Sunday, March 10, 2013

Packing Rainbow Food Boxes 3/9/13

by John Aldrich

Rainbow Food Boxes are at the core of what the Adopt-A- Native-Elder Program represents. When Linda Myers first had her vision for the Program it was to provide food to help sustain traditional Elders in their struggle to survive. Her initial "food runs" consisted of informal trips to the reservation with whatever food items and clothing she was able to afford or gather.

What an evolution has taken place since those early years. Now that we support over 500 Elders we have a warehouse and organize the food into sets of boxes containing food items that the Elders have told us they would like. Packing these boxes is the largest warehouse-related job that we have throughout the year. The call for volunteers was beautifully answered with a large turnout yesterday morning for the first of two box packing days.

If you look back through the blog category "Warehouse" you will see that the general structure of the packing process has remained quite consistent in recent years. Volunteers move around the periphery of the warehouse with shopping carts containing the boxes which they fill with the food items stacked in cases along the walls. When filled, the boxes arrive at the taping table where they are closed up, labeled and stacked by food run area.

At the taping tables we have a very consistent group of volunteers who have become "specialists" in this task. Filling this important role again were Boyd Mitchell, Sarah Sifers, Ray Coleman and Dan Willis.

At the conclusion of taping, boxes are stacked by food run. The boxes in the background with the yellow labels will be delivered at the Big Mountain food run, the largest event among our eleven destinations.

Another "specialist" among the volunteers is young Kade. On recent food packing days, he has made sure that the food boxes all get the proper amount of Jello.

Two other young people helping distribute food items to the "shoppers" were grandchildren of Bob Stack.

Dayle Laughlin came to help after flying in from Philidelphia (but not just for this event).

One of the least glamorous but still important jobs is breaking down the delivery boxes so that they can be recycled.

At each food packing event there are usually volunteers who are part of a special group, and we had two of these yesterday. Kate Maxwell-Stephens, who is currently teaching five classes at the Salt Lake Community College, brought eleven volunteers from her various classes.

And we were honored to have a fine young man, Joshua Gregory, who was completing his Eagle Scout project on behalf of ANE.

Josh has been working on his project since the first of the year. He's fourteen and a member of Troop 425. He organized a fundraiser which netted almost $1000 which he then donated to ANE to help with the purchase of the food for the spring runs. He came yesterday with a number of his fellow scouts and leaders.

Also joining him were his biggest supporters, his mother and sister.

If you missed yesterday's event please try to join us next Satuday, March 16th, at 8:00 a.m. when we will pack the remainder of the Rainbow Boxes for the spring food runs.

1 comment:

  1. Good work Josh, a great project and
    I know your Dad was a great supporter as well.