On Saturday November 21, more than 200 volunteers from St. Rose of Lima parish will assemble to receive a blessing from Father Matt Libra before moving throughout five neighborhoods to collect almost 10,000 pounds of food in fewer than six hours. Volunteers will cover Rose City Park, Roseway, Cully, Beaumont-Wilshire and Hollywood neighborhoods.
“It’s the church’s largest service project of the year, and it’s aimed at keeping our pantry stocked for the better part of 2016,” Libra explained. It also brings the parish together as no other service project does, the priest added.
Dozens of parishioners staple food collection sacks to door hangers, families take the notices to every door in the parish the week before the drive, others make phone reminder calls and prepare food to keep volunteers going through the lunch hour. As the collected food comes in, other parishioners sort it for storage in the nearby pantry. So much is collected, it is usually shared with nearby parishes.
Throughout the year, about one dozen St. Rose St. Vincent de Paul Conference volunteers take food to those in need, serving about 100 individuals in 75 households weekly. Food collected in the food drive and donated weekly by parishioners is augmented by frozen meats and fresh produce from the Oregon Food Bank.