When the pandemic hit and we closed shelters to visitors, we knew many meal providers would face a significant challenge cooking for a whole shelter at home! Luckily, we have dedicated groups like the Portland Pearl Rotary (PPR) who figured out a way to keep their service going, even without access to shelter kitchens. They cooked their first meal for Transition Projects at the Clark Center in 2007, and monthly dinner service became a signature project. When Doreen’s Place opened in 2011, PPR moved their monthly dinners to the neighborhood where they meet and work.
Before the pandemic, six Rotarians would come together in the kitchen at Doreen’s Place to cook and serve meals for the program participants. When our shelter kitchens closed, they worried their best option might be buying pizza – but they wanted to do more. Luckily, the club members and volunteers were able to cook from home. "It was intimidating at first," says service chair Jonelle Anderson, but they stuck to it, and are thriving!
“Seeing our club members and volunteers step up to be of service was a direct reflection of the Rotary Spirit,” says Jonelle.
When it became clear that this crisis wasn’t going anywhere, past president Adina Flynn spearheaded the effort to provide meals to other Transition Projects shelters, including Jean’s Place. We’re so grateful to the Portland Pearl Rotary for their selfless giving and continued support in adapting to this challenging year!
Each year, volunteers prepare over 100,000 meals for individuals we serve.