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Church members feed homeless shelter guests

Take a look, and see community volunteers serving those who need it most. You might want to get your organization involved in the effort, after you read the story …














On a night when the temperature is to drop below freezing, guests at the Human Solutions Family Winter Shelter in the Russell neighborhood are being served a nutritious hot supper.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton


During the third week in November, below-freezing temperatures chilled outer East Portland – making homeless families staying in Human Solutions shelters feel very fortunate to be there.

On Tuesdays, and some Friday evenings, those staying at the Family Winter Shelter located in the Parkrose Community United Church of Christ have another reason to be happy: Volunteers from the church cook and serve them a hot supper.

Parkrose Community United Church of Christ volunteer Blair Loudat cuts bread that will be served to guests staying in their Family Shelter.

Volunteer Ron Glanville stirs a pot of Cream of Squash soup – made from vegetables from the community garden on the church’s property.

“Clay Osburn, Celia Goodling, Erica Martin, and myself, are members of what is called the ‘Farm to Table’ committee,” explained meal organizer Ron Glanville. “As part of this, we feed people who are staying at the shelter, here at the church.”

Glanville was tending two stockpots – one filled with fresh cream of squash soup, the other with turkey, rice and vegetable soup. “All of the vegetables came from our garden. No, we don’t raise our own turkeys – not yet, anyway!”

Clay Osburn – some call him “Mr. Tomato”, because he grows and donates hundreds of pounds of the fruit to charity every summer – cleans cookware in the church kitchen.

Over the summer, the community garden produced “thousands of pounds of food” Glanville told East Portland News. “Clay (Osburn) has a 30′ x 30′ plot and I’ve a 30′ x 30′ garden. And, we now have a huge 100′ x 100′ garden in the back of the church. Some of the produce we sell to raise money for the ingredients of these meals.  Some of it we donate to SnowCap Charities. And, throughout the summer, some we donate to places like Portland Rescue Mission.

“Also, we are very much a part of what they called the ‘Slow Food Movement’,” Glanville said. “That is, food is prepared from scratch, without processed ingredients, and we keep away from sugary drinks and things like that.  It’s having food as natural as possible, and homemade. It is raw food that we prepare with love, very nutritionally.”

Volunteers line up to serve their guests a complete hearty hot dinner, including salad, dessert, and beverages.

They take the time, and make the effort, to do this, he added, because, “if homeless people do find raw food, they can’t cook it. So, instead they get fast food and packaged convenience food. Here, they get a nutritious, well-prepared, home-cooked meal.


“We do this because our congregation is community oriented, and very action oriented,” Glanville explained. “We want to serve the community. Our small group, the four of us on the committee, really focused on food. We grow food, we want to feed people, we recognize there is hunger, and we want to prepare food for those who are hungry.”











On coffee duty are volunteers Darrin Gilbert and Pastor Don Frueh.

Parkrose Community United Church of Christ Pastor Don Frueh smiled as he saw the guests come in and enjoy their hot dinner.

“Both the Family Winter Shelter and our dinners are the best thing that we can possibly do at our facility,” Frueh said. “To use the space like this – well, this is what we are called to do, and we are serious about it.

“We follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, who told us to take care of the widow, the orphan, and to help set people free,” explained Frueh. “This is part of the work that we do.”


All of the volunteers would like to see the meal service expand, said Glanville.

“We would like to have our kitchen in our dining room used to serve homeless guests seven days a week. There is a need for them to be in a situation where they feel welcome, where there’s hospitality, where they are not judged – and where they are fed in a way that helps them, and allows them to feel respected.”


Thus, as in past years, they are asking faith groups, community service organizations, and groups of neighbors to volunteer bringing food and serving. “If they would like to help, we could teach them how to use this kitchen.”


There is one caveat, he added. “This is not the place for a group to proselytize – promote any religion, or spiritual or political concept, to our guests. They are, indeed our guests. Our mission is to be here to serve them by feeding them, not preaching at them.”

Those interested in helping with this program can call the church at (503) 253-5457

Community Garden Featured in UO Video

September 9, 2016


The University of Oregon produced a video on a number of different Oregon stories.  The first of these stories features the Eastminster Community Garden. 


