The domino effect has struck the Glendale Community Care Food Pantry. Though the food bank hasn’t been knocked to the ground, it is forced to practice severe belt-tightening at the same time volunteers seek to meet an expanding need.
Despite the adversity, the humble and grateful attitude of its director makes a refreshing change from the lamentations she could be expressing. And that may inspire greater efforts to help the Glendale food bank help others.
The Glendale pantry is one of 15 in Douglas County listed on United Community Action Network’s website. UCAN provides most of the food distributed from the pantry’s shelves; last year, the total was about 40,000 pounds. The Glendale pantry typically serves 60 households each month, feeding 200 people.
Until a short time ago, the pantry operated from a Mehlwood Lane building owned by the Swanson Group. As pantry Director Winnie Dykman told News-Review reporter Carisa Cegavske, “for three and a half years, we were there at no cost whatsoever ... we were spoiled.”
The building housed the pantry rent-free while also providing space for the Glendale School District. School officials paid a $1 leasing fee to the company best known for its lumber mills but that also supplies commercial and firefighting equipment through Swanson Aviation.
But the school district recently opted to leave the Mehlwood Lane site as enrollment continued to decline. That was one domino. A second was the building’s poor condition, which prompted Swanson to make a business decision. The building got a date with the wrecker’s ball, the site was earmarked for a helicopter pad and the pantry hit the road for its former location — the Destiny Center on Pacific Avenue.
It was fortunate the pantry had a place to retreat. It’s unfortunate that economic conditions have boosted the numbers of people in need of assistance. The pantry is wedging its nonperishable goods into a 9-by-20-foot space in the building owned by Azalea-Glen Christian Center. Foods requiring chilling and freezing are stored elsewhere.
Of course, the Glendale pantry has no monopoly on hard times. Shortages and budget cuts affect a widening pool of people in the county, the state, the nation. It seems unreasonable to expect rescue or relief for every program in trouble.
Yet it’s hard to ignore Oregon Food Bank reports showing 27 percent of households receiving help in 2012 comprised two-parent households. Twenty percent of recipient households contained veterans. In 17 percent of households turning to food banks, there is at least one full-time worker in the home.
The Glendale pantry has a simple wish list. Its volunteers are hoping for land and $30,000 to pay for a prefabricated building big enough to hold food supplies and provide a little elbow room for operations.
It seems like a modest plan to help ease some of the struggles in the county’s second-smallest city. As the Glendale pantry casts out a line for assistance, we hope the request attracts a few nibbles.