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Community surpasses improbable goal


East County has a lot to be proud about. While much of the country is overwhelmed with controversy and mired in inaction, our citizens take positive and practical steps to solve problems.

Riverview’s recent Fill-A-Bag campaign is a good example.

Oregon consistently ranks high on the hunger surveys. This year we are No. 3. SnowCap is feeding a steady 8,000 East County people each month.

Judy AlleyChildren go to school listless and inattentive because they had little worthwhile food on the weekends. Seniors limit themselves to one small meal a day in order to pay for their medical expenses.

Mothers and fathers fib to their children, saying they aren’t really hungry tonight just to be sure there is enough food for the young ones. This is not a situation designed to help us thrive.

Riverview Bank, in the person of Casey Ryan, saw this as a problem with a simple solution. Our neighbors need food. Why not do a food drive?

Casey started networking. He understands that people like to solve problems, not get involved in intractable debates.

Soon he had partners. Gresham Ford, Drake’s 7 Dees Garden and Landscaping, The Outlook, Rotary Club of Gresham, Gresham Breakfast Lions and the West Columbia Gorge Rotary were all early and strong supporters.

This team of can-do folks appealed to our larger community: Let’s collect enough food to make a difference.

Casey set an impossibly high goal of 500,000 pounds of food. I urged caution, because never in SnowCap’s 47-year history had anyone done such a big food drive. Casey told me, “That’s the point, Judy. No one is doing this food drive. The entire community is doing this food drive.”

East County has a lot to be proud about. Pat yourselves on your backs.

We have great people — problem solvers — with heart. SnowCap would like to thank the Fill-A-Bag Team for collecting 540,000 pounds of food to help our neighbors in need.

This food stays in East County. It strengthens East County. With people like the Fill-A-Bag Team, East County will thrive.

If you know someone who worked on this campaign, please give them a pat on the back.

Judy Alley is executive director for SnowCap Community Charities.