Nonprofits benefit from New Seasons’ ‘Bag It Forward’ donating $1 million

Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 11:38 AM PST
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Nonprofit p:ear is based in Old Town Portland. It helps youth experiencing homelessness stay busy with several activities but needs the money to fund the offerings.

“All of that is what we know makes a whole human being,” development director Brandie Rajbhandari said. “So aside from someone who is experiencing homelessness saying, ‘Here’s a meal, here’s a toothbrush’ and you’re out the door.”

P:ear offers the youth mentorship, help finding a job, education, field trips, recreational opportunities, full meals, art supplies, a library and clothing. Rajbhandari said it hopes they find a purpose.

“They deserve, especially as a young person, to explore what it is they want to do,” she said. “Who they want to be in this world.”

P:ear is one of the nonprofits that has benefited from New Seasons’ Bag It Forward program.

If customers bring in their own bags, the store will donate the five-cent fee for each bag to a nonprofit. The store has now given out $1 million to 231 different nonprofits since the program began in 2016.

“I think it’s really good for customers to come in and see the posted sign of where the money’s going,” New Seasons Williams Avenue front end manager Dean Underwood said.

Underwood said when Bag It Forward started, he didn’t think it would get to this point.

“What’s funny is it was like ‘Oh, five cents here, five cents there,’” he said. “It’s kind of crazy how it does add up over time and makes such a big impact in all the communities around town.”

Rajbhandari said it has helped keep youth in the Portland area on the right path.

“They have done everything from giving financially,” she said. “From sponsoring some of our events that bring in our largest fundraisers of the year.”

Store managers thank their staff for counting all of the donations as customers come through the checkout line and also thanking them for those contributions.