Volunteers deliver more than 1,000 boxes of food and toys

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - James Pesheck, middle, hands Jason Carrington, a sophomore at Aloha High School, a box full of food and toys to be delivered to the needy during the annual Beaverton Elks Lodge Christmas Basket Delivery.The open space area of the Beaverton Elks Lodge resembled a chaotic grocery store Saturday morning with volunteers lined up single file, ready to fill their carts with a cornucopia of canned goods, fresh produce and meat.

In the end, the goal (which ultimately was successful) was to pack more than 1,000 boxes full of food for needy families around the area to ensure they have a nice holiday season.

The annual tradition is a marriage between Beaverton Elks Lodge No. 1989 and the Beaverton Family Resource Center run through the Beaverton School District.

“We get all our names and addresses for people who are needy through the Beaverton (Family) Resource Center,” said Linda Beymer, a trustee on the Elks board who was busy coordinating the chaos early Saturday morning.

From there, the Elks fill the lists of grocery items families need to tide them over during the holidays.

“It’s organized chaos,” Beymer admitted as about 35 carts (on loan from Albertson’s) snaked their way by card tables stacked with massive arrays of canned goods (tuna, soups, etc.) and bags of fresh produce (carrots, potatoes, etc.).by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Logan Faulkner, 9, who is a Cub Scout with Pack 767, waits in line with his shopping cart to fill his list with food and toys for the needy at the annual Beaverton Elks Lodge Christmas Basket Delivery.

“I’m having a great time,” said Beymer, adding that she enjoys seeing young people out and getting involved. Every day last week, members of the Beaverton Elks Lodge gathered to assemble the food and boxes for distribution to 206 families.

By early Saturday morning, a completely filled Budget rental truck made the first run of the day, making deliveries to 35 families. Other personal vehicles quickly followed.

In one corner of the Elks Lodge room, Shirley Huitt and her helper, Debbie Fisher, helped coordinate the movement of boxes of toys (one which was filled with stuffed animals, crayons, action toys and puzzles) into the shopping carts.

The Elks filled 206 boxes thanks to donations from local television stations KGW Channel 8 and Fox 12.

“It takes us all week to sort out the toys and pack the boxes,” said Huitt. “It’s very fulfilling.”

Among the larger toys that went out to some lucky children were eight bicycles, a big push doll buggy and an electric guitar, said Huitt.

Two Cub Scouts from Pack 767 out of Hazeldale Elementary School, who were concentrating on packing cans of tomato sauce into boxes, reflected on coming to help out.

“It’s pretty fun,” said Dallas Cessna, 10. “I like helping the other families who don’t get very many presents for Christmas.”

A fellow Scout, Zach Alloway, also 10, TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Joe Hernandez, a sophomore at Sunset High School, pushes a shopping cart with boxes of food and toys to be delivered to the needy during the annual Beaverton Elks Lodge Christmas Basket Delivery.

“This is my second year, and it feels good to help all the people who can’t afford to get a lot of food and presents for their families,” he said. “It’s hard work, but it’s fun.”

Near the end, every box received a loaf of bread and bag of biscuits, compliments of Bimbo Bakeries, as well as a good-sized ham.

“We’ll probably give away 250 hams this Christmas,” said Ed Stahly, a past exhaulted ruler and chairman of the Christmas Basket Committee.

By mid-morning, Stahly said everyone was gearing up to be finished by noon with the drivers gradually coming back from delivering their loads.

“When we get 50 more baskets out, we won’t care because then we get to eat chili,” said Stahly of the annual tradition of rewarding everyone with a spicy bowl of the soup.

Stahly, who is a pro at making sure everything goes as planned since he has 45 years of helping organize the annual food drive under his belt, said donations for much of the food comes from about 10 Beaverton elementary schools.

Stahly said he’d be back bright and early on Sunday morning, trying to contact those families who weren’t at home or who the drivers couldn’t locate.

While they only had 10 to 12 families they couldn’t locate last year, other times the numbers are higher.

“I can remember times when I was looking for 50 of them,” Stahly said.

Still, all the effort is worth it, he said, emphasizing he enjoys the annual event and the season of giving.

“It’s always good at Christmas time,” he TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Boy Scouts and volunteers line up with their shopping carts to fill them with food and toys for the needy at the annual Beaverton Elks Lodge Christmas Basket Delivery.

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