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Portland sisters say food assistance from Sunshine Division helped relieve some worry during pandemic

More than two years after the start of the pandemic, many people are still struggling to get back on their feet.
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 6:30 AM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - This month, you can help local families in need by donating to the FOX 12 Hunger Free Project food drive at any Fred Meyer store. More than two years after the start of the pandemic, many people are still struggling to get back on their feet, and that’s why the Sunshine Division says it’s providing more food than ever.

“It was devastating to our family. It was a big deal,” Megan said. “My husband is our head bread winner, so him being away from his job was a huge hit.”

At the start of the pandemic when much of the world shut down, so did Megan’s husband’s workplace. This left them with nearly no money coming in.

“You’ve burned through everything you’ve saved, and you keep calling, ‘Are we going back? Is there a call back from work?’”

Megan and her family turned to the Sunshine Division for help. A story shared by thousands of people in the Portland metro area, including her own sister.

“I had just gotten a new job, but I wasn’t able to start it,” said Cassidy.

Cassidy was about to start a new job when the pandemic hit. She said that’s when she joined her sister in the need for food assistance to help put food on the table for her two teens.

“We would go together to save on gas. We would go, ‘Hey sis, you want to go get a couple food boxes with me,’ and I’d be like, ‘Yes, I’m out too,’” Cassidy said. “So we’d ride together and go get boxes.”

Sunshine Division’s Kyle Camberg said since the start of the pandemic, they’ve given out more than 300,000 food boxes, equating to more than 7 million meals.

“A little over a year ago was the greatest we’ve ever seen. Nearly 10 times as many households as we’ve ever served were coming to us on a weekly basis,” he said.

While the need has dropped since last year, Camberg said they’re still serving four times as many families as they did in 2019. He said the impact of something so devastating, like the pandemic, can have a trickle effect that lasts years.

For sisters Megan and Cassidy, they said being able to lean on the Sunshine Division for food helped relieve some of their worry during a challenging time.

“Things got really low. They made it easy to get help and not feel funny about it, because no one wants to ask for that kind of help. It’s not an easy thing, especially if you’re used to taking care of yourself and things change like that. So yeah, we were lucky,” said Megan.

The Sunshine Division has provided emergency food to local people in need for nearly 100 years.

You can help by donating to the FOX 12 Hunger Free Project food drive at any Fred Meyer from now through April 22. For more information, click here.