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Intel Involved

Intel Involved: One Story of Small Gestures

Like a mass of sleepwalkers, they shuffle down a ramp to be swallowed by the damp, dimly lit subterranean garage beneath O’Bryant Square in downtown Portland. The hunched-over old, the discouraged young, the wide-eyed children, the anxious couples gripping each other’s hands—all rub shoulders while crowding near the roped-in food service area on the puddle strewn concrete floor of the low-ceilinged garage.

”Number 1” shouts out a man at the front of the crowd. A talkative woman in a wheel chair wearing a stained green University of Oregon sweatshirt under a well worn grey jacket comes forward. One by one the ticket holders advance.

“198” yells the man. A teenage girl in a floor-length dress dragging on the floor and overburdened with a bulging backpack steps forward, hands ticket number 198 to the man, and faces rows of food-laden tables attended by eager, smiling volunteers.

It’s all there, ready for the stiff paper plate in the girl’s hand. Fresh fruit, sandwiches, Greek yogurt, pastries, and much more. At one table, students from De La Salle North Catholic High School in Portland serve mixed fruit, potato and macaroni salads, and chips. At another table, two eager volunteers wearing blue Intel Involved t-shirts ladle vegetarian dahl, made with pinto beans, curry, ginger paste and other ingredients, onto the girl’s plate. That table is the handiwork of Small Gestures Inc, a nonprofit created in early 2011 by Purushottam Goel, an architect with Intel’s client chipset team in Hillsboro, Oregon.

The free meal event, organized by Potluck in the Park, a nonprofit focused on feeding those in need, has been occurring every Sunday for 20 years. Goel and other Intel volunteers associated with Small Gestures come to O’Bryant Square the third Sunday of each month to join dozens of other groups providing meals to the homeless and desperate.

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