By Mary Owen
Soup, chili, macaroni & cheese, cereal,
peanut butter, tuna, canned fruit,
vegetables, pasta, sugar, flour
Other items to consider donating:
soap, shampoo, toilet paper,
Source: Stayton Food Bank
Some 225 families seek assistance at the Stayton Food Bank each month, and that number continues to rise.
“It’s a sign of the times,” said director Edna Rickman.
Rickman said the food bank has plenty of food right now, thanks to the generosity of the community.
Families in Marion and Polk counties continue to struggle to make ends meet and to keep food on the table in a persistent lagging economy. Last year, one in five local families ate from an emergency food box at least once.
“Amid double-digit unemployment, more and more families find themselves unsure if they will be able to pay for basic necessities such as housing, utilities, medical care and food for themselves and their children,” said Ron Hays, president of Marion-Polk Food Share.
Food drives by the Stayton Cooperative Telephone Co., Foothills Church and other groups have filled the shelves – for now. The Stayton High School Future Business Leaders of America, Associated Student Body, Key Club and Science Club members are holding a Winter Carnival and Canned Food Drive, Dec. 3, 6-9 p.m. at the high school.
“People are just coming in and bringing things,” she said. “Someone came in the other day with a load of toilet paper. The community is so supportive, it’s just unbelievable. We’re just proud to live here.”
More food is expected throughout the holiday season, a tough time of year for many families who fall under federal poverty guidelines, she said.
“We’re looking forward to the Lion’s Club food drive,” Rickman added. “Last year they collected tons and tons of food. And we have bins at Roth’s for people to donate.”
Additionally, food will be collected during the second Stayton Annual Clean-Up Day, Dec. 11, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Residents may drop of non-perishable food donations with their leaves and other yard debris at the city of Stayton shops, 1820 N. First Ave.
Seniors who need assistance raking, bagging, or having their yard debris picked up and delivered to the drop-off site are asked to sign up by contacting Stayton Public Works at 503-769-2919.
Clean-Up Days are offered by the Stayton Public Works Department in cooperation with Allied Waste, Stayton Food Bank, and the Marion County Solid Waste Department. “We’re looking forward to the Clean-Up donations coming in,” Rickman said.
To make sure people are seeking out all avenues of help, Rickman suggests families experiencing or at risk of experiencing food shortages look into the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, as well as the food bank.
“People who want special Christmas dinners should sign up now at the Stayton Resource Center,” she added.
Following the holidays, Rickman said the Stayton Community Food Bank will need volunteers to help sort food in the warehouse. Volunteers are needed Jan. 8 starting at 9 a.m. at the storage facility, Seventh and Virginia streets.
For information, call Stayton Community Food Bank at 503-769-6459.