Take a Bite of East County
Proceeds benefit Zarephath food kitchen and pantry
Pork ribs, smoked wings, roasted corn, blackberry cobbler, cold brew there is really no need to travel all the way to downtown Portlands Bite of Oregon to celebrate the northwests bounty of good food and drink.
The Fairview Business Association is bringing the Bite to East County, 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10. at Fairview Community Park, 21872 N.E. Park Lane.
Restaurants from Fairview, Wood Village and Gresham will have plates to sell and sample dishes under $5 for the community to taste, including Bumpers Grill (American), Rock Wood Fired Pizza, Best Burger, Da Fatz Boyz BBQ, Alexander Sports Lounge (Mediterranean), Tapatio (Mexican) and Joe Teriyaki.
Local vendors like Bella Cupcakes, J Gelati, Wildwood Cafe and Coffees On will serve dessert and coffee, along with wines from Bumpers and craft beer from Brewligans Bottle Shop in Troutdale.
Music entertainment will feature blues artists Vicki Stevens and Sonny Hess, and singer songwriter Thad Beckman.
Entry to the family friendly event is a suggested $2 donation or two cans of food per person.
Proceeds will benefit Zarephath Kitchen and Pantry, a volunteer-run organization that has been feeding the hungry in Gresham for 24 years, serving hot meals to poor and homeless people six days a week.
The food pantry is run by nonprofit Zarephath Ministries, named in the Old Testament story, Widow of Zarephath, where a woman feeds hungry Elijah with what little flour and oil she has, and thereafter, no one ever goes hungry in her household.
Last year, volunteers provided 42,000 hot meals and handed out 9,000 three-day food boxes to families and individuals.
We feel very blessed with the opportunity to be connected with the Bite, said Pat Cutforth, Zarephath board member. We are always looking for ways to keep the pantry shelves filled and continue providing for folks in East County.
A majority of food donations Zarephath receives from the Oregon Food Bank. Local businesses and organizations, individual donors, and school food drives also help keep the shelves stocked.
Lately, the food pantry and kitchen, located at a house in the parking lot behind Trinity Lutheran Church at 59 N.W. Ava St., Gresham, has been relying on pounds of food donations from two local Wal-Marts, three Safeways and two Wincos in the area.
Cutforth said the Bite of East County was like frosting on the cake.
When staff expected a slow day on the first of August, the upstairs kitchen was packed- volunteers crammed in the kitchen, chopping vegetables, stirring soup and serving those pouring into the front door and sitting at tables in the main room.
On an average day, Zarephath serves 120 to 175 meals out of the kitchen and provides 20 to 45 families with food boxes.
Volunteers serve anybody who comes to the table hungry.
It wouldnt matter if you came in a business suit or filthy dirty rags, we serve you a hot meal and treat you with respect, Cutforth said.
Downstairs, more volunteers busily checked in people waiting to shop the shelves of the donated pantry items.
Families or individuals can sign up to get emergency food once a month for six months. Food boxes supply three days worth of food, but smart shoppers, Cutforth said, can make it last up to a week.
Shoppers have their choice of items that make up the food pyramid.
A mother with a 10-month-old baby strapped to her belly, makes her way down the stairs, two small kids tagging along behind her.
The family has just eaten lunch mushroom lentil soup with a side salad, buttered bread and apple slices. On her way out, carrying a box of muffins, she said, They wont go hungry.
Families are hurting, Cutforth said. On any give day things could happen. We all need help and thats what we are here for.
From a father and son to a Vietnam veteran living out of his truck to an elderly disabled man, the dining room at Zarephath feeds all walks of life.
Justin Karren, 32, has been coming in for lunch on and off for nine years, Everybody who works here is great. They all have smiles when they greet you. Karren said there have been stretches where he has not eat for days, and this would be my only meal, he said.
Founded in 1985 with a mission to feed the hungry in the greater Gresham area, the Zarephath soup kitchen is open Monday through Friday, and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pantry hours are every weekday except Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Best of the Bite
Made up of 12 or so business owners of Fairview, the Fairview Business Association meets once a month to discuss ways to draw folks to the citys local businesses and improve its economy.
Wanting to include not just Fairview, but the neighboring business community, the group came up with the Bite for East County.
The event is sponsored locally by Harrys Fresh Food with Teenys Fresh Foods and First Community Credit Union as co-sponsors.
Renaye Delano, a member of the Fairview Business Association and owner of Fairviews Kaardel Safety Services, said the purpose is to highlight the businesses and restaurants already here.
At the event, people can buy tickets to vote which restaurant they think has the best food or drink, the Best of Bite.
The winning restaurant will be announced at the end of the event.
Ticket buyers also have the chance to win raffle prizes and a $50 gift certificate to one of the restaurants at the Bite.
Its going to be great music, great food, great people and fun time for family, Delano said.