Over the summer, my brother and I helped out everyday at the Sunshine Pantry located in Beaverton, Oregon. It was a truly wonderful experience to be able to help so many families in need.
My daily tasks included sorting through the bread to make sure none of it had gone bad in the summer heat, repackaging large quantities of foods into smaller family sized portions, occasionally filling boxes for the families, and sweeping up when the day was done.
The pantry was started as a cub scout project and was carried on by Sharon Straus. Sharon is hands down the nicest lady to ever walk the face of the Earth. Volunteering over the summer was completely worth it just to meet this extrordinary woman. If you are ever having a bad day, go help out at the pantry and spend the day around Sharon. There is a light in there that can make anybody smile and you will leave not being able to remember what had made your day so terrible.
The pantry receives most of its food from local stores that have excess food, the Beaverton School District, and private donations. One of the missions of the pantry is to educate the public about food usage in Oregon. Oregon does not have a food shortage problem, but rather a food waste problem. Many stores and restaurants will throw away all of their food at the end of the day when that food could actually go to a place like the Sunshine pantry, be repackaged, and then distributed to local families in need.
The Sunshine pantry gladly welcomes any donations. It is also the perfect place to help with scout projects. There is a list of items that are always needed at the pantry on it's website below. From my own experience, things in high demand are diapers, toilet paper, dairy products, and easy kid-friendly foods like Mac&Cheese.
Visit the Pantry website here to find out how you can help out or just to see what the Pantry is all about.