Volunteers devote King holiday to packing food
Oregon Food Bank's Day of Service unites people to help the less fortunate
Of the many ways to help the hungry and the homeless, Jim Bentley finds getting a bunch of enthusiastic people together to fill bags of food for distribution through the region to be among the most effective.
This isnt like handing change to someone standing on the side of the freeway off-ramp, he said on Monday. This is one pretty centralized way of spreading the benefit.
Bentley, a 16-year employee of PacificCorp, was among 213 volunteers who devoted a chunk of their Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday to help the Oregon Food Banks Beaverton operations at 1870 N.W. 173rd Ave., fulfill its ongoing mission to help the hungry and economically disadvantaged.
To honor the slain civil rights leaders calls to serve ones community, a total of 601volunteers descended on the food banks Beaverton and Northeast Portland facilities for a Day of Service. Volunteers processed thousands of pounds of food, including oats as well as corn, carrots and snow peas donated by National Frozen Food. Employees and representatives of PacifiCorp, Bank of America, Clear Creek Middle School and Hands On Greater Portland joined individuals and families in two two-hour shifts to pack enough food for more than 10,000 meals. The amount equals as much as the Food Banks facilities process in a regular work week, said Tara Taylor, community coordinator for the Oregon Food Bank.
The organizations help bring individuals together to fulfill our volunteer needs, she said, noting Bank of America also financed the food banks expenses. They went to that extra effort to cover the costs of the shifts. Employees brought their kids, so its a great family event.
Kazeem Lawal, a Central Beaverton resident and district manager with Bank of America, brought his children, Abdul, 9, and Siddiq, 6, to help the food bank on the MLK Jr. holiday for the second straight year.
You get a sense of fulfillment, Lawal said of the annual event. Youre helping people by providing for others who dont have a lot. As someone who lives in Beaverton, Im trying to give something back.
Tobie and Mike Hustler surprised their son, Luke, a Southridge High School freshman, with the family-oriented food-packing opportunity on Monday morning.
They just woke me up at 8 oclock so I just came over, Luke Hustler said, admitting hed planned on sleeping in on his day off from school. You (still) just feel like helping out.
His mother, Tobie, praised the organization and the event.
My husband and I were trying to find something to do as a family, a volunteer activity, some activity other than shopping, she said with a chuckle. This is wonderful that a family can do this together and serve the community.
Oregon Food Bank collects and distributes food through a network of four branches and 17 independent regional food banks serving Oregon and Southwest Washington. The food bank also leads statewide efforts to increase resources for hungry families and eliminate root causes of hunger through advocacy, nutrition education, garden education and helping communities strengthen local food systems, Taylor noted.
Kris Voss-Rothemeier, a social studies and speech teacher with Portlands Advancement Via Individual Determination, or AVID, school, rounded up 24 students and five parents to volunteer at this years holiday event. He drew his inspiration from Dr. Kings passion for giving back to ones community.
Martin Luther King said, If you want to be great, serve, Voss-Rothemeier noted.
His call for volunteers on the upcoming holiday went over big last week. I said, Who would like to come with me? And half the class raised their hands.
While there was a flurry of activity in the Monday morning and afternoon shifts at the food bank, Taylor emphasized the ongoing need for assistance.
We need volunteers all year round, she said.Add a comment