Christmas Basket Program for 2013 Wraps Up

On December 20, 2013, the Christmas Basket program of the Orland Pantry gave out food boxes to 455 families in the Orland, Hamilton City and Artois area.  The boxes were filled by volunteers from all over the community with food collected by students of many of the local schools or donated by individuals and organizations, along with appropriate items from the Pantry stockpiles.  A total of 6,640 pounds of food was donated especially for this program, including at least one pickup-load of oranges (627 pounds), 144 pounds of squash and avocados, and 600 pounds of rice.  In addition, potatoes, dried beans, and hams were purchased locally (much of it at discounted prices) using grants from the Salvation Army, the Barceloux-Tibessart Foundation, the Land O’Lakes Foundation and others.

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In addition to the generous quantity of food filling the boxes, the Orland Rotary provided an age-appropriate toy for each child (twelve years of age or under) and the Friends of the Orland Free Library provided a book for those children.  Also, the Knights of Columbus provided free coats for anyone needing them.

Families registered for this program in advance, stating the number of persons in the household and listing the names of the children twelve and under.  In all, 1,735 persons were registered, including 740 children.

The Pantry is grateful to all of the volunteers that helped us with this annual event and for the many cash donations from individuals, businesses, and organizations.  We could not do all of this without your support.

Simple Gesture “Green Bag” Program Completes Its Second Year

On December 14, 2013, the Orland Pantry completed the second full year of its Simple Gesture “Green Bag” food donation program.  The results have been excellent, providing the Pantry with a recurring source of non-perishable food for the food boxes that are picked up by needy members of our community twice a week from early in January to the middle of December.

In the first year of operation, the green bag program brought in 17,889 pounds of usable food from as many as 335 donors.  In the second year, it brought in 23,906 pounds from a peak of 365 donors.  The food is picked up from the donors by volunteer drivers on the second Saturday of the even-numbered months.  This all goes into into our weekly food distribution program, which still must be supplemented by local food purchases using cash donations and money from grants, such as that from the Land O’Lakes Foundation.

In the two years just ending, the weekly food distributions from the Pantry provided food to make up at least 76,302 meals, with 91.7% of these meals going to families with children, seniors or elderly persons.

A large number of volunteers from our community lend their time and energy to make this operation work.  In addition to the Board members and all of the volunteer drivers, high school students, LDS missionaries, and many others spend time bringing the food into our storage areas.  All must be weighed, examined for condition and “use by” dating, sorted and shelved.  Below is a snapshot of a recent sorting operation.

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Post Office Food Drive Delivers

On Saturday, May 11, 2013, the Annual Mothers’ Day Weekend Food Drive delivered 1,316 pounds of food to the Orland Pantry to help feed needy families in our community.  As is often the case, some of the food was outdated (expired or more that one year past its “best if used by” date), but a net amount of 1,133 pounds was usable in our Pantry.

This result is a very much appreciated donation to our stocks of food.  It once again demonstrates the generous spirit of the citizens of our community.  The Pantry wants to thank everyone that put out their bags of food, and we especially want to thank all of the postal workers that made the extra effort to collect the bags and deliver them to us.

The number of families asking for food boxes has slowed up somewhat, now that the warmer weather is making jobs more available.  However, on a year-to-year basis, the need continues to grow.  In the first quarter of 2011, we provided food to make up just under 4,000 meals.  In that quarter of 2012, it was just over 8,000 meals, and it was over 12,200 in the first quarter of this year.

We could not meet this demand without food drives like that of the Post Office, along with our continuing “green bag” program.  (Click on the Simple Gesture tab above for more information on that program.)

Land O’Lakes Foundation Award Renewed

The Land O’Lakes Foundation has again awarded a very generous $20,000 toward the fight against hunger in Glenn County.  $15,000 of this award is designated to go the the Orland Pantry and the rest to the Willows Food Bank operated by the Glenn County Human Resource Agency.

This award is a very strong demonstration of the commitment of Land O’Lakes, as an important local employer, to support the residents of Glenn County.

The Orland Pantry wishs to again thank the Land O’Lakes Foundation and the local Dairy Association in Orland for coordinating this altruistic gesture and for their continuing support to local residents.