Food programs a topic at WKNA

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Randy Miller, Dan Dietz and Darrell Richardson (left to right) discuss the next step while installing new piping at Sunset Park on Tuesday, May 20. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

Randy Miller, Dan Dietz and Darrell Richardson (left to right) discuss the next step while installing new piping at Sunset Park on Tuesday, May 20. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

A bulk of this month’s West Keizer Neighborhood Association (WKNA) meeting centered around food.

More specifically, most of the May 8 meeting centered around updates about the Community Garden at John Knox Presbyterian Church, the Keizer Community Food Bank and Marion-Polk Food Share.

Nancy Morgan with the KCFB recalled the small beginnings in the 1980s.

“If we had 10 families, we thought we were busy,” she said.

Things have changed quite a bit since then. KCFB is now headquartered at Faith Lutheran Church on River Road, open Monday evenings and Thursday mornings.

The operation has been serving an average of 281 families a month this year, compared to 323 families a month last year. Morgan noted that is a good sign.

Morgan said KCFB has a “wonderful” connection with the Community Garden.

“It’s wonderful to see a representative come in with produce picked that same morning,” Morgan said.

Mary Jo Emmett, who helps organize the Community Garden at John Knox, said that when the food bank started at the church, it was an internal effort. Then it became the church’s main mission. Morgan’s husband, Paul, reached out to other churches and eight years ago the food pantry grew into the KCFB.

Emmett noted Curves, Tony’s Comics, Uptown Music, Keizer Elks and others help support the food bank with food drives during the year.

Ian Dixon-McDonald, program coordinator at MPFS, noted the organization’s network has 99 partner agencies and moved nine million pounds of food through its warehouse last year, serving 40,000 individuals a month.

One program put on by MPFS is job training.

“The key to long-term lessening of emergency food needs is employment,” Dixon-McDonald said. People have gotten secretarial, warehouse, kitchen and fork lift jobs through the MPFS training programs, she noted.

In other business May 8:

• Eric Bandonis, a deputy with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office stationed out of the Keizer Police Department, noted the MCSO website has information online at co.marion.or.us./so/probation/protect about protecting children from sex offenders. One of the articles posted on that site is written by sex offenders and includes information on what they look for in a victim.

• Speaking of law enforcement websites, Bandonis noted the KPD website (http://www.keizerpd.com/) includes a link for reporting speeders.

• Clint Holland reported piping for irrigation at Sunset Park was ready to be installed. The installation indeed took place last week, with several volunteers being supervised by Robert Johnson, Parks director for Keizer.

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