|“I wanted to change my life for the better and I’m proud of myself,” said Harley. |
Harley, a 32-year-old wife, mother, and student, has come a long way in the last five years.
Harley grew up oscillating between being housed and unhoused, and in 2016 found herself addicted to drugs and staying in a homeless shelter in Portland.
Everything started to change when Harley met her now-husband and became pregnant with their son. Harley knew she and her husband would have to be sober and housed to keep her son safe and healthy, so they decided to get into treatment.
“My son saved my life,” she said.
Today, Harley’s family is settled in a Southwest Portland apartment managed by Home Forward, an affordable housing provider. However, the pandemic made it difficult to put food on the table. Harley turned to Facebook for information on food resources and found the Neighborhood House Food Pantry. The Food Pantry became Harley’s lifeline.
Receiving two boxes per month of fresh food she ordered herself helped Harley to fill gaps in her family’s food stamp benefits and dull the anxiety of worrying about their next meal.
“[The Neighborhood House Food Pantry] is one of the most well-run pantries in Portland,” Harley said. “Freshness and being able to get food you’ll actually eat is huge.”
She is excited to visit the pantry in person after receiving only deliveries due to COVID. Neighborhood House’s shopping-style pantry allows clients to select food that they and their families are excited to eat, so nothing goes to waste. With food on the table, Harley is able to focus on going back to school. She is starting at Portland Community College this winter and hopes to become a drug and alcohol counselor.
No one should have to make the impossible decision between food and other necessities. Will you help combat food insecurity in Portland by supporting Neighborhood House this year?