SnowCap Community Charities used to receive much of its food pantry supply from school food drives. Now it sends more food to schools than it takes in.
Lynch Meadows Elementary School in east Portland used to hold canned food drives. Administrators stopped when they realized kids were donating food from their parents' cupboards, and parents were picking it up again at SnowCap.
Since the 2008 financial crisis, the number of Lynch Meadows students from low-income families has climbed from half to 83 percent of its 500 kids. At SnowCap, east Multnomah County's leading charity, food pantry visitors doubled, from 4,000 per month to 8,000.
That's just a snapshot of the persistently increasing need schools and charities everywhere have seen over the past four years — a need they have struggled, and sometimes failed, to meet.