Happy Valley group provides food, resources to immigrant families
HAPPY VALLEY Ore. (KPTV) - Every third Wednesday outside of Plenty Food and Deli in Happy Valley, an organization called Community Pulse Association sets up shop.
On tables sit stacks and stacks of boxes containing fresh produce like peppers, apples, and potatoes, along with canned items and other ingredients often found in Eastern European kitchens.
“A majority of our families are coming in today are refugees and immigrants from Ukraine and Eastern Europe,” said Olga Cherevatenko, who works with the organization. “People come here from their country and there is a gap of one week or two weeks to get a job or receive benefits from government. They need to survive somehow and we decided to organize such events to share food as well as educational events for communities so people can get resources, people get the necessary food and items before they become self-sufficient. We fill the gaps that other community services do not provide.”
Cherevatenko is an immigrant herself, she came to the U.S. 20 years ago. She says she understands the hardships of moving to a new country firsthand and doesn’t want others to feel burdened or stressed. That’s why they created events for those just arriving to the area.
“It’s very important for people to have a sense of community,” Cherevatenko said. “They are coming into a space where people speak their language and they get resources and information in their own language. It is so stressful for us immigrants. People who come in here not only learn about resources in their own language, they are also making connections. They are making friends. They learn and they get information about how to do the next step, how to get a job, how to get a driver’s license, and how to receive medical help. So it’s an all-in-one place.”
Recently Cherevatenko became an Oregon Food Bank ambassador. She says the Oregon Food Bank has helped their organization tremendously with providing food to those who need it.
“We were organizing resources to help those gets their driver’s license or getting a lawyer’s help with further immigration needs, but people came to us and shared they needed help fulfilling their basic needs,” Cherevatenko said. “It was really eye opening for us. We applied to the Oregon Food Bank and told them about the community needs. They came back to us with a plan for food distribution. Now we do it every third Wednesday of the month from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. right after work hours. The Oregon Food Bank sends a truck the day before full of goodies and our volunteers help to put the boxes together. We feed up to 200 families.”
Cherevatenko encourages everyone to get involved and help their community. At Plenty Food and Deli, they have a donation drop off box as well as a QR scan to get involved.
“People come in and it’s waves of thankfulness and it’s truly a blessing,” said Cherevatenko. “Nothing can replace that. Christmas is coming. You can bring toys or household items as well. We need to make 2023 a year full of food, full of joy, and full of happiness.”
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