By News-Register staff • 

Food giveaway draws hundreds in McMinnville

Rusty Rae / News-Register##Jim Botten loads a box of food into a client’s car Friday as a part of the St. James food box giveway. In the background in the red is John Deagas. Also in the background is Father Mike Walker. This event will continue each Friday throughout June.
Rusty Rae / News-Register##Jim Botten loads a box of food into a client’s car Friday as a part of the St. James food box giveway. In the background in the red is John Deagas. Also in the background is Father Mike Walker. This event will continue each Friday throughout June.

UPDATED July 18: The free food program has been extended through August.

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ike many people struggling with unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rosita Morales worried about how long it would take for her to receive unemployment benefits amid a state system that has faltered for months.

When she saw a sign on First Street near St. James Catholic Church announcing a food giveaway, she stopped for a box of groceries.

Morales was one of hundreds of people who picked up food boxes from the Knights of Columbus’ donation site on Friday, June 5. The group, a Catholic men’s fraternal organization with chapters around the world, has distributed 23,000 pounds of food so far, said Doug Young, financial secretary for Council #1623, the McMinnville chapter that has existed for over a century.

“I encourage people to tell their friends,” Young said. “At this time, so many people are in need. This is what the Knights are about — being of service to others — the community, the church and the country.”

The donations of vegetables, fruits and dairy items began at the end of May and will continue every Friday through June, made possible through a USDA grant to the Archdiocese of Portland. Anyone can pick up a box, with no questions or requirements.

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