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Fresh Fruit for School Backpacks

News Article
Civic Life spoke with Arbor Lodge Neighborhood Association member, Ginger Edwards, to talk about their Fresh Fruit for Backpacks program.

In 1974, the City of Portland created the Office of Neighborhood Associations to establish a direct channel for neighborhood associations to engage in City decision-making, determine neighborhood needs, and represent neighborhood interests in land use and development decisions.

More than 40 years later, our bureau has expanded our support to include culturally specific organizations and non-profit organizations that collectively work together to ensure Portland is an equitable, vibrant, and welcoming city for all. Recently, we changed our name to the Office of Community & Civic Life to better reflect the many ways neighborhoods and communities organize. Throughout this change, neighborhood associations have remained consistent in their abilities to strengthen communities and volunteer their time to help neighbors. Our office remains committed to working with neighborhood associations as we collectively build a strong community for all Portlanders.

Tackling Food Insecurity
We reached out to Arbor Lodge Neighborhood Association member, Ginger Edwards, to talk about their Fresh Fruit for Backpacks program.

“About six years ago, our neighborhood association learned that Chief Joseph Elementary School had organized a backpack program for kids who were below the poverty line and we asked how we could help,” said Edwards. “The result was our Neighborhood Association organizing dozens of volunteers to provide fresh fruit for Chief Joseph’s backpack program as a way to help children experiencing food insecurity.” Edwards and her Arbor Lodge Association counterparts organize volunteers and ask them to add at least two servings of fresh fruit for each backpack and non-perishable staple foods like mac 'n cheese, peanut butter, and oatmeal are provided by a larger non-profit.

According to a 2020 Brookings Institution report,14 million children in the U.S. are not getting enough to eat. Children regularly struggling with food insecurity not only lack proper nutrition but can experience a sense of personal insecurity and it can affect test scores, attention, and mood.

“I am very impressed with our neighborhood’s willingness to volunteer and provide fresh fruit to our neighborhood children,” said Ginger. “Every week each volunteer donates 30 individual pieces of fruit. Being a member of the Arbor Lodge Neighborhood Association allows me to interact with so many people. It has enriched my life because I get to meet people of all ages in my neighborhood, not to mention it feels great to contribute to your community”

If you are interested in learning more about Arbor Lodge’s Neighborhood Association’s Fresh Fruit for Backpacks, visit their website.

Does your neighborhood association have a great story or effort you would like to share? Please reach out to with your story!