The Birth of the Angels by Pamala Joy, Founder and Director of the Ashland Food Angels
The Birth of the Angels
by Pamala Joy, Founder and Director of the Ashland Food Angels
Community service has been the focus of my life for many decades, and past experiences led to the creation of the Food Angels. In my twenties, living in London, England, I was a core part of a community arts group which took creative opportunities to low-income areas in London and other places in Britain, and I used my theater background to help organize many community arts events as part of a coalition of multi-media artists. We also ran a four-floor arts center where I participated as teacher and performer, as well as running the community café, a wonderful learning experience for me.
For much of my thirties I was a member of the internationally renowned spiritual community, Findhorn, in the Highlands of Scotland, where I helped start the recycling program and often worked in the kitchen. Then for two years I wrote and performed children’s shows on environmental themes in Hawaii, helping to bring much needed awareness to helping with planetary issues.
With the move to Ashland in the early 1990’s, I was already well connected to my desire to create community benefit. When I was asked by the Northwest Seasonal Workers to do a weekly food shuttle for them, transporting 100 pounds of potatoes from Ashland’s restaurant Geppetto’s, I readily agreed and began searching for ways to increase the amount I collected. At first I contacted all of Ashland’s bakers and gathered the day-old bread which was being thrown away. Then a meeting with Tom Cantwell led to daily pick-ups from the back of Cantwell’s large market, which was located downhill from the Old Armory. As the food intake increased, I found other organizations which needed the food, such as Uncle Food’s Diner, Head Start and the Senior Center. Over time the donors and recipients changed, but the rescue of usable food went on daily from the mid-90’s through today.
Early on I had wanted to call the project Food Angels, but others thought that name too “airy-fairy,” so we settled on “Food for People,” but later I followed my own intuition and changed the name to what it is today: the Ashland Food Angels. I feel it reflects what many of us do here on Earth – act as angels to help others. We all have opportunities to be angels. I am grateful that I was guided to where I could help.