FOOD ANGELS HEALTHY AND STRONG
By Pamala Joy, Founder of Food Angels
Despite the setbacks caused by mandated restrictions in response to the CoVid threat, the Ashland Food Angels have not missed a day of collecting and distributing food which is destined to those in need in the area. Because we collected most of our food from the Coop, Shop N Kart and the Farmers Market, we have continued to pick up their donated items, primarily produce and dairy products. Since the initial restrictions in March, we have focused on giving food to the Ashland Emergency Food Bank and the community free meal programs which are sponsored by Peace House. All other programs were closed down in the spring. Thus our work has been simplified.
When the fires devastated the Rogue Valley, the Food Angels contacted some of the local distribution sites, such as the Elks, the site at Carpenter Hall run by members of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and the sites in Talent and Phoenix. We were able to send some of our overflow food to these places for fire victims. As one of the Food Angels was also directly involved with the OSF pantry, this connection allowed a weekly flow to Carpenter Hall. Fruits were used to make jam and fruit leather; tomatoes went into sauce.
Our main focus now is providing raw materials for the four days of meal distribution which is the new form for Uncle Food’s Diner. Led by veteran chef Maren Faye, a small team creates wonderful meals which are boxed and bagged, then distributed at five sites around Ashland. We also provide materials for Helga Motley, who makes and gives away fruit smoothies once or twice weekly. Other foods go to the Food Bank. The Food Angels plan to continue in this way indefinitely, with our only day off being Christmas when the stores close. Our dedicated team of fifteen volunteers collects food every morning and every evening without fail.