Swallowing your pride and asking for help with basic needs is not easy. Yet thousands in Portland must do it every day. In the PACS food pantry, health clinic and thrift store, the goal is not simply to meet basic needs for struggling families, but to give a little bit of dignity back to each person in the process, as Christ did. It is a vital step in the process of empowerment and inspiration that these individuals need to get back on their feet.
A vast mix of people come to the PACS Food Pantry. Each has
their own background and story. Elisa is one of those people. Her fortunes crumbled when the
boss she had thrived under passed away. She quickly found herself unemployed,
struggling to get back on her feet, and running out of food. As Elisa tries to get her life back on track, she has
avoided going hungry, thanks to the PACS Food Pantry. She says she doesn’t come
every month. There are people who need it more. But when push comes to shove,
the pantry is there for her. We went through the pantry with
Elisa in mid-March to capture her experience. It was a crowded day, as is still
too often the case since the Great Recession. On this day, the line behind the
checkout stand extended all the way to the entrance.
Elisa had brought a friend with her. Steven was an older
gentleman on a fixed income. As Elisa chose her food, she paused often to help him
decipher his shopping list and choose the best items. As the line of peopl…
Two women of influence at PACS went to sleep until heaven this last January. Iris Stanley (pictured left), and Barbara Nelson-Rienderhoff (pictured right) both had a significant impact for on the organization, and the people it serves. IRIS STANLEY Just a few weeks ago, if you called PACS in the morning, you would have heard Iris Stanley’s calm voice on the other end of the line. But on Friday, January 19, she called in sick, and less than a week later, she had fallen asleep in Jesus. She was 88. She is survived by her sons Spenser and Herb, as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In spite of an ongoing heart condition, Iris refused to retire. She preferred her PACS friends over being home alone. She once told Paul Cole, PACS’ Executive Director, “You can raise or lower my wages, you can increase or cut my hours, but don’t tell me I can’t come to PACS.” Having once worked for the governor of Singapore, Iris had exceptional office and clerical skills. Her proof-reading w…