Food Pantry Starts New Donation System

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COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. — A Cottage Grove food pantry introduced a new way to feed the hungry, Tuesday.

Coordinators say the idea comes out of Ashland and involves community members regularly donating food collected by volunteers every two months. They say it could be a great way to keep their hungry neighbors fed year round.

“In Lane County on the whole, 39 percent are eligible for food assistance,” said Alicia Hines, Food for Lane County Food Resource Developer.

Food for Lane County representatives say those numbers go up in rural communities, including Cottage Grove.

“The demand since I’ve worked here has increased dramatically,” said Mike Fleck, Community Sharing Executive Director.

About two and a half years ago, the pantry at Community Sharing averaged 500 food boxes a month and they now average about 700.

Lillian Hughes and her twin boys couldn’t be more grateful for the chance to come each month.

“If it wasn’t for community members and the staff that work here, we wouldn’t be here; it helps out so much, so much,” Hughes said.

The staff says a program like this could do wonders.

“Beginning in the spring and summer, we end up with very little inventories of food; so we have to curtail the amount of food we give out, which of course impacts the families that are suffering from food insecurities,” Fleck said.

Both they and pantry patrons couldn’t be more eager to get things started.

“I think it would be wonderful and I would like to hope that if I could help in some way, I would be right there,” Hughes said.

They all hope their fellow neighbors feel the same.

The first informational meeting will be Tuesday, July 9 from 10-11 a.m. at the Cottage Grove Community Center. There will also be ones on Saturday, July 13 and Tuesday, July 16.

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