You can watch this video by clicking the button in the center of the picture box to the right  


See the great fun the community had at this outer East Portland Oktoberfest event, and why it’s become important to the group that puts it on each year …








These are some of the dozens of guests checking in at this traditional Oktoberfest celebration, held in the Russell neighborhood.


Story and photos by David F. Ashton


In its second year, the Oktoberfest celebration put on by the Parkrose Community United Church of Christ (PCUCC) is now a bona fide annual event.

So said the PCUCC’s pastor, Don Frueh, now serving the community in his eighth year at the church, which is actually located in the Russell neighborhood.



The Oktoberfest’s head chef and organizer, Ron Glanville, spends a moment with PCUCC’s pastor, Don Frueh – both of them looking well attired in their lederhosen.

“The event was such a success, and worked out so well last year, that we’re having our second annual Oktoberfest! And, welcome,” greeted Frueh.


“We’ve had a lot of folks in the neighborhood come to our Oktoberfest who’ve never connected with the church in the past, or even been on our campus,” Frueh told East Portland News.

Cooking up more German sausages in the grill is Clay Osburn.
















Serving fresh Oktoberfest beer is Gateway Brewing head brewer and co-owner, Joel Sheley,

“So, in addition to hosting a great community event, it gives us the opportunity to meet people in the neighborhood, so they understand who we are,” the pastor said. “Some of them of actually joined the church because they learned about it through our Oktoberfest last year.”


Starting  in the late afternoon, and continuing into the evening, guests found sausage chefs cooking up brats on the grill, as well as preparing side dishes like German potato salad, and a table laden with desserts.














These two members of the Rose City Accordion Club, John Martin and Steve Knapke, provide a lively soundtrack for the festival.


“To keep things lively, we have live music provided by our returning ‘dueling accordion players’ – and we’re guaranteed to have the Chicken Dance more than once this evening,” Frueh assured us.


“People tell us that they enjoy connecting with other people here at this event,” observed Frueh. “The fresh local beer and sausages are great, but more than that, it’s wonderful when people connect with one another!”

“Cheers to Oktoberfest” say Julie Sala and Renee Custis.

New "Community Orchard" Planted in Russell

October 24, 2015


"About 45 people gathered in the square of Parkrose Community United Church of Christ to hold a Community Orchard groundbreaking celebration and “planting party”, at10:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, October 24.


Welcoming those present was community volunteer and local food activist Ron Glanville – the man behind the revitalization of the Parkrose Farmers Market and the community garden on the church’s property.


'We’ve partnered with other organizations, on other projects,' Glanville told East Portland News. 'It is an efficient and good way to get things done.'


Called the 'Parkrose Community Orchard' – although it is actually located in the Russell neighborhood – this is the fifth 'Portland Fruit Tree Project'-led community orchard in Portland, made possible with grants from the East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District, and the East Portland Action Plan."



(top: Jesse Goodling and Tub Harding, bottom: Gareth Stacke; images by: East Portland News; photographer: David F. Ashton)

Fighting Poverty With Veggies

October 17, 2013


"If life serves up lots of butternut squash, store it and make butternut squash soup all winter.


That’s the thinking behind the 100-pound 'storage shares' offered by the nonprofit Grow Portland, a group that builds garden space for low-income residents in East Portland


Volunteers at the Eastminster Community Garden (Northeast 125th Avenue and Halsey Street) last week harvested a whopping 2,000 pounds of butternut squash, which is sitting in crates, soon to be joined by other winter veggies such as potatoes, onions, cabbage, carrots, beets, turnips and garlic.


Early November, the veggies will be available as 100-pound storage shares for $120, intended for use during the winter. That’s not the only way Grow Portland hopes to change the world through gardens."



(top: Ron Glanville, bottom: Rodney Law; images by: TRIBUNE; photographer: ADAM WICKHAM)

Eastminster Community Garden Spreads Slow-Food Movement in Outer Northeast Portland

October 9, 2013


"Eastminster Presbyterian Church folded their congregation into the Parkrose Community United Church of Christ, they wanted to make sure one thing remained: Their legacy.


But what was the best way for the church's ministry of helping the community to live on?


The group thought immediately of the land sitting beside the church on Northeast Halsey Street and 122nd Avenue. Because the church houses the nonprofit Human Solutions, and because there's a winter shelter for homeless families based there, the church approached Grow Portland about starting a community garden."



(image: Larry Bingham/The Oregonian)

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