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A food-sensitive, animal-loving PCC alum creates alternative recipes for healthier living

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Cascade Panther Pantry

The Panther Pantry at the Cascade Campus receives regular donations from the community.

A 2019 Portland Community College graduate is wasting no time building her local health food brand.

Jaclyn Rae’s Jaclyn Creations offers healthy plant-based, locally sourced sustainable breakfasts and snacks found in local establishments like outlets, coffee shops and food co-ops. Rae’s mission is to spread nutrition awareness and strengthen and support healthier communities, as well as provide easy recipe downloads for folks on a budget.

After earning her associate degree from PCC, Rae decided to invest her time in her food consulting business. She did some traveling and wrote two cookbooks. Then, she returned to Portland to launch her overnight oats products in a test-market fashion. 

“If I didn’t go to PCC, I wouldn’t have the skills I am using to get my products to market,” Rae said. “It encouraged me. Education furthered my life and made me resourceful.”

When she started at PCC, she did not know about student groups or resources. She credits her PCC advisor, John Whitford at the Cascade Campus for helping her find work study, build a sense of belonging and boost her confidence.

“I was very sick and trying to figure things out and heal,” she said. “I was trying to become resourceful and learn to advance myself too. He helped me so much.”

PCC alum Jaclyn Rae is a plant-based cookbook author, wellness consultant and natural foods entrepreneur.

Jaclyn Creations’ Overnight Oats are now in the Panther Pantry.

Rae grew up in rural southeast Portland but was always sick with stomach pain, worsening in her 20s. One of seven children, she was the only one with severe food allergies. But in 2014, she started on a healing path of raw-veganism, changing her diet and lifestyle.

She ate fresh and unseasoned, preservative-free whole foods prepared at home. Her symptoms disappeared (or greatly reduced) and her energy peaked. Now, almost 10 years later, she eats an 80/20 raw to cooked food ratio. The results, she shares, are that her food allergies have stabilized and her health issues are minimized.

“With what I learned, I was able to make it. There was a time when I thought I wouldn’t,” Rae said. “It was scary.” 

Rae loves to prepare her food either raw or cooked, making soup, and baking delicious warm foods and desserts cooked from scratch. She believes that she transmits good intentions into the foods that she prepares. And says it makes her feel literally better. But she still carries an EpiPen just in case when she occasionally eats out at any nontraditional vegan restaurants. 

Fueled by her compassion, she widely shares her story and helps others navigate new ways to eat healthy and more sustainably. With gratitude for leaving behind her past of emergency room visits and crisis, she embarked on her new career. And she credits PCC for giving her the skills and support needed to launch and manage her brand and career.

“I found out about the food pantries and volunteered,” she recalled. “It was a key step in my journey to see these powerful resources – and people who wanted to help. I loved telling fellow students about these services in the PCC community. So many people actually don’t know how to ask for help.”

The Panther Pantry is a free resource to all PCC students and they are stocked with fresh and canned food, hygiene supplies and more. The pantries, part of the college’s commitment to belonging and support of its students, are located at all four comprehensive PCC campuses — Cascade, Rock Creek, Southeast and Sylvania.

“PCC inspired my philanthropy,” she added. “It increased my awareness and sense of belonging. Now, I intend to make product donations to the PCC pantry and local charities helping with food insecurity as my business allows.”

About Misty Bouse

A Portland Community College public relations program specialist, Misty Bouse has been working in college advancement for more than eight years. A graduate of University of Oregon, Misty has worked as a managing editor for BUILDERNews Magaz... more »