Ashland Emergency Food Bank
By Adam Bogle
One could easily argue that the most basic human need is food. Of course we can argue about what constitutes food. I mean, is American cheese really food? And this basic need is where the Ashland Emergency Food Bank (AEFB) comes in.
Who do they help?
The amazing fact is that the people they are helping may well be your neighbor. And you probably don’t even know it.
I personally know the story of a person who was helped by the AEFB awhile ago. You may or may not remember, but a few years ago there was a giant recession that hit the USA. The heart of this started with a crash of the real estate market. There were some people who saw this coming, although I don’t think anyone saw how bad it was going to be. This person I know was a Realtor® who had only been selling homes for a couple of years before the recession hit and was just not prepared for it.
Did you know that Realtors® for the most part are self employed, and cannot receive unemployment benefits. Even if they go months without selling a house! Even food stamps are difficult to get because the applications aren’t geared toward people who make lump sums.
So when crash came, he used the little money he did have to pay the power bill, and keep the Internet on, and pay for all of the expenses that come with being a Realtor®. Because there would be no digging out if he couldn’t continue to go to work.
It is hard for a prideful person who is seen as a success in the community to admit they need assistance. Fortunately, his understanding wife was happy to undertake the monthly trips to AEFB for some peanut butter, pasta, etc. She said that the experience was always pleasant, and was impressed at how organized they were.
The Ashland Emergency Food Bank helped a lot of people through that recession and they are still at it. Last year, 2015, they served 611 households each month, or about 1500 people. Their customers include the unemployed, chronically ill and disabled, working poor, families, students, seniors and homeless that live regularly in Ashland. They do provide a one-time small bag of food to the traveling homeless, because their mission is that no one should go hungry. However, they reserve the “shopping” for Ashland residents, including the homeless residents.
How do they help?
The Ashland Emergency Food Bank is located in the old KFC building at 560 Clover Lane. They are open Monday-Friday and the first Saturday of the month from 9:30-12:30. In addition to being a place that those in need can come by and pick up enough rations for 2-3 days of meal, AEFB also distributes food to several local organizations that share their mission, including SOU food pantry, Maslow Project and others.
How Can You Help?
There are a number of ways to help. The easiest is to support the Ashland Food Project green bag drive and leave your green bag out on the 2nd Saturday of every other month. Cereal is always an item that they seem to run short of, so consider adding a box or two to the bag.
AEFB also needs hundreds of volunteers on a regular basis. Their family of volunteers collectively donated 6045 hours of time to daily operations last year.
And monetary donations help with the purchase of perishable foods, and are always welcome.
The Rest of the Story
Now this is the part where everyone who remembers Paul Harvey, gets to know “the rest of the story”. As you know, the real estate market picked back up and my family, who needed that assistance during the crash recovered and picked themselves up as well.
Yes, I was the Realtor® in need, and because of this experience my family decided to take the term “bank” seriously; not just as a place just to make withdrawals, but also as a place that needs regular deposits made into it. I hope to never have to make another withdrawal from the “bank”, but we will continue to provide food, volunteer time at the bimonthly food drive, and monetary support.
For more info on how you can help, check out their Facebook page, or contact their executive director Pam Marsh at 541-488-9544 weekdays between 9:30 and noon.