Bridging Cultures, Canby Center Receives Grants for Food Relief

During a year when health and food have been harder to come by — particularly for communities of color, which tend to face greater income inequality and have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic — two local nonprofits that serve those vulnerable populations have received $10,000 grants from Clackamas County to enhance their services.

The grants to Bridging Cultures Canby and The Canby Center — part of a quarter of a million dollars awarded to a variety of charitable organizations and services through the county’s the 2020 Small Grants Program — are both aimed at increasing their ability to provide food to those in need.

The Canby Center has seen demand for its weekly food program more than quadruple this year, from 392 families served in March to 1,792 two months later, in May. Almost three-quarters of their clients are Hispanic.

The grant from Clackamas County will help offset the costs of installing a walk-in refrigerator that was donated to the center earlier this year. The new cooler will allow the Center to accept donations of refrigerated food items for the first time and serve up to 200 additional families each week.

Canby Police Lt. Jose Gonzalez helps deliver food to a local family at The Canby Center in April 2020. Photo by Tyler Francke.

Bridging Cultures’ mission is to bridge cultural understanding between Latino and Anglo cultures. Their current goal is to help Covid-impacted immigrant families in the Canby area.

A survey the group conducted in the spring revealed that 36% of the families they serve reported an “immediate need for food” due to the coronavirus pandemic and related economic insecurities.

The county’s grant will go toward the purchase of a 17-foot enclosed cargo truck to deliver food boxes.

The increased need has coincided with a more challenging fundraising environment due to the economic recession and widespread layoffs, plus the inability to do traditional fundraising events because of gathering size restrictions.

Both Bridging Cultures and The Canby Center have been forced to cancel large fundraising events this year due to Covid-19.

This is the 12th consecutive year Clackamas County has offered the Small Grants Program to help local nonprofits that provide services to vulnerable populations living within the county.

Commissioners determined that grant preference would be given this year to organizations that fill an unanticipated expense gap due to Covid-19; and/or serve communities of color that are impacted by the coronavirus, as those communities are have been especially impacted.

Preference was also given for one-time expenses and proposals that would help foster partnerships within communities.

This year, 38 groups were selected for grants out of 78 applications. Organizations receiving grants are required to show how funds are used. This continual evaluation includes reviews of service levels and performance measures.

A full list of the selected projects, as well as those that were not approved for funding, is available below.

Click to access policy20200929a.pdf

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