Silverton Lions and Silverton Elks run Gates field kitchen as part of wildfire relief effort

October 2020 Posted in Community
Lions Club Breakfast. Photo by Ward Frederick.

Lions Club Breakfast. Photo by Ward Frederick.

By Melissa Wagoner

When Ward Frederick decided to open a field kitchen in Gates in the days following the Beachie Creek fire, he knew he could fund the venture for right around one week, tops. But after that…he wasn’t so sure.

“It was kind of like, ‘If you build it, they will come,’” he laughed, quoting the movie, Field of Dreams.

And so, focused on that initial one-week goal, Frederick contacted the Silverton Lions Club and the Silverton Elks Lodge – both of which he is a member.

“Whatever mythical creature that is – half elk and half lion – I am one,” he mused.

And both clubs leapt into action, doing what they do best – coming to the aid of their community.

“The Elks’ Oktoberfest trailer is being used and then the Lions’ pancake equipment,” Frederick noted. Explaining the impetus for the original field kitchen idea, which was to utilize the strengths of both organizations. “And originally we thought we’d be operating in tents.”

But once allowed to visit Gates, Frederick discovered the Gates Community Church of Christ, which was still standing, almost untouched in the center of town, and best of all, it was willing to host the field kitchen.

Gates Community Church of Christ
40070 Gates School Road, Gates
Breakfast: 8 – 11 a.m.
Lunch: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Dinner: 4 – 7 p.m.
Items needed: Food, drinks,
single-serve items (condiments, etc.),
disposable plates and utensils, to-go boxes,
napkins and COVID masksTo volunteer or donate contact
wfrederick22@ymail.com or tomiwolff@ymail.com

“We ended up pulling into the parking lot and just as I pulled in, a fellow from the Knights of Columbus that was running the food distribution and the minister happened to be there,” Frederick recalled. Remarking on what felt, at the time, like a sign. “That was all completely happenstance that we all showed up at the same time.”

After that initial meeting, the field kitchen came together relatively quickly and began providing three meals a day beginning on Sept. 21.

“Breakfast, lunch and dinner every day since then,” Frederick confirmed. “350 to 400 meals total per day. And it’s gradually increasing as the word gets out.”

That initial funding, along with equipment and manpower, has been, up to now, largely provided by the two Silverton-based clubs. But those funds have recently run out. Thankfully, more has – just as Frederick hoped – been flowing in.

“We figured once we got everything up and running, more money, volunteers and food would be forthcoming,” Frederick said optimistically. “Otherwise we’d be out of money right now!”
Instead, a variety of individuals and companies have contributed funds, donated food and provided materials. While members of the Elks and Lions Clubs throughout the state have begun working shifts.

And that’s good news because, although the effort has been highly successful thus far – providing much needed nourishment to those who are returning to their homes – Frederick recognizes that there are still many difficult weeks ahead.

“How long we’ll be there is unknown,” he admitted. “Either when people stop coming or we run out of money. Obviously, I hope it’s when there’s no more need.”

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