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Volunteer to serve to-go meals at Blanchet House during the covid-19 coronavirus outbreak pandemic in Portland

Blanchet House serves to-go meals, takes-in closed restaurants’ food during COVID19 outbreak

In accordance with Gov. Kate Brown’s order to ban all seated dining of 25 people or more, we have pivoted to serving to-go meals. Our cafe doors are still open to the hungry three times a day, Monday to Saturday, but no one is allowed to eat inside. Gloved volunteers and residents are serving hot coffee, water and milk at one entrance and sack meals at the other in order to keep the lines reduced outside. We are doing our best to keep meal guests, volunteers, residents and staff healthy and safe while continuing to provide essential services.

Blanchet House is one of the few organizations in the Portland area that can collect, store, prepare and serve donated food from canceled events or closed restaurants. This donated food is critical to our ability to serve anyone in need of meals. On Tuesday, March 13, 3030, we handed out more than 1,200 to-go meals. Our guests are welcome to come through the hour-long service to take more than one bag if they wish. Now that we’ve switched to handing out meals instead of serving them, we’re in desperate need of to-go cups and containers. We can only serve hot meals like cooked rice with meat and vegetables if we can serve it in plastic or wax-lined paper containers.

A sample to-go breakfast this week was a brown bag containing a hard-boiled egg, doughnut, orange slices, and coffee to 250 people. For lunch, we were fortunate to have individually wrapped sandwiches for a canceled Oregon Convention Center event, crackers from the canceled Shamrock Run and spiced apples.

“Our numbers are going up and we’re seeing a lot of new faces,” says Executive Director Scott Kerman. “A lot of folks are knocking on our windows looking for help as they have nowhere to go and nothing to eat.”
Portland restaurant Tilt donated thousands of pounds of produce, meat and hamburger buns. We were unable to use all the produce so we shared it with Stone Soup, non-profit foodservice training organization hands-on culinary expertise to people who are at risk of homelessness.
“The need we are experiencing is a chasm that is only getting deeper,” Kerman says. “Our volunteers are superheroes. And the residents are working unbelievably hard and in great spirits.”
Blanchet House needs your support to continue offering essential services to the homeless, low-income, elderly and the vulnerable in our community. There are many ways you can help here. >>
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