By Karen Wells | CNA Media Team
Marie M. is a talkative, friendly elder and longtime resident of Humboldt Gardens Apartments in nearby Humboldt neighborhood.
She’s one of about 20 residents who gather in the community room for the weekly Mobile Market hosted by Humboldt Gardens/ Home Forward and sponsored by Urban Gleaners.
It’s one of five Urban Gleaners Mobile Markets in north and northeast Portland. The others are at Charles Jordan Community Center, Cathedral Gardens Apartments, Hacienda CDC and Peninsula Park Community Center.
Mobile Market is a program sponsored by Urban Gleaners (UG), which was founded in 2006 with the mission of reducing food waste and alleviating hunger in the Portland area.
The Mobile Market is a drop-off site for a variety of foodstuffs for distribution to families with children, elders and/or neighbors in need of additional food. Items available for selection are arranged attractively by site staff to support the dignity of recipients. No questions are asked. If a person is in need of food, he or she is welcome to participate.
Neighborhood Gleaners (NG) is a partnership between Hollywood Senior Center and Hollywood Farmer’s Market. It grew out of a special project started at the Northeast Community Center. In 2010, NG moved to the Hollywood Senior Center (HSC) to continue its work of distributing “leftover” produce from the Hollywood Farmers Market (HFM) to seniors in need of food.
Volunteers clad in black aprons collect HFM vendor food/produce donations. Monday mornings, starting at 8:30, the HSC is abuzz with food distribution.
Seniors bring bags, and share stories about cooking, with some participants polishing their English language skills. NG, like all nutrition organizations, serves a diverse population. It partners with Kitchen Share Northeast to offer an annual Thanksgiving Dinner at HSC. NG cooks, serves, decorates and cleans up.
The Thanksgiving dinner is the highlight of NG’s season – and a holiday highlight for 70 seniors, who go home with leftovers.
Karen is a retired early childhood community educator, health and safety trainer. Reach her at 619.244.7892.