Stepping up to feed the hungry


By Sue Cody


W2W Stuff truck FBWhen November rolls around, people think more about others, perhaps than at any other time of the year. When the weather turns cold and wet, thoughts of people out in the cold or with stomachs rumbling from hunger motivate many to reach out to help.


Record levels of people in Clatsop County are homeless or in need of assistance.


To help fill that need, Riverfolk last year prepared Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless population and ended up feeding 150 people. Other organizations and many individuals are also stepping up. Here are a few examples.


W2W Stuff truck 2FBRiverfolk


Riverfolk founder Mary Docherty says, “We had a tremendous wave of support for Thanksgiving last year.”


The response was so overwhelming, it has turned into a community dinner.


“It is absolutely beautiful,” she says. “It gives us a chance to realize the homeless are just folks like us. We are all on a level playing field.”


Everyone comes together – the district attorney, city council members, Seaside and Astoria Police serve meals, she says. This year, the meal is provided by private donations.


Riverfolk serves the Thanksgiving dinner at noon at the Astoria Armory, 1636 Exchange St. Because there is no kitchen, volunteers cook all the food and bring it to the concession area. Every Sunday, brunches are also held at the Armory.


Last year, Docherty says, they borrowed chafing dishes from Coastline Christian Fellowship. When she asked to borrow them again, members of the church showed up with a full set of new chafing dishes for Riverfolk to keep.


“I have never had chafing dishes make me cry before,” Docherty says.


Still needed are donations of apple and cranberry juice or cooked vegetables.


W2W Food Bank 3FBFood banks


Clatsop Community Action ( CCA) works year-round to help with food insecurity, housing, bills and other essentials. The CCA Regional Food Bank serves households weekly with fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. When available, meat or fish are included.


Many agencies are not delivering holiday food boxes, because of lack of funding and volunteers, says Marlin Martin, director of the Food Bank. The Regional Food Bank is collecting food and distributing it to local food pantries. Each agency will receive some boxes. “That is the most equitable – the most fair – to the clients.”


Safeway’s Turkey Bucks, collected at the registers will supply turkeys or turkey breasts for the Thanksgiving meal.


As 100 people line up the week before Thanksgiving to collect food at the Food Bank, volunteer Donald Olson says, “Everybody here is so happy.”


“I strongly believe we are a not a storage facility, but a distributor,” says Martin. “We want to get the products out to the people who need them.”


W2W Food  Bank“They are all darlings,” says a chipper Dorothy Nimtz. “All the volunteers are so polite, they make me feel I’m important. They make me feel good.”


“Everybody helps out,” says Martin, pointing to a man running out in the cold rain to retrieve shopping carts for people in line.


A Stuff the Truck event was held Nov. 18 at the North Coast Fred Meyer sponsored in conjunction with Arbor Care Tree Specialists. CCA collected three big pallets of food along with cash donated by customers.


W2W Turkey boxesWarrenton-Hammond Healthy Kids, Inc.


On. Nov. 21, volunteers at Warrenton Grade School packed 100 boxes with ingredients for a healthy turkey dinner to Warrenton-Hammond Healthy Kids, Inc.


Fifth-grade boys helped fill the boxes as a community project. A benefactor paid for the boys’ basketball team tournament fees. In return their coach, Chris Palmer, said they could accept the donation if they paid it forward through community service. They chose helping with the turkey baskets.


“Walmart generously donated all the ingredients,” says Debbie Morrow, a member of The Way to Wellville Strategic Council and Warrenton-Hammond School District Board.


Turkeys, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, rolls and brownie mixes filled the boxes.


The Healthy Kids program supplies about 300 kids with food each weekend through its backpack program. Supporting the health needs of Warrenton kids are Warrenton Fiber Company, Hampton Lumber and Windermere Foundation.


The Way to Wellville and its sponsor, Columbia Pacific CCO, support healthy food and lifestyles.