LHS Food Pantry Club: Providing Aid During the Pandemic

Sign up with Google Classroom code fv7zrl6

Alexis+Evans%28left%29+and+Riley+McDowell%28right%29+packing+a+box+full+of+food+for+a+client+at+SVDP%27s+pantry+on+Grant+Avenue+in+Tigard.

Alexis Evans(left) and Riley McDowell(right) packing a box full of food for a client at SVDP’s pantry on Grant Avenue in Tigard.

Eric Folmer, Editor

On Saturday mornings when they are in need of volunteers, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul’s food pantry on Grant Avenue in Tigard is primarily staffed by LHS students.

The pantry is open every day of the week except for Sunday, causing cars to pull in at differing hours from day to day to pick up a box full of perishable and nonperishable food items. The main task that the LHS volunteers carry out for the place is filling those boxes from a line of freezers with glass doors taller than the average human and contents ranging from canned proteins and vegetables to instant meals ready to be boiled or microwaved. 

SVDP didn’t become a common haunt for these students at random: their volunteering there is coordinated by the Lakeridge Pantry Club, an organization that was founded last December to help staff nearby food pantries. 

The club was founded by Club President Daniel Zhang and Club Vice President Aaron Tran and is supervised by Spanish teacher Alexandra Byers. The group mainly operates in that SVDP location and a Hunger Fighters pantry on Hazel Road in Lake Oswego, only operating when there are openings available. 

Zhang and Tran started the club after volunteering on their own for some time.

“Me, Daniel, and a couple of our other friends were volunteering for the past year, during our freshman year,” said Tran. “We enjoyed it a lot, so we decided we wanted to take it up for ourselves, and try to manage something to help other people and try to outreach to people who may not have volunteered before, and try to help them understand the joy that we feel when we volunteer.” 

Zhang in particular mentioned that using the pantries for himself when he lived in New York made him want to volunteer at food pantries. Tran also had a more personal reason to volunteer.

“Let’s be honest, Lake Oswego is a very rich community,” said Tran. “And it’s tough seeing people struggle when I’m just living off of my parents.”

The club started last October, so it hadn’t existed prior to the pandemic, but food pantries in general have had to change to accommodate it. Most pantries can no longer let clients inside, having to serve them outside of the building. SVDP uses a “drive-through” system to provide people with food packages. While the clients have less input with this system than they might have had in the past, they can still get replacement items if they have any dietary restrictions. 

The club is still ongoing, and the founders encourage any LHS student to join. They operate through a google classroom with a code of “fv7zrl6.” Anyone interested would just have to fill out a form on the classroom page and then sign up for volunteering positions as they come up on the page.