Many new households coming to Ashland Emergency Food Bank for help
By Julia Sommer for Ashland.news
Ashland Emergency Food Bank, founded 50 years ago by a coalition of local faith-based communities, has seen a huge uptick in clients over the past few months, after a downturn during the COVID-19 pandemic: July saw 58 new households requesting food, 60 new households applied in August, 63 in September, and 80 in October. At the moment, the Food Bank serves about 525 households each month.
At the same time, the number of volunteers is down due to the lingering effects of the pandemic. The Food Bank is currently buying $15-$20,000 worth of food a month despite receiving all of Ashland Food Project’s green bags, which provide about 35% of the Food Bank’s supplies. The Food Project delivers 25,000 pounds of food in three hours the second Saturday of every even-numbered month. Ashland Food Angels also delivers food five days/week to the Food Bank.
AEFB Executive Director Amey Broeker came on board full-time in May, after serving as a Food Bank volunteer and board member. At the moment, there are 60 volunteers. Broeker would like about 10 more, and a volunteer to help with the website, newsletter, and filing. She also needs more drivers to deliver food to home-bound clients, and a few more board members wouldn’t hurt. Faith-based communities swinging back into action include Temple Emek Shalom, United Church of Christ and Trinity Episcopal.
AEFB is open to residents of Ashland and Talent and surrounding rural areas.
Current ID and proof of residency (utility bill, rental agreement, bank statement) are required, but no financial information. For the unhoused, travelers bags are provided. The Food Bank owns its building at 560 Clover Lane on the east side of Interstate 5. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Twice a month, client households receive enough food for two or three days. In addition, a free table outside provides produce, eggs, and bread at-or-close-to-expiration date donated by local food stores. Clients, including the unhoused, may avail themselves of this table up to four times per month.
COVID-19 restrictions are still in effect at the Food Bank: masks are required and clients must wait outside while their requests are filled by volunteers (pre-pandemic, clients shopped with volunteers).
Amounts from each category of food (soup, protein, fruit, vegetables, cereal, etc.) depend on household size. Olive oil and beef stew tend to run out. In November and December, in addition to its monthly allotment, each household receives a holiday box containing either a ham or part of a turkey and other goodies.
Limited hygiene products are also available.
Ashland Emergency Food Bank is a nonprofit organization, so donations are tax- deductible. Food donations are gratefully accepted during open hours. To find out what is most needed, donors are asked to call 541-488-9544 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To make a monetary donation, you can click here to go to their site, or drop off the donation during regular business hours, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, at 560 Clover Lane, Ashland.
The Food Bank also has a sizable garden started by the Rotary Club of Ashland Lithia Springs (the Tuesday morning club). The garden is currently untended, except for a small pollinator garden.
Email freelance writer Julia Sommer of Ashland at email@example.com.
Nov. 21 update: Information added about making monetary donations.