Teens volunteering at Harvest Share
Thanks to you, North Portland youth work to create a better future in their community and beyond.
Every Wednesday night you'll find a small group of teenagers gathered at New Columbia Apartments. They could be playing video games or hanging out with friends, but this group is discussing food insecurity and helping youth in the community.
The weekly meetings began early last summer, in an effort to learn more about teens who face hunger and what they do to cope. With helpl from Janus Youtht, New Columbia staff, Home Forward and the Urban Institute, Oregon Food Bank met with teens to learn how they would engage youth and alleviate food insecurity.
"Youth empowerment is essential to create change," says Felix, a teen living at New Columbia. Weeks of discussion led to the realization that the teens needed more fresh, healthy food and a safe space to share their problems. They now have that, along with a dedicated staff member to help coordinate activities and nurture leadership skills.
Free produce is given out monthly through the Harvest Share program and more families are connecting with their community. "Because it's open to everyone, Harvest Share has taken away some of the shame you feel when you don't have enough," says Mayra, a New Columbia teen.
Thanks to your support, the teens hope to help create a program manual that other communities can use to help youth become more involved.