Occasionally over the last eight years my wife and I have volunteered at the Northeast Emergency Food Center. Normally JJ and I work the morning shift and are involved with stocking shelves, replenishing supplies and getting ready for customers that stream in starting at 1 PM. On Saturday, we worked in the afternoon. What a different experience.
One of the nice things about Northeast Emergency Food (NEFP) is that they work very hard to take into consideration the dignity of the population that they serve. Little things matter. Rather than filling bags of groceries and then giving them out to the community they instead provide shopping carts and allow their customers to “shop” for necessities. Although choices are limited, each family served is able to choose staples based upon the size of the family.
It is always a very humbling experience for our family to see first hand the need that exists within our community. With the increase in unemployment and cost of living, there seems to be no limit to the families that are living on the edge of crisis.
Each time that I have volunteered at NEFP I have received so much more than whatever time I have given. I don’t really know how to express how profound it is to see so much grace under such difficult circumstances but I have to emphasize that it’s a very eye-opening experience.
You can find out more about NEFP at http://www.emoregon.org/NE_food_program.php