The Path Back to “Normal”

2021 Spring Appeal

This is a weird time, isn’t it? So many of us are vaccinated, and daily life is starting to feel a little more familiar. Yet, there is still so much to be done before we can reach a new normal.

Vaccines come to us

In recent weeks, CSC has hosted four COVID vaccination clinics in collaboration with our medical partners at Outside In. With our program staff newly trained in how to approach vaccine skeptics, we’re doing all we can to protect our community members and bring an end to the health crisis wrought by COVID. So far, over 250 people have been vaccinated at the Center.

Meanwhile, despite improvements in the overall economy, local hunger relief organizations are seeing continued demand. Increasingly, we’re being asked to fortify other food aid programs that first emerged during the pandemic.

Sending food where it’s needed

One of the newer food aid efforts we’re supporting is based in a driveway just a mile from CSC. Last summer, Kristin Sassano began running a pop-up food pantry out of her driveway, after visiting another, similar pop-up several blocks away. Together, the two driveway pantries form the Unofficial Brentwood-Darlington Pop-Up Pantry.

“We realized there was this whole other pandemic happening behind the scenes, where people didn’t have access to food, especially fresh food,” Kristin says. After a CSC volunteer happened upon her grassroots food distribution event this winter, Kristin connected with us.

Kristin Sassano never expected to be running a food pantry out of her driveway, but she’s been at it for almost a year now.

Since early February, CSC has shared “at least an SUV’s worth of food every week,” Kristin says. “Between the two locations, we’re seeing 75-100 neighbors each week now. We wouldn’t be able to sustain at this level without Clackamas Service Center.”

While Kristin plans to keep her pantry going at least through August, other hunger relief efforts initially spurred by the pandemic are coming to an end. We’ve already taken on 200 clients from one shuttered program, and we’re in conversation with other organizations to absorb or bolster their efforts in the coming months.

Thanks to the generosity of supporters like you, we just hired a part-time staff member to help manage the many tons of food flowing in and out of our building each week.

With our reinforced staff team, we’re better positioned to take on more outreach, as pandemic aid programs come to an end. Tabitha Alajmi, our Food Operations Manager, has more time in her days to expand our reach.

“I know there are folks in our greater community who are food insecure and slipping through the cracks,” she says. “All I’ve needed is the hours in the day to connect with them.”

With your help, we’ve made it this far. As the world finds a new normal, we can’t leave anyone behind. Will you help us prevent hunger for hundreds more families this summer?

Make a gift today.


Debra Mason

P.S. Last week, the line for Kristin’s pop-up food pantry wrapped around the block. All kinds of people visit her pantry, but in particular, she sees a lot of seniors and multigenerational families. The one constant?

“Every single person who comes through tells us how grateful they are,” she says.

Our deepest thanks to Classic Business Printing Services for donating paper, ink, and time for the physical version of this newsletter.