 to 16 of its years, and this kind of thing changes everything for us."
Hunger and inadequate nutrition stifle creativity, impact our health and intellect, and damage our capacity to learn and be our best. We're working to address food insecurity through the Community Garden Initiative, which hopes to add 1,000 new plots by the end of 2012. We're fortunate to also have community partners like Potluck in the Park - and the private sector groups that sponsor them - helping to address food insecurity in the Portland area.