Hundreds pack thousands of meals for hungry

More than 200 volunteers packed 40,000-plus meals during Oregon Feed A Dream, a project to package food for the hungry on Sunday, Oct. 13, at La Salle Prep.
Dressed in work clothes, blue hairnets, and clear gloves, the volunteers formed assembly lines around rectangular tables set up in the gym. Then they scooped dried rice and lentils into bags before passing the bags down the line to be sealed, boxed, and labeled with cooking instructions.
Approximately 13,000 of the meals will go to Northwest residents in need, including families whose children attend Lot Whitcomb Elementary in Milwaukie. Thanks to the nonprofit Friends & Family Community Connection, the other 27,000 meals will be shipped to The Bahamas, where Hurricane Dorian flattened much of the landscape and left thousands homeless in September.
"I enjoyed it because I knew we were helping feed 40,000 people," said Lucy Lawton '21, one of a few dozen La Salle students who volunteered on Sunday. 
The event was a partnership between the Dream Dinners Foundation and Dream Dinners of Clackamas and Beaverton, two stores where families assemble meals to take home and freeze until needed. The $16,000 funding for the project came from cash and in-kind donations from the foundation, sponsors, Dream Dinner guests, and friends and families of organizers.
Melvin Murdock, the owner of the Dream Dinners franchise in Clackamas, said he is glad his business can help families of Lot Whitcomb Elementary School, where nearly 80 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch.
"We know there are a lot of people and kids in our community who are struggling with hunger and our mission at Dream Dinners is getting people back around the dinner table with a home-cooked dinner," he said. 
With a DJ blaring Katy Perry music and cheering on the volunteers during their shifts ("You've packed 30,000 meals so far!"), the packing party felt downright festive. Many said that doing good lifted their spirits.
"It makes me feel great knowing I have a true purpose serving others," said MaryGrace Mott '21.
The project, she said, showed "what it truly means to be a Lasallian." 
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