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Extra provisions from the Canby Center make their way to Colton Market on Saturdays

PMG FILE PHOTO - Extra food boxes from the Canby Center are brought to the Colton Market on Saturdays to be dispersed to those in the Colton community who need them.

A volunteer at the Canby Center picks up his cup of morning coffee at the Colton Market each day. He and Colton Market manager Abdul Saleem have had many conversations.

One morning, the volunteer mentioned to Saleem that the Canby Center, which provides free social services for residents of the city, sometimes has extra food boxes for those in need. He asked if there was a way to hand them out in Colton.

Saleem said he would gladly take the boxes, keep them refrigerated and make sure they were given to those in the Colton community who could use them.

"It isn't much for me to do," Saleem said. "I can make the room to store the boxes, and I see people who can use them; just connecting them is all my employees and I have to do."

According to Linda Rasor, Canby Center director of programs, the food box project Farm to Family is funded through a government initiative. Each week the Canby Center receives between 500 and 700 boxes containing dairy, bread, produce, meat and more.

The Center has been a member of the program since April of 2020, which currently is set to end in April. They have not heard whether it is to be extended.

"For the past several weeks," Rasor said, "there has been a volunteer of the Canby Center who takes the extra Pacific Coast Fruit boxes to Colton Market for Colton residents to take as needed."

PMG PHOTO: CINDY FAMA - Abdul Saleem at the Colton Market helps to distribute the Farm to Family food boxes from the Canby Center.The boxes usually come in on late Saturday morning or early afternoon, and last week there were 30 to hand out. Some weeks there are fewer; it just depends on what is left over in Canby.

Those who have received the boxes are thankful for the generosity from the neighboring community.

"We wish we could do more for the Colton community," Rasor said. "We are very thankful that Abdul has stepped in and given us a way to distribute food there."

Saleem has stepped up many times to help out in Colton. He has provided donations and donation sites when needed. He helps with community cleanup, and during the September wildland fires, he kept the volunteer firefighters of Colton supplied with food and drink.

"He provided a great service by keeping the department stocked with food and beverages," Colton Fire Chief Richard Beaudoin said.

Saleem puts notices on the community Facebook pages when there are food boxes ready to disperse.

"I am happy we can do this," he said. "I have heard from people, 'I can really use this right now' or 'My parents really appreciated the box they got.'"

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