Volunteers pack bags of food for about 120 homeless students at Beaverton HS

Volunteers at a Beaverton church are working to prevent homeless teens from going hungry during spring break.
Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 12:18 PM PDT
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BEAVERTON, Ore. (KPTV) - Volunteers are working to prevent homeless teens in Beaverton from going hungry during spring break.

Volunteers are loading and delivering 7,200 pounds of food to keep roughly 120 homeless students at Beaverton High School fed next week. Each homeless student at the high school will get six bags to last them through the nine days school will be closed, including two weekends.

During the school year, many students in need get free or reduced breakfasts and lunches at school.

Without this kind of effort, that safety net falls away.

“The school district closes the cafeterias during spring and winter breaks, and the students would be hungry without this food,” said Nancy Winston, a volunteer at Bethel Congregational United Church of Christ.

District-wide about 25 percent of students this year have signed up for free or reduced meals during the school year. At Beaverton High School, it’s more than a third of the student body.

The food giveaway program is spearheaded by the Bethel Congregational United Church of Christ in Beaverton. The Oregon Food Bank and local grocery stores donate food, and the city of Beaverton helps out financially as well. Alumni from Jesuit High School provide gift cards so students can buy fresh produce.

The program started seven years ago, and it has a special meaning for Winston. When her son was in high school, one of his friends was homeless, so she took him in.

“I learned how grateful he was to have our home and have a family environment which he had never had before,” she said.

Volunteers pack bags of food for about 120 homeless students at Beaverton HS
Volunteers pack bags of food for about 120 homeless students at Beaverton HS(KPTV)

For homeless students who don’t have a place to keep six bags of groceries, they can pick up the bags one at a time during spring break from a special storage area.

The food sorted at the church will be delivered to Beaverton High School, and counselors make sure the food goes to the right students.

Officials with the Beaverton School District said there are more than 1,000 homeless students in the entire district. Tuesday’s food giveaway only helps about 10% of them, but there are other ways for these students and families to get food over the break.

For more information, click here.