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Dave and Debbie Mullins and their grandson Bernie Bast are regular volunteers at the Estacada Area Food Bank.

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Debbie Mullins (left to right), Dave Mullins and Bernie Bast are regular volunteers at the Estacada Area Food Bank.

For one set of familiar faces at the Estacada Area Food Bank, volunteering is a family activity.

Estacada residents Dave and Debbie Mullins and their grandson Bernie Bast, 14, can be found at the food bank (272 Broadway St.) at least once a week. Debbie and Dave volunteer several times a week, while Bernie joins them on Fridays when he does not have school.

The family began volunteering at the food bank during the summer of 2019 after moving to Estacada from Arizona to watch their grandchildren as their daughter completes her pilot licensing program.

"We helped our neighbors in Arizona so this is an extension of that. We've been volunteering our whole married life," Debbie said. "It gives us time together. We try to keep our family doing this kind of stuff. Three out of our four kids regularly volunteer. We're very proud of that."

As newcomers to the area, one of the first things the Mullins family noticed was the way in which community members donate to the food bank.

"The great thing about Estacada is that they support the food bank. Coming from a huge city, it's completely different," Dave said.

To adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, customers at the food bank order items in advance and volunteers deliver them, rather than entering the food bank to shop.

"There's very little downtime. It's a lot of fun," Dave said. "We get 40-45 people in a four-hour period."

In addition to assisting with the food bank's operations, Dave has also competed several construction projects at the building.

Debbie, Dave and Bernie appreciate serving those who visit the food bank.

"One time when I was filling orders and bringing them to customers, (one customer) told me, 'People like you save this world,'" Bernie said.

"(Customers) really appreciate getting the food. It really warms your heart," Dave added.

Estacada Area Food Bank

The food bank is open to community members from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays, 2-4 p.m. Wednesdays for families with a student in the Estacada School District, and from 4-6 p.m. for all. Customers should check in outside and complete their orders using a checklist of items; a volunteer will then bring their items to them. For more information and online ordering, visit estacadafoodbank.org.


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