COOS COUNTY – A line of cars stretched around the side of Pony Village Mall on Wednesday.
Pelican Harbor was holding a free food giveaway, where they regularly feed 650 to 750 families in just one afternoon.
“We’ve already passed 700,000 pounds for 2018 in food we’ve given away,” said Laurel Broman, co-founder and managing director for Pelican Harbor. “We are headed for 1 million pounds, which is our goal this year. When it comes to families in need, Coos County has been on its knees for years.”
Broman began Pelican Harbor with Joan Daniels 14 years ago. Previously, Broman had started a food bank for Coos County Foster Parents but when she stopped being a foster parent she was no longer involved with that.
“I was on the phone with Joan and my husband spun around in his computer chair and said I should start one for the whole county,” she laughed. “Joan and I both gasped and here we are.”
Having been raised in backwoods Alaska, Broman remembered from an early age helping her mom give away food. When she was 10 years old, she recalled fish being dumped into the back of her mother’s truck and then going door-to-door fiving the fish away.
When Pelican Harbor began, it started off in the Church of God, now the Family Life Center located on the corner of Brussels and Newmark Ave.
“On the days we gave food away, the traffic was so horrendous,” Broman said. “We eventually had to change locations because people blocked the streets, didn’t let cars go through and blocked driveways while waiting to get food. We told them they can’t do that and then someone from the city told us we had to move.”
About a year ago, Pelican Harbor moved the food giveaways to the parking lot in the Pony Village Mall. They hand out for free fresh fruit, vegetables and meat.
There is never a set time when the giveaways happen, but the public can find out when it happens again by calling the outgoing message line at 541-756-6696.
“We put it on our Facebook page and people share it from there so everyone knows to come,” she said. “We do this anywhere from twice a week to once a month.”