With coronavirus numbers steadily rising in the States, Oregon has become one of a number of states to issue a statewide school closure. With these closures arises the issue of childrens’ food security. According to Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, over 315,000 kids are eligible for free or reduced price meals, although only ~205,000 kids participate.
Click here for a comprehensive list of the Oregon school districts who are providing meal plans during the closures. Kids (age 1-18) do not have to attend that specific school or district to access free meals which are being made available “grab and go”.
Several Portland area businesses have also stepped up to provide food during this unprecedented time. UPDATE: In effect starting 3/17, Governor Kate Brown has issued an executive order shutting down the dining rooms of Oregon bars and restaurants. Many eateries are still offering takeout and/or delivery. Please confirm via businesses’ social media for the most up to date information. If you are or know of a business offering community resources, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bless Your Heart Burger’s NE 33rd Ave location is offering kids a complimentary single classic burger, kid’s cheeseburger, or hot dog when you order a “kid’s hot lunch”. One item per student, per day. Children are not required to be present.
- Canard is slingin’ free funfetti pancakes to kids 12 and under Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
- Fried chicken (and jojo’s, what else?!) food truck Jojo has eliminated in-person ordering in an effort to minimize person-to-person interactions, and added free, no questions asked kids meals to their menu.
- Beginning Monday 3/16 through the end of school closures, Kachka has created a new free kids menu for all children under the age of 12. Choose from four main items which all come with your choice of rhubarb kissel or milk, roasted broccoli, sliced pears, and a house baked pryanik cookie.
- Laughing Planet‘s multiple locations are providing free kids meals to kids who qualify for Meal Assistance Programs (honor system) from now until further notice.
- Both locations of Lionheart Coffee in Beaverton are providing free brown bag lunches for anyone who needs them starting Monday 3/16 and continuing for the foreseeable future. They are accepting donations to help support this program. Donations accepted: sunbutter, sandwich bread, jam/jelly, bags of chips, lunchbox sized fruit/veg, brown paper bags, sandwich bags.
- Lovejoy’s Tea Room’s social media and website states that they are happy to help out with a free meal to anyone who has limited funds and/or is in isolation/quarantine. They are also offering free delivery when you order any menu item. Contact them directly for either service.
- PDX Sliders is offering a free meal to any kid who needs it, no questions asked, just let the cashier know “school is out” when ordering.
- Stella Taco has switched to a pre-pay no contact pick up model and is also offering free meals to Meal Assistance Program (MAP) qualifying kids. Ask for a ‘school lunch’ and receive a choice of kids taco or quesadilla and a hearty rice and bean bowl.
- The SE Water Ave location of Sugar Street Bakery is offering free brown bag lunches at no charge to children and families who need them.
- Break Bread is offering free half sandwiches (meat, cheese, and sauce) to kids, no questions asked. They are located on 1106 NW Hoyt in the Pearl and are open from 9AM – 3:30PM Monday through Saturday.
For families in search of essentials or some good ol’ takeout, keep in mind that Portland’s Asian grocery stores may be stocked with items that big chains have run out of and this is a great time to support businesses who are adversely suffering from xenophobia. Check out this Eater Portland list for recommendations.
Janey Wong is an East Portland native and a freelance writer/social media manager. Her work ranges from copywriting to essays on food, culture, and identity. In her free time, she runs a food Instagram—@foodbbpdx, is an avid traveler, and a doting godmother to the best two year old ever.