The Portland Open Bible Community Food Pantry in Portland, Oregon, was invited to participate in a grant opportunity early last summer with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). The pantry is operated out of the Open Bible Church of Portland, pastored by James Brown. Betty Brown, James’s wife, serves as the pantry’s executive director. Since COVID-19 hit, the pantry has been providing food for over 4,000 people per month.
After Betty applied for the grant and was chosen, the pantry received more than $100,000 to provide education on COVID-19 and wraparound services to those in the community who had been affected by COVID. (Wraparound services incorporate the natural support systems of at-risk children along with various agency personnel and community representatives.) The pantry used the money to partner with OHA and the Multnomah County Health Department to create videos for COVID education to the community, which they translated into Chinese, Vietnamese, and Russian. (Those languages, along with English, represent the largest number of the ethnicities the pantry services.)
The food pantry was then invited to apply for a second COVID-19 grant to assist OHA in helping those who have been affected directly by COVID-19, such as families whose parents were laid off and have been unable to pay their rent, utilities, and other expenses. Betty and her team interviewed a few of the families from the church’s 180 Outreach program, a high-energy weekend outreach ministry for children, and found that many of them had lost their jobs due to COVID and have been in desperate need of help.
After securing the second grant, also for $100,000, Betty is excited about the help it will provide for many of the families of the kids that have been a part of the program. She said, “I love the fact that the church of Jesus Christ is able to be used in this way working alongside these particular civic organizations for this time.”
Open Bible President Randall A. Bach said, “I am thrilled to see how the church’s vision for a food pantry has grown into a wider community influence for Christ.”