Scouts gather supplies for food pantry

Since the start of the year, the Ashland Emergency Food Bank has provided food for more than 1,800 children and 3,400 adults. Now with food supplies low, the Boy Scouts and students for numerous schools are mobilizing to help.

Food collection kicked off this past Saturday with the national "Scouting for Food" Boy Scout campaign. Scouts throughout Jackson County collected thousands of pounds of food for ACCESS and other local food pantries.

Ashland scouts and their leaders delivered more than 4,000 pounds of food to the Ashland Emergency Food Bank. In addition to this effort, the Ashland Middle School and Ashland High School are now running food drives.

Willow Wind School's teen leadership group will also be bringing in food in December and will help in processing the food (sorting and dating). Waldorf School is also conducting a drive

"We couldn't be more pleased with these student efforts," states Jim Martin, president of AEFB. "Like all pantries, demand has exceeded our resources, especially since we moved into our larger location."

In early 2007 AEFB moved to a more visible location in the old ACE Hardware building on Ashland Street. Martin points out that demand has increased 34 percent since last year. In October alone AEFB served 614 clients, up from 447 last October.

Martin believes that one of the challenges AEFB is facing in food and cash donations is that many people believe that when they give to ACCESS they are supporting the Ashland AEFB pantry.

"ACCESS is a fabulous organization and God bless them for all they do throughout the county," Martin said. "We certainly encourage donations to ACCESS. However, our pantry, which is the largest one serving Ashland and Talent, is not a part of ACCESS. Our pantry receives no government, city or county support. In fact, we've been a totally volunteer-run food bank operated by local faith communities for 35 years."

Anyone who would like to make a holiday donation to AEFB can drop food off any weekday between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at the Ashland Emergency Food Bank, 2200 Ashland St.

All donations are screened for quality and expiration dates. You can also mail cash donations by mailing a check to: Ashland Emergency Food Bank, P.O. Box 2578, Ashland, OR 97520.

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