Casey Leip gets his corner of the pantry
Weekdays are workdays at school for 10-year-old Casey Leip.
Sundays are church days for Casey and his family at Beaverton's Murray Hills Christian Church.
And Thursdays are a little bit of both.
Leip, an Aloha resident who's a fifth grader at Tobias Elementary, and his father Tom Leip work together every Thursday to help stock the food pantry at MHCC. They drive down to the Oregon Food Bank to collect the various foodstuffs that MHCC has purchased, load up their vehicle, then drive back to Beaverton and fill the shelves at their church's pantry.
On Sunday, the one-year anniversary of the opening of MHCC's food pantry, Casey Leip received an unexpected honor related to his long hours of work - the church officially named the pantry in his honor, designating it 'Casey's Corner.'
Casey Leip, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, first learned of his tribute at MHCC's Sunday morning service, where he received an honorary plaque from Senior Pastor Larry Snow - another plaque will later be installed near the pantry in the church basement.
According to everyone involved with the church pantry, Casey Leip's honor was well deserved.
'He works so hard, and he takes so much pride in it,' said Sue Webber, a longtime MHCC member who currently serves as Elder Chairwoman at the church, the group that oversees management of the food pantry.
Webber explained that church secretary Chris McFarling, among several others, was impressed with Casey's work ethic and dedication, and wanted to do something to reward him for his efforts.
'Chris said, 'It's too bad we can't have a corner of the pantry called Casey's Corner,'' Webber said. 'And I said, 'We can do better than that.' '
Webber brought up the idea of naming the food pantry in Leip's honor during an Elder meeting and quickly received approval.
The funny thing about it, according to Tom Leip, is that he and his son never really planned on their involvement being so consistent.
'It was one of those things where we hadn't planned on it being like that,' he said. 'But it struck a chord with (Casey) and he began talking about it at school and now some of his friends come with him to help almost every week.'
It was the simple message of need, and his ability to help alleviate that need, which really stuck with Casey, his father said.
'He understands that there are people who might really have it tough if the food pantry weren't there,' Tom Leip said. 'He understands, and to be able to nail that down for a kid at age 10 is really important.'