News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Food pantry gets hand from law enforcement

The clamor of brown paper bags being filled with edible goods echos throughout the Bread of Life food pantry at the New Hope Christian Center in Sisters. A team of volunteers fills 200 bags full of dried goods, fresh produce, and essentials to be handed out to local families during the weekly food drive.

Every Thursday, the Bread of Life ministry serves members of the community its most basic of needs, food — now a vital short-coming since the recent spread of the coronavirus. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the food pantry has seen the need increase, supplies plummet, and the need for volunteers to step up and meet the demand.

Last Thursday, March 26, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) Detective Division volunteers met that need and sent eight of their officers to help bag, load, and hand deliver food to people’s cars.

“They called me out of the blue a couple days ago, asking if they could help,” said Nathan Kaping, Director of the Bread of Life ministry. “I thought it would be a great way to have them interact with our community.”

The need for providing food has become more acute since the pandemic, but the method of delivery had to change to meet new demands and restrictions. Prior to the pandemic crisis, normal operations allowed people to walk through the food pantry and shop for their items; however new sanitation and safety protocols require people to remain in their vehicles and have their food hand delivered to them.

A volunteer determines the number of adults in each vehicle, size of the family, and another set of volunteers — this time with the help of the DCSO — delivers the determined amount of bags to each vehicle.

Chad Davis, Lieutenant for the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, was one of the volunteers who helped bag food and deliver it carside. He said the team of detectives from the Criminal and Street Crime division enjoyed the break from their normal routine.

“In this crazy time right now it allowed us to get out and see some positive things,” he said. “Especially right now where we have to isolate some, it’s good to see smiling, happy people in the community who are just happy to have some help.”

Although not everyone was keen on seeing the officers there — some were apprehensive — many eventually expressed their appreciation.

In total, the Bread of Life team and DCSO volunteers handed out bagged food to 222 people, equating to 67 families — a near two-fold increase from normal attendance.

For the detectives, their volunteerism was well received. This Thursday they plan on returning to the Bread of Life food pantry to serve their community and break away from their routine to deliver the necessities and lend a helping hand.


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