Northwest Queer Chorus Announces Partnership with
The People’s Pantry
April 27, 2020 Northwest Queer Chorus (NWQC) is proud to announce and welcome a new partnership with The People’s Pantry, a food donation program through the Hand Up Project. NWQC is a Portland-based chorus that formed in 2018, and is led by Artistic Director, Stephanie Lynne Smith.
The chorus exists to amplify the voices of Portland’s Queer Community through musical excellence in a space that models radical acceptance across the state and nation. As a non-profit arts organization, the leadership of NWQC was looking for ways to give back to the community. Two weeks ago, cloth masks made by NWQC singing member, Lisa Benson, were delivered to the pantry for volunteers. Artistic Director Smith noted that “this makes us all feel so proud and that we are part of something greater than ourselves. In the midst of a pandemic, when we can’t rehearse together, it feels amazing to be able to do something for the community.”
Michael Whitaker, Executive Director of Hand Up Project and active singing member says, “We are fortunate to be hosted at two different locations, the Q Center and Saint Philip the Deacon Episcopal Church. This allows us to reach out to communities of color and the LGBTQ community, both of which suffer a much higher rate of food insecurity.” The pantry is a partner agency with the Oregon Food Bank. Through this partnership, the community is offered a free “shopping style” food pantry to anyone in need. Since the program started, The People’s Pantry has averaged nearly 250 visits a month, serving over 500 family members, and they distribute an average of more than 10,000 pounds – that’s over 5 tons – of food each month.
For NWQC, the partnership between The People’s Pantry and the chorus is personal. “After being homeless for a number of years, I remember the feelings of fear when I didn’t know where my next meal was coming from,” said Jaclyn Wheatley, Board President. Landon Shimek, Executive Director of NWQC echoed that sentiment. “The People’s Pantry is important to me because I was facing housing and food insecurity when I came out to my parents ten years ago. I understand the vital nature of the services that The People’s Pantry provides for families and individuals.” Webmaster and singing member of NWQC added, “I feel so honored to be a part of this queer chorus as it partners with The People’s Pantry. We care about the queer community and we’re willing to do something about its most basic needs.”
CALL TO ACTION: The first phase of the partnership will begin with an online campaign for financial contributions and homemade masks for The People’s Pantry. In June, NWQC will hold a Pride food drive. The public will be invited to donate non-perishable food items to be picked up by NWQC members, who will dress in their best pride gear, and with their vehicles decorated for Pride. NWQC is making it part of their mission to give back to the LGBTQIA+ population while also serving those in marginalized communities.
To contact NWQC for more information about the partnership with The People’s Pantry, please reach out to Membership Chair, Deven Ferté at: firstname.lastname@example.org
How to support the Hand Up Project
(Check back soon for details about our Pride Food Drive!)