What is Faith?

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. ~ Hebrews 11:1

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

If It's Tuesday It Must Be Eugene

Oh. Wait. It's Thursday isn't it? Hmmm. My days are obviously blending together. Let's see what have I done for the past two days? Oh yes! Believe me I may forget what day it is, but I will NEVER forget the last 72 hours in Eugene. Let me just say that the mayor of Eugene should be very proud. Kitty, I hope you read this. There is so much to tell that I will do this in two or three blogs so I do hope you will all read on.

Our days started with a grand tour from Patrick's friend Bob. Although he had not been to any of the locations I had on my extensive list, he was a trooper and drove, walked, jogged right along with us from place to place. He made sure we were well fueled with our daily stimulant from the local jolly green giant; well rested by offering a place to lay our heads (although you know if you read yesterday's blog that I did not partake of that very nice offer) and well fed, by cooking us a marvelous meal of salmon, blackened chicken Alfredo, potatoes and broccoli. Believe me we were stuffed.

Our first stop on this magical mystery tour was Food for Lane County. All I can say is WOW, and believe you me, that does not begin to cover it. The words in italics are direct quotes from either the Food for Lane County website and their newsletter.

FFLC may be second only to the Oregon Food Bank in Portland in size, but their compassion and selfless acts of love make them #1 to tens of thousands of families that are blessed by their efforts each year. One of the most amazing things to me was the fact that 66,000 volunteers are needed annually and they come ready to roll up their sleeves and get cooking. Literally.

Next through extensive efforts and smooth communication between FFLC and its many donors, more than 7.1 million pounds of food are collected annually. Through the efforts of the hard working volunteers and few employees, over 3000 hot meals are made and distributed daily throughout Lane County which ranges from Florence to McKenzie Bridge with a population of 351,109; 6.5 million pounds of food are distributed throughout the county yearly; 200 - 485 families are given hots meal daily.

FFLC operates many different venues for emergency food services such as:
a) Food Distribution Network
b) Cereal for Youth
c) Children's Weekend Snack Packs
d) Emergency Food Pantry System
e) Extra Helping
f) Family Dinner Program
g) Food Rescue Express
h) Community Gardens
i) Rural Delivery
j) Summer Food Program

Hopefully I did not forget anything. I cannot begin to tell you all the things they are able to do. I can tell you however that they can do what others can not, and even then they go above and beyond. If there is food that is spoiled it goes into their worm farm. From there, the soil is distributed to the three large community gardens throughout the city of Eugene which provides families with not only fresh from the earth produce but even teaches them to garden and supply their own produce when possible. So nothing and I mean nothing goes to waste at FFLC, even the waste.

Now down to numbers and how you can help.

FFLC works on a small budget of $3,000,000 per year plus in-kind donations. Last year the United States Post Office in Lane County collected and delivered 150,000 pounds of food from one day's collection. Lane County Walmart's donate more than 44,000 pounds of produce; 658,000 pounds of food are collected from grocery stores; I can not give you the numbers on what is provided by the government but it's a lot. It's just not enough. Not nearly enough.

With an increase of 4% last year of people who needed to partake of these offerings and an increase of 11% of people entering the poverty level, the donations they receive are minimal compared to what is truly needed. So many people run out of money before they run out of month. You never know who those people are. It could be your next door neighbor. A family member who is too ashamed to say anything. you could be the next person that needs the help. Please help. To donate to Food for Lane County just click on the word donations.

Below is a list of just a few other ways you can help FFLC or other food banks in your area.
Plant a garden
Donate food
Tell your elected officials about hunger
Share a meal with some one
Teach your children about hunger
Organize a food drive
Donate food from your garden
Donate services. Volunteers are always needed
Support summer food programs
Start a community garden or participate in one
Thank you Dawn for taking the time to meet with us at the last minute; taking almost 2 hours of your day to show us what wonderful, amazing things are going on at FFLC and for caring so much about the people you and your organization care for.

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