SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — One donation has sparked a movement in Springfield to feed the hungry, especially children.
For the first time this weekend, nutritious food was made available to families at Hamlin Middle School. Twenty-one volunteers with Springfield Faith Center signed up to distribute it.
“It’s just another way to help people out in the hard economic times we are going through,” said volunteer Margaret Fraley.
“Springfield Faith Center adopted Hamlin Middle School about two years ago, a year and a half ago and this is an ongoing thing we are trying to do, to be in the community,” said volunteer Bill MacDonald.
Here’s how it all started. A year ago, an Elk member donated $1,000. Working with Food for Lane County and the Springfield School District, the money was used to set up a mobile food pantry at Guy Lee Elementary School.
Food for Lane County supplies the food, but the money funds school staff and was enough to cover a mobile pantry once a month for eight months. The Springfield Elks Club is now sponsoring the food pantry once a month for a year. The Rotary Club also joined in, creating a new nonprofit.
“I think Belly-Full learned about that and said, ‘We should be doing that in other areas in Springfield,’” said Carrie Copeland of Food for Lane County.
Hamlin Middle School was identified. About 85 to 90 percent of the students are signed up for food assistance.
“People that are working hard and don’t make enough money at their job to provide for their family, makes me teary. It’s just really inspiring to see when you work with the school and the staff who are so passionate about taking care of their kids,” Copeland said.
Belly-Full will provide the funding to maintain the new food pantry at Hamlin this year with volunteers providing the labor.
“Everybody helping everybody. I think it’s called, ‘Love thy neighbor,’” MacDonald said.
Organizers are calling the first food pantry at Hamlin a success. Thirty-five households received food–about 11 pounds per person. And of those helped, 67 are children.
The goal now is to spread the word so others know wholesome food is available.
For information on the food pantries held every third Saturday of the month at Guy Lee Elementary and Hamlin Middle School, click here.