Portland is proud of it’s dedication to making a difference both locally and nationally. Our community is known for it’s fierce dedication to standing up for what is right and advocating for and helping out those in needs. But did you know that many of the folks who are making the biggest difference are Portland parents? It’s about time your family met some of them don’t you think. The following are just some of the local parents who are keeping our community Portland Proud! Read on to find out more about them.

photo: Danielle Koping

Danielle Koping

Danielle Koping is mother to her son Henry who was diagnosed with cancer at three months. Henry is currently on his second round of chemotherapy, fighting a rare cancer called Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis. Koping says The Children’s Oncology floor at Randall’s Hospital seems like their second home and that the staff have always gone above and beyond to make their stay as easy-going as possible. Unfortunately, according to Koping, the playroom has been closed for months due to COVID and keeping a toddler busy in a hospital room is not ideal. So, to celebrate Henry’s second birthday, she asked friends, family, and close community members to gift them new coloring/activity books and new markers, colored pencils, and crayons. The response was overwhelming and she collected hundreds of packs to donate to their program. Over the next few weeks, we will be packaging up gift bags for patients (ages 0-18) and gifting them to the Children’s Oncology floor at Randall’s. Koping says," Our project, supported by her amazing community, is a small return for the service we have received." 

Find out more: If you would like to support Koping's project, you can email Danielle at danikoping@gmail.com. At this time she is still collecting the following items: new coloring/activity books or pads, new markers, colored pencils, or crayons, and new toys in original packaging. 

photo: Brittany V

Brittany V

After Three months of working from home, Brittany V decided she needed to get out and give back to her community. She started sewing masks and dropped off her first 100 to William Temple House on May 19. In June she started volunteering in their food bank once a week in addition to working and making masks. She then increased to two days when she started back to work. She work weekends so she could take two weekdays off to volunteer. And on Sept. 10, she reached an incredible mile stone and dropped off her 1,000th mask to William Temple House. In addition, Brittany has sewn 300-400 masks for other people and has never charged money for a single mask.

Brittany works at Doernbecher as a Senior Research Assistant on the "vitamin-c study". She says, "We obviously embrace oranges and everything citrus. For the last 100 masks (I did them in batches of 100), I bought fabric that embraced our love for citrus to bring in my passion for serving people and my study participants and science."

photo: Dina Birmingham

Dina Birmingham

Dina Birmingham is the owner of Dream Dinners, a local franchise that has been in the meal prep business for over 15 years in the Portland Metro area. She's owned the Beaverton location since 2010. In March, when COVID-19 hit, she transitioned her shop to 100% staff assembled meals with curbside pick-up, or home delivery available. She also waived the typical assembly fee from $30 to either $0, or to $15, depending on timing.
 
Then, in June, she donated to the Westside Food Brigade--a community service bringing food to those in need. They were doing well with donations for families, but wanted a special way to honor their volunteers, and so Birmingham provided a free family dinner and side dish for 20 of their volunteers.
 
Birmingham also offers a coupon code, “THANKYOU” through her Dream Dinners Location that allows any medical and first responder to receive 10% off their monthly order.Lastly, she is offering any teacher who reaches out this month a free meal for their family. Her staff will assemble the store's Crispy French Onion Chicken with Oven Roasted Broccoli for them to pick-up curbside for free. Her hope is to help them get a good start to the school year.
 
Last, but not least, Birmingham and Dream Dinners also partner monthly with Michelle’s Love, a local non-profit that Birmingham is a Board Member of. Michelle's Love provides services, which include free Dream Dinners meals, to single parents undergoing cancer treatment. Dream Dinners provide a 25% discount to Michelle’s Love for their monthly purchase. 
 
Find out more: Visit Birmingham's Dream Dinners website for more information. You can also checkout Westside Food Brigade and Michelle's Love to find out what you can do to contribute.

photo: Lyla Wolfenstein

Lyla Wolfenstein

Lyla Wolfenstein is a mom and the owner of Fully Belly Fare, a Portland-based business that delivers hand-crafted meals to local homes. Full Belly Fare has always been about community over competition, but in the wake of the pandemic, Wolfenstein has made that focus is even more central. Forced to reduce her crew size for the sake of safety and social distancing, she had to come up with some innovative ways to stay in business. First she reduced the highly labor intensive menu complexity, and added several "chef's surprise" items to the rotating weekly menu as well as a number of items to the "pantry menu" using products made both in house and by other local small businesses. The impacts of this decision were many and include allowing her remaining staff to work more hours in safe working conditions; helping vulnerable customers gain access to food items and meals they couldn't otherwise pick up safely, and supporting other local businesses who were struggling. 

With an eye toward the Black community in Portland, Wolfenstein made a concerted effort to reach out to Black owned businesses, and the profits from the products we carry from those businesses are donated to the Black Resilience Fund. Through this process, the Black owned businesses earn the money they need from their products, and the money from the sale of those products is leveraged again into an organization that is supporting the Black community.

Additionally, Wolfenstein realized everyone can afford delivered prepared meals, especially in the wake of layoffs and income loss. Full Belly Fare has long had a "contribute to a group gift" option, wherein colleagues, family, and friends from anywhere in the world could contribute any amount to a campaign for a loved one, and all contributions are pooled together to support that person in need. With the pandemic, she increased visibility of that program, and perhaps most importantly, collected donations from customers, which Full Belly Fare matched in support of local families and health care workers in need who did not have a community to support them.
 
Recenly Wolfenstein has been able to expand Full Belly Fare's menus again, and says she looks forward to a future of opportunities to increase community support and connection through good food, made with love.
 
Find out more: Read more about Fully Belly Fare's offerings and how you can contribute through their contribution program.

photo: Nikki Adamson

Nikki Adamson

Nikki Adamson is a mom, daughter, wife, friend, teacher, and accomplice in training. She started her recruiting business, Hustle Hunters, out of her own experience as a mom navigating the tech scene after giving birth as flexibility had instantly become a deal breaker for her in my professional life. She was eager to help remove similar employment barriers for other parents. One-and-a-half years later she realized that for her business to be true to her and have an equitable impact, she needed to revisit the populations she was serving and, pay special attention to intersectionality. Now her business is breaking the cycle of systematic exclusion of WOC.

Hustle Hunters now enables parents who are especially strained by COVID-19 and parenting to seek flexible employment while delivering equitable and balanced talent panels to startups that are building teams. Adamson is spending a lot of time listening to and learning from communities of color, older applicants, and non-binary candidates. And is hiring resources of color to share their lived experiences and professional acumen, to ensure that the actions are informed and align with the broader vision of inclusivity.

Find out more: To find out more about Hustle Hunters and how you can be part of a workforce or hiring force dedicated to inclusivity, visit Hustle Hunters online.

—Annette

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