Day 68: Ashland Emergency Food Bank

14 Jun

One of the aspects of a caring community is that it is willing to take care of those who are less fortunate. Ashland has been doing this for many years via the Ashland Emergency Food Bank. The food bank has been in existence for quite a while. The motto on their home page offers insight into the care and dedication of its volunteers: No one should go hungry. All are treated with dignity.

For many years the food bank has relied on donations from religious groups, individuals and from the Letter Carrier food drive. Grants added food to the coffers as well as donations from businesses. However, the need was greater than the supply.

Then, about two years ago, John Javna and Paul Giancarlo founded the Ashland Food Project. It’s a wonderful system whereby members of the community are given a bag to collect food for the food bank. They need only buy one extra item per week for eight weeks. Then the food is picked up and delivered to the food bank. The first food drive in 2009 brought in 3,700 pounds of food. In two years that number has grown significantly. The latest drive brought in over 17,000 pounds of food! However, the goal of the project goes beyond the collection of food. It strives to create a sense of “neighborhood consciousness” and the founders hope that this model can be brought to communities around the country.

Additionally, the Ashland Food Bank has received fresh produce for the last few years from the Ashland Rotary Garden Project. Each week during the growing season, a number of Rotarians volunteer at a garden located near Emigrant Lake. The volunteers till the land, plant, weed (constantly!) and eventually harvest fresh vegetables. All of the produce raised is then donated to the food bank, and last year, that amounted to nearly 3,000 pounds of produce!

I am proud to be part of a community that takes care of those in need especially when it is done with such care and respect for the individuals it serves. Today I made a quiche for a long time volunteer of the Ashland Emergency Food Bank. It is a small gift to recognize her for all that she has given over the years.

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