Volunteers from South Lincoln Resources load up donated food items for the organization’s holiday food baskets at Waldport High School before the start of last Friday night's football game. The 20-year-old holiday food program distributes more than 1,000 food baskets a year.
WALDPORT – Last week, Waldport High School and Crestview Heights School collected food for South Lincoln Resources during Homecoming Spirit Week.
But Tonner Hays, president of South Lincoln Resources, said the food collections are just starting to ramp up for the holiday season.
The collecting for holiday food baskets started this month and will run through December so that the organization can provide food for families on the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
Waldport students were encouraged to bring a can of food along with them to last Friday’s Homecoming football game, and Hays said he was there collecting donated items wearing a soup can costume.
“Every little bit helps,” Waldport High School principal Tyler Stiner said.
Hays agreed, saying, “This (collection) goes a long ways toward getting food in the Thanksgiving food boxes.”
The food boxes for the holiday gift baskets include the full fixings for a holiday meal like turkey, carrots and onions, bread and potatoes.
Individuals and families receive the food and prepare and cook the meal themselves.
Three boxes of food are given to a family on average with each holiday food basket, and Hays said for bigger families it is more.
“We have a menu that we use to fill the boxes to make sure they have a good rounded meal going on,” he said.
South Lincoln Resources have seen more people signing up for the holiday food baskets the last few years, with a total of 875 people receiving food last Thanksgiving and an even higher number of 1,100 people for Christmas.
“Every year the need is higher. Going over a thousand people was pretty shocking last year, and in the time I’ve been here, we were doing less than 200 baskets for holidays (when we first started), and last year for Christmas we did 400 baskets, so it has increased,” Hays said.
South Lincoln Resources has been gathering donated food and monetary donations for the holiday food baskets since 1983.
Hays added that as programs funded through the federal government slow down, the need for these types of resources is even greater.
“It puts more of a burden on every community, and meeting it is a big deal, so we are really happy about that, that we are able to meet it,” he said. “We not only collect donations, we buy food (for the baskets) with the money that people give us. We have people of all ages – seniors, the disabled, people in good health. It’s anybody needing food that otherwise might not have food to eat for the holidays.”
The volunteer-based organization is already thinking about the upcoming Christmas season, and three local fire departments put on Operation Santa and collect food for Christmas each year. South Lincoln Resources also sponsors another program that gives gifts to needy children during the holidays.
Non-perishable items like canned vegetables, fruit, beans, soups, tuna and peanut butter are all good items to donate for the holiday baskets.
South Lincoln Resources has collection tubs at grocery stores, banks, churches, clubs and businesses throughout Waldport and Yachats.
“We have somebody collecting food all the time, and we’ll take food up until real close to Christmas,” Hays said.
The application deadline for Thanksgiving holiday food baskets is Tuesday, Nov. 12. Low-income residents living in Seal Rock, Waldport, Yachats, Tidewater, Five Rivers and Ten Mile are welcome to submit applications. Forms are available in Waldport, Yachats and Seal Rock. Take completed applications to Washington Federal, 325 Hemlock (Hwy 34), in Waldport or mail to South Lincoln Resources, P.O. Box 1638, Waldport, OR 97394.
In addition to food donations, cash contributions are also welcome and can be mailed to South Lincoln County Resources. For additional information, call South Lincoln Resources at 541-563-2388.For the complete article see the 11-06-2013 issue.
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