(Photo | Courtesy of Bend Food Project)
A million pounds of food. That’s how much the Bend Food Project, a nonprofit focused on alleviating food insecurity in Central Oregon, has collected in just seven years. That equates to 800,000 meals.
“It’s an astonishing number,” said Larry Marceaux, who started the Bend Food Project with his wife, Sue. “We never dreamed we could hit the one-million-pound goal so soon. Central Oregonians have been quick to volunteer and donors have been very generous.”
Donors are given a now infamous green bag. For two months, the donor keeps the bag in their pantry or garage and adds a can or two of non-perishable food after a trip to the grocery store. Every other month, a neighborhood coordinator picks up the bag from the donor’s front porch, leaving a new empty one behind, and transports the bags from their route to a central location. The content of all those green bags is then sent to the Giving Plate (the area’s largest nonprofit food pantry) distribution facility.
Although the Bend Food Project was launched in October 2015 with just ten friends who collected 2,700 pounds of food that first month, today 240 neighborhood coordinators collect food from 3,300 donors every other month. This impressive growth in volunteers and donors is critical considering that the number of people who are food insecure has jumped by 30 percent in just the last year.
“Our goal this year is to continue to grow our volunteer/donor base to keep up with the increasing need in our community,” states co-founder Sue Marceaux. “Given the nature of the U.S. economy, that need will only get bigger.”
The next collection event will be held on October 8th from 9:30 to 12:30. Individuals interested in getting involved can sign up to be food donors, neighborhood coordinators, and/or volunteers at bendfoodproject.com.
Are you ready to help stem hunger in Central Oregon? Then join the Bend Food Project’s efforts.
“We’re now aiming for that two-million-pound mark,” said Marceaux. “We’ve got a pretty impressive giving community here.”