Dozens of community members showed up Wednesday, Sept. 25 to celebrate a new/old building.
“Project Blessing,” the food pantry that was housed in a room at the United Presbyterian Church has moved into the former scout building at Lions Park. The larger facility may mean more service days.
Previously, the facility had been open one day a week to serve community members. Now, it will be open two, with the possibility of more.
The facility opened Sept. 4, but the open house was held on Sept. 25 to allow volunteers to finish stocking the shelves and getting final preparations done.
Pastor Allen Chaney of the Reedsport Church of God spoke at the ribbon cutting.
“As many of you know,” Chaney said, “Project Blessing was established to help our community in times of need. It was established for the Reedsport community, by the Reedsport Community.”
Chaney said there is still a need for the services they provide.
“Project Blessing has come a very long way since its youth,” he told the crowd. “Times have become harder and harder with each passing year. Our growth is a testimony as to our community unity. The need for food assistance in our community has increased dramatically.”
He said the food pantry wouldn’t be possible without donations.
“Thanks to the many donations, in all forms, we have been able to meet, and assist, with these needs,” he continued. “It is because of our community that we have progressed so far.”
It’s believed Project Blessing served about 140 families a month, when it was housed at the United Presbyterian Church. The new location may allow volunteers to serve more people.
The food bank is now open on Tuesday and Wednesday from 1 to 3 p.m.
Co-coordinator Dave Sharrai says they hope, eventually, to be open seven days a week.
Project Blessing benefited from a $3,500 donation from the Reedsport/ Winchester Bay Chamber of Commerce.
The city’s other food pantry; the AARP food bank in Henderson Park received $2,500 from the chamber.
Chaney said there were a lot of people to thank for the new facility.
“First, and foremost, we would like to thank God,” he said. “Through Him, all things are possible.”
He also thanked the city of Reedsport.
“We would like to thank our city council, for helping us obtain this building, and our city manager, Jonathan Wright, who helped see the process through … as well as donated time to paint our facility.”
Chaney gave a big shout out to the Oregon Food Bank, which provided a grant to fix the building’s roof.
He thanked local Native American tribes; the Coquille, Cow Creek and “Three Rivers.” The tribes, he said, provide continuous donations which allow volunteers to purchase food and supplies.
He also thanked Knox Story for donations of office equipment, Joe’s Plumbing and Ladd Electric for getting the facility equipped with utilities, Jim Weaver for volunteer work and expertise, Don Lawson “for having the patience of showing us young folks how to properly mud sheet rock.”
The facility has a refrigerator and a freezer thanks to the Roseburg-based United Community Action Network.
Chaney said the agency also gave them more.
“Their patience and wisdom on how to properly run a food bank,” he said.
And, of course, Chaney thanked the volunteers “who put their time, sweat and effort into getting the new facility cleaned, remodeled and moved into.”
And, he praised volunteers who staff the food bank.
“We appreciate and value all the help received,” he said. “We would also like to give a very special thanks to our many volunteers who help keep our efforts going on a daily basis. We appreciate and love all you do.”
He reminded the community that the food bank operates through donations.
“Our community provided so that we could better provide for you,” he said.