Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Take it to the Bank...
Take it to the bank-- the food bank, that is.
I checked out the local food bank web site to see what services they provide:
Emergency food distribution: Provides food to agencies that serve people who are in immediate need of food.
Non-emergency food distribution: Provides food to agencies and programs that serve people who are in need of food but not in an immediate emergency.
Supplemental food distribution: Provides food to people with limited resources to help supplement their food budgets. Programs include Rural Delivery, Extra Helping, Brown Bag and Cereal for Youth.
Family Dinner Program: Provides hot meals to people who need food immediately.
Pantry Project: This collaborative program with OSU/Lane County Extension Service helps emergency food pantry shoppers use food box items effectively through monthly food demos and distribution of recipe books.
Gardens Program: FOOD for Lane County's three community gardens alleviate hunger by growing food for neighbors while creating opportunities for youth and connecting people to the land and to one another.
Education and advocacy: Helps people access to needed food and services. Provides education to prevent emergencies. Formulates strategies on issues and legislation relevant to food security in the state.
Food rescue: Rescues food from grocery stores, restaurants, colleges and hospitals that is repackaged by volunteers in our kitchen and distributed to food pantries, meal sites and shelters.
Summer Food Program: FOOD for Lane County Summer Food Program, the largest in the state, provides free lunches for children 2-18 at more than 50 sites throughout the county between June and August.
County Network Statistics:
Pounds distributed: 5 million
People served: 80,000 (unduplicated)
Children served: 30,000 (unduplicated)
Meals served: 364,000
Food rescued: 310,000 pounds
Vegetables harvested: 140,000 pounds
Partnering agencies: 150
Volunteer hours: 60,000
Summer lunches served: 101,000 servings
This is quite impressive. They are working every aspect- including running a hot meal restaurant style outlet, Food rescue- gathering leftover prepared food from restaurants, hospitals, etc., gleaning fields after crops are commercially harvested, ongoing food drives, collection centers throughout the county, and garden space to grow food. 60,000 volunteer hours.
For all the good the main food bank is doing, supplying all these branches of distribution....
some idiot went to the large, main distribution warehouse and had stolen the copper pipes that fed coolant to a freezer and refrigerator that held the food intended for hunger relief.
More than 100,000 pounds of perishables were threatened by the theft of $87 worth of copper tubing.
Some food was transferred to other coolers, and a repairman worked feverishly to fix the damage before the temperature rose to 32 degrees and food started thawing.
Repair costs were about $8,000. The loss of refrigerant was estimated at $4,000.
All of this, for literally a few lousy dollars worth of metal. That is some heavy karma to deal with ~ but a real window into just how desperate times are getting. Although I do think such mindless raw theft- destroying the food bank's refrigeration system was probably the work of a meth addict- someone who can't see past their next fix. (my speculation).
If you are fortunate enough to have steady employment, please do consider making regular donations to the food bank, in either cash or groceries. So many more people are having to stretch unemployment dollars so they don't join the ranks of those who go into foreclosure & homelessness.
Anyway, I applaud all the people pitching in for everything needed to run these programs. It was not long ago these same people were donating to the food bank. Now unemployed, looking at using the service to make it through- some people using these services for the first time in their lives.
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The theft makes me angry. Very. I know times are bad, but stealing from a food bank & costing them so much in repairs is low down dirty rotten low. Think of all the food the bank could've spread around with the money they now have to use to repair the damage? Hope they catch the thieves and do some P.R. about how much their "little theft" cost.
I checked out the Nevada food bank "opportunities". They are running very similar programs to what you've described, but are simply overwhelmed by the great need in Foreclosure City (ahem, Las Vegas). In the great depression, the mormons in Las Vegas used to run a "welfare farm" where people could volunteer labor doing agricultural work in exchange for food. Maybe they'll be restarting that program. The desert ain't the best place for farming, though.
That was a real low point, the low life stealing from this place - under $100 bucks worth of copper-
from a non profit organization that is there working hard to help people. Had to be someone out of their mind (drug crazed).
Anyway, the point is, people can pitch in in many ways.... if you don't have money, maybe you have time. As this downward spiral does it's vortex, folks pitching in & helping really matters.
Just read an article that lots of unemployed folks are giving volunteer time- one as a volunteer dog walker, others at the food bank, etc.... it allows them to network, get out of the house, and make a difference.
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