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Drop off a food donation and help Lake Oswegans in need

Heading to the Lake Oswego library for some computer time or to grab a good book, or to LO City Hall for an exciting board, commission or City Council meeting? If so, take along a few non-perishable food items or toiletries and drop them off in the barrels marked “Tualatin School House Pantry” located in the lobbies of the library and City Hall. By doing so, you’ll be helping over 150 families in need who live right here in Lake Oswego.

Tualatin School House Pantry (TSHP) is a warm, friendly and well-used emergency food bank located in the lower level of Rolling Hills Church on Borland Road. They serve only residents of Lake Oswego, West Linn, Durham and Tualatin by providing an opportunity for monthly, volunteer-guided shopping for a five-day supply of groceries and toiletries. Need is not questioned, and all that is required to receive assistance is identification to show residency in one of the cities served.

TSHP is part of the Oregon Food Bank and shares in its mission to eliminate hunger and its root causes. TSHP operates with a volunteer staff that is dedicated to serving others. One such dedicated volunteer is Lake Oswego resident Joanne Clayton, who received the 2013 “Spirit of the Pantry” award. In fact, it’s Joanne who will be checking the barrels at the Lake Oswego library and City Hall and bringing the items to TSHP.

Other local support is provided by both Lake Oswego-based chapters of the mother-daughter community service organization National Charity League (NCL). Earlier this year, the Lake Oswego NCL chapters conducted a joint food drive that netted over 8,000 pounds of food and toiletries — the largest single collection effort of any organization that supports TSHP. And I’ve seen the good work and benefits of TSHP firsthand, as NCL has provided my 13-year old daughter Maura and me the opportunity to volunteer at TSHP to help sort donations, make “birthday boxes” and separate bulk donations into smaller quantities. Maura and I are always uplifted by the generosity we see in the donations and the love and respect of others we experience at TSHP.

So I hope you will join me in supporting TSHP by providing food and toiletries to our neighbors in need. Let’s fill up those barrels at the library and City Hall! Current critical needs are: canned peas, canned tuna fish, canned tomatoes (sliced/diced/stewed), canned chili, boxed mac and cheese, canned kid pasta, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner and bar soap. And they can always use extra paper grocery bags.

Your food donations provide a direct, compassionate connection with people in our community who are hungry. There couldn’t be a more important reason to go to the Lake Oswego library or City Hall.

If you’d like more information about TSHP and how to access its services, volunteer or provide a tax-deductible financial contribution, phone 503-783-0721 or see their website at schoolhousepantry.org.

Lauren Hughes is a Lake Oswego city councilor.

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