SACA on hunger: Food drive proceeds through October

October 2012 Posted in Community, News

By Brenna Wiegand

October food drives
Volunteers will deliver empty
sacks to Silverton homes
Oct. 15-18 and return to
collect donations
Saturday, Oct. 20.Please bags on your porch by 10 a.m.
Items needed included soup, peanut butter,
dinner mixes, pasta, canned fruits
and vegetables, personal care items,
canned tuna, cereal, chili, baking items.

Information: 503-873-3446;

Through Oct. 31 Silverton’s
Wilco Farm Store, 734 McClaine St.,
is offering a $5 reward gift card
to be used on your next purchase
if you bring in five cans of
non-perishable food. Wilco also will
accept cash donations for the food bank.

“Brett” and his wife have seven kids. He is a hard-working man who does whatever job comes along to provide for his family. He is reliable, amiable, respectful, humble, and just a good person. He comes in to SACA only when things are dire. He has told us before he doesn’t need help (when we could tell he did), and that we should use our assistance funds for someone with greater needs.

“Charity” takes in homeless people. She gives them jobs and keeps them fed. She is retired and a benevolent soul. We give her enough food for however many people she has that day. She is as honest as the day is long, social, grateful and caring. We only see her when she needs help.

These are two of the hundreds of people whose lives have become intertwined with those working on behalf of Silverton Area Community Aid, which is why SACA supporters tend to take it personally when they are unable to deliver their clients the food or financial assistance they need.

They are counting on community members to fill the shelves and storage room with food to give to people like Brett and Charity.

Volunteers will deliver empty grocery bags on doorsteps within the Silverton city limits from Oct. 15 to 18 and return Oct. 20, hoping to find the bags filled with non-perishable food.

“The beauty of the food drive and the whole season from October through December is how well the community works together,” SACA Director Dixon Bledsoe said. “We only get one $7,000 grant from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) but our total budget, with the money and value of the food and other services we get is about $400,000. So it all comes from donations.”

SACA’s largest partner is Marion-Polk Food Share, donating one third of the quarter-million pounds of food SACA receives a year.

“We try to give people 5-7 days of food, but we would like to be able to go 7 to 10 days,” Bledsoe said. “If it weren’t for Marion Polk food Share, it would be much slimmer pickings.”

Local businesses, especially Roth’s and BrucePac, frequently come to the rescue with generous food donations.

“Virtually all the churches have been wonderful,” Bledsoe said. “For instance, the Apostolic Christian Church provides our eggs and milk every month.”

With four part-time employees including Bledsoe, SACA relies on 30 regular volunteers at the food bank and another 300 throughout the year. In addition, private groups, churches and businesses hold their own food drives and donations for SACA.

“When you know you’ve got, say, 100 people giving $25 a month, that’s $30,000 a year,” Bledsoe said. “A lot of people can afford $25 a month – and with that we can keep people in their homes with their heat, power, water and sewer services turned on.”

Bledsoe encourages people who need food assistance to visit SACA and learn what services are available.

SACA serves residents who live within the boundaries of the Silver Falls School District.

“We’ve got some really good food, including a lot of great meat, tuna, fresh veggies, peanut butter… So if you need us, come on in,” Bledsoe said.

Nobody is sent away empty handed. As Bledsoe said, “Hunger hurts. Let’s stop the pain.”

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