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The student news site of La Salle Catholic College Preparatory.

The La Salle Falconer

The student news site of La Salle Catholic College Preparatory.

The La Salle Falconer

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A Call to Service — The French and Spanish Food Drive Giving Support to the Local Wichita Center for Family and Community

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  • The building for the Wichita Center for Family and Community is over 100 years old. Originally the Wichita Elementary School from 1909 to 2009, it was transformed into a family and community center in 2010.

  • Other than their food pantry and clothes closet, they are partnered with many programs, including “Ready, Set, Go!”, NCSD Oral Health Program, and Head Start.

  • Families can take food for free based on the colored stickers. It’s based on a family size guide: red is reserved for families of two, blue is families of three, green is families of four, and orange is families of five or more. In this case, families of two and three can take one.

  • The hygiene products collected at the Wichita Center are listed above, including the items they are most in need of now.

  • The clothes closet is open for students only, providing sizes small to large. The tents (not pictured) are used as fitting rooms.

  • A variety of kids shoes labeled by size.

  • In the sorting room, clothes are restocked and determined whether or not they’re fit to give out. The boxes shown are clothes for boys, which according to Family Services Coordinator Kathy Harrison, are always in high demand because they tend to grow faster.

  • A black coat hangs from the rack along with other garments for 12 and 18-month-olds.

  • The Wichita Center gives out school supplies for elementary students, such as pens, pencils, and erasers.

  • On the stage, backpacks are organized by grade. For elementary students, they are given out, but for middle and high school students they are also stuffed with supplies like pencils and erasers.

  • A drawing on the bulletin board for the Oral Health Program.

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For sophomore Ali Moran, volunteer shifts at the Wichita Center For Family and Community — which she began at the beginning of January — look like spending a couple hours at a time in the white-walled sorting room, with shelves busy with boxes of clothes for women, men, boys, and girls. 

After volunteering for about a month and having the chance to familiarize herself with the space, an idea came to mind: to start a food drive at the school in support of the community center.

This idea came to fruition when she first found that there was a need for shelves to be stocked. She took the idea to the Spanish and French classes, and it officially began at La Salle on Feb. 9. Moran believes that making a difference is well within our realm of possibilities, but oftentimes, the opportunity is overlooked.

Serving schools in the North Clackamas School District, the Wichita Center For Family and Community provides to families and students through their food pantry and clothes closet. They also engage in other areas like education, which is achieved through “Ready, Set, Go!”, a preschool program provided through Metropolitan Family Service. Families within the North Clackamas School District who qualify after meeting with coordinators are eligible for the food pantry, the clothes closet (which is only open for children), and hygienic offerings, without having to pay anything.

Every week, the Oregon Food Bank donates to the Wichita Center. Though they also get donations from stores, one issue they run into is that those donations are often fresh, which means their shelf life has diminished and they’re quick to expire. However, according to Moran, they are also relying on donations from people, whether it’s perishable foods or hygiene products. 

Now that the giving season of Christmas is over, the center has seen a decrease in the amount of donations that come in. This can lead to the center running low on the food and supplies that they distribute. “Families weren’t able to get major food groups like beans and vegetables,” Moran said.

By encouraging students to donate to the food drive, her goal is simple: “Make people realize just how small something can be for them to make an impact,” she said.

The food drive, which operates on donations of perishable foods from Spanish and French students, will end on Friday, March 1, but Moran notes that regardless of the date, help would be appreciated, and a relationship will be cultivated between the school and the Wichita Center. For those who want to continue to donate food, the Spanish classrooms will still be taking donations and bringing them to the community center after the food drive ends.

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About the Contributor
Kayah Cieslak
Kayah Cieslak, Assistant Editor
Sophomore Kayah Cieslak has lived in Oregon all her life, living a majority of it in Northeast Portland and other households across the state. Other than helping out in The Falconer, she loves to read and write in her leisure time. Her favorite authors include Kurt Vonnegut and Franz Kafka, meanwhile her all-time prevailing favorite childhood book is “The Little Prince”. Her music taste spans vast, but artists she currently enjoys are The Malefactors, Mitski, Elliot Smith, and Malice Mizer. She especially loves going out to eat with her mom after school or during the weekend, which feels like a unique love language as the two can always try new things together. But know that nothing will ever beat her mom’s cooking. In the future, she hopes to study abroad and spend more time visiting her family outside of the country in Poland and Indonesia whilst getting a better gist of her parents’ native languages in order to decrease the language barrier with relatives.

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