Les Femmes Give Back at the Oregon Food Bank

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Many of our ladies spent time this year giving back to the community  by putting in sweat equity to build new trails and help restore damaged ones (see LLC Trail Love post 9/3/12). But this holiday season we organized a large group to spend a few hours giving back in a different way at the Oregon Food Bank on a rainy Saturday morning.

Christy and Kim sort it out

Christy and Kim sort it out

Margi and Laurie getting it sorted

Margi and Laurie getting it sorted

Our group of 11 signed up for the heavy lifting shift; sorting canned food, boxing and loading food boxes onto pallets and running pallets into the food storage warehouse. After signing in, all of the volunteer groups filed into the large food sorting room for a brief tutorial.

Mielle and Beth F moving boxes

Mielle and Beth F moving boxes

Our coordinator Robert

Our coordinator Robert

Our volunteer coordinator Robert explained that 1 in 14 families in Oregon receives food boxes and 1 in 6 people are currently living below the poverty line. With only a few paid staff members, the Oregon Food Bank runs with the volunteer support of the community. Before we went to our work stations a couple of regular volunteer groups were honored with a certificate for their outstanding dedication including a group from Saint Michael’s church, having  volunteered one Saturday a month, every month, for the last year.

NICE CANS-Mary and Laurie

NICE CANS-Mary and Laurie

Groups were separated by their different jobs and we were taken through the cavernous warehouse to our food repackaging room. Shane and I took the job of running pallets and boxes with the pallet jacks. Christy, Kim, Laurie and Mary joined other volunteers on the packing line to sort food and pack boxes.  Beth Ann and Beth F were put to work taping up cardboard boxes for the food to go into. At the end of the line was Margi, running the conveyor belt and moving and stacking full boxes with Audrey and Remy.

Once we figured out how to do our jobs the pace picked up and our chilly packing room  started heating up.

In just under 2 hours, we each worked to pack a total of 430 meals per person. We hope to find more ways to give back to our community in the coming year. For more information about the Oregon Food Bank, see the link at the bottom.

Margi, Remy and Audrey

Margi, Remy and Audrey

All jacked up

All jacked up

Here is the email I received after our visit from our coordinator Robert:

Dear Mielle,

Thank you for organizing (and participating in) the Les Femmes De S&m Cycling Team volunteer event atOregon Food Bank this morning. Together with other community members your team worked hard to pack 12882 pounds of food! Many small tasks came together to achieve this. Our thanks go to the sorters, tapers and those working the conveyor, boxers, box makers and pallet movers. In a single visit, the entire group packed enough food to provide 9909 meals for people in need. Every member of your team can be proud of their individual contribution equaling 430 meals per person. I know this number is a little different than first stated as I had guessed we were close though with in a little more than 700 pounds. I tried to spell your name in my head wow was I off? A special thank you to you and Shane I know it seemed like a boring job at the start but then was very busy and your team was great. All in all I hope a fun shift for you and your group.

In Oregon and Clark County Washington, an estimated 270,000 people eat from an emergency food box in an average month. Your volunteer service helps our many neighbors who aren’t sure where their next meal will come from.

What a wonderful group! We really appreciate your hard work, and look forward to seeing you soon.

Thanks again,

ROBERT DALE

Volunteer Coordinator

Oregon Food Bank

www.oregonfoodbank.org

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