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Canby and Molalla volunteers put all efforts toward providing food during COVID-19 stay-at-home order

It's kind of surprising, but in less than a week, nonprofits were making sure that all residents in the Canby and Molalla areas who need food are aware of where it's available and how to get it.

Just remember, during these weird times many people have been laid off in order to meet the self-isolation necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19. No longer are we able to sit down in a restaurant for a meal, go to a movie or a concert or even visit our local libraries. All the people who worked in these places have had their hours cut or been laid off for the duration.

So, these nonprofits have stepped in to help. Several are in Canby and a couple in Molalla. They are helping people to get the food they need in spite of the circumstances.

DEBORAH GUINTHER - A sunny Tuesday morning brought out a good crowd to The Canby Center's food pantry.

The Canby Center

Canby Center in a few short days has stepped up to provide food for people in Canby. Normally the center works on a number of programs, but is now focusing on food efforts, said Ray Keen, executive director.

"We're making food available for those that need it," he said.

Since March 17, Canby Center will be open on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 9:30-10:30 a.m., or until everyone in line gets their food, he said. Among the foods they have and are looking for are tuna, soups, vegetables, fruit, pasta, pasta sauce and other non-perishable foods. These will be located at the center at 681 SW 2nd Avenue.

"We fully expect to provide help to increased numbers of families. We will be purchasing additional food as needed to ensure that each family has access to healthy food in a safe environment," Keen said.

Canby Center is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. It has put its other programs like life skills, education and employment on hiatus to ensure people are staying six feet away from each other, and clothing donations aren't being accepted at this time.

But like all programs currently, the Canby Center is asking those that can donate to do so. It doesn't have to be much, Keen said, whatever people can spare. People can drop off or send payments or donate online at thecanbycenter.or/donate.

St. Vincent De Paul - Canby

Gretchen McCallum is the head volunteer at the St. Vincent De Paul food bank at St. Patrick's Catholic Church. They continue to distribute food boxes, weighing about 50 pounds each from 4-8 p.m. Wednesdays.

These huge boxes include non-perishables, cheese, fresh milk, frozen meat, fruits and vegetables and bread, although stores typically donate the bread and the week of March 16, grocery stores found they were low on stocks of bread. The volunteers—the staff is all-volunteer—pull the food and box it and put it into the cars. They are following a request from the Oregon food bank that there be no human contact.

"If it was my druthers, the box would hold 75 pounds. But what we offer gives people a good start to get through the week. Children are getting breakfast and lunch at the school, but we add things they can put together themselves like macaroni and cheese and beans and rice," she said.

McCallum notes that St. Vincent De Paul buys food from the Oregon Food Bank. Because there's no overhead each of the boxes cost a minimal amount (less than $5). Because the church donates the space and pays electricity, they have no overhead and can easily feed large numbers of people for less money.

However, they still need help. Anyone that wants to send any amount of money will help. If you'd like to help, send your donation to Canby St. Vincent De Paul, PO Box 754, Canby 97013.

McCallum has been a volunteer for the past 30 years and notes they have enough volunteers.

St. Vincent De Paul - Molalla

Ray Salvetti, president of St. Vincent De Paul at St. James Catholic Church in Molalla, said the group offers food boxes once a month on the third Tuesday of the month to people who need it. It also assists with utility payments and rent up to $200 per family.

Similar to the Canby charity, they buy food from the Oregon Food Bank and U.S. Department of Agriculture and offer non-perishable foods as well as frozen meats, eggs, butter and fruit.

Salvetti said since COVID-19 they have changed some of the procedures.

"Our workers keep their distance from those collecting food boxes. They also sanitize after each person has come through. They wear rubber gloves and clean off counters as well as sanitize and wipe doorknobs and equipment," he said.

Unlike some of the other nonprofits, Salvetti noted that "volunteers are kind of skimpy" right now. But like the others, any amount of money would be helpful.

School districts

Canby School District offers students 18 and under free "grab and go" breakfast and lunch from 8-11 a.m. Monday through Friday at Baker Prairie Middle School, Carus, Eccles and Trost Elementary Schools and Ninety-one School.

Molalla River School District also offers Grab and Go lunch for those 18 and younger. They are available from 9:15-11:15 a.m. at Molalla Elementary School and Mulino Elementary School.

Colton School District will offer lunch for the same age range from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the high school cafeteria.

Canby Adult Center

While the Canby Adult Center is closed for all activities, it still is delivering meals on wheels to homebound seniors as well as other older adults that are self-quarantining.

"We are using our phone list to call older adults a couple of times a week to see if they have critical needs or help with anything," said Kathy Robinson, director.

They continue to deliver meals on wheels to a larger group of people than before. These go out four days a week: Monday—one hot meal and one frozen because there are no Tuesday deliveries; Wednesday and Thursday—one hot meal each day; and Friday—one hot meal and two frozen if they want for the weekend. All meals are cooked at the center.

These meals are dropped off by volunteers using hand sanitizer and gloves.

There's also a box at the Adult Center's foyer at the sliding front door for anyone who has enough toilet paper for donations. This is important because many senior citizens are afraid to go to the grocery store.

Anyone willing to give "anything will help" put food on senior's tables, says Robinson. March is typically the fundraising month for Meals on Wheels, so donations will be gladly accepted. Send them to Canby Adult Center, PO Box 10, Canby, OR 97013.

Molalla Adult Community Center

The Molalla Adult Community Center is closed for at least the next 30 days, said Cecily Rose, executive director. But that doesn't mean the staff isn't there working for seniors.

"We're sending out 120 meals each day to Molalla, Mulino, Colton and parts of Beaver Creek," said Rose. "Just because facilities don't allow people to congregate doesn't mean we're not aware of their needs."

"These people are in some cases totally isolated," she said.

Six staff members are dealing with the deliveries, according to Rose. They are visiting with the people as they bring in meals, talking about news and giving them peace of mind. In addition, they also are calling people daily just to keep in touch and let them know someone cares. Staff members are using extreme caution and sanitizing hands and gloves, she said.

She reiterated that March is Meals on Wheels fundraising month and since programs and activities are canceled, it would help if people would give whatever they can to help provide this food.

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