Established in 1974, the Molalla Service Center Food Bank became a non-profit in April of the following year. During its 42 years in Molalla, the center has moved several times. Today the food bank is located in a building it rents from the Molalla River School District at 412 South Sweigle, near the library and the school district office.
The food bank serves families who live in the Molalla River School District and beyond, including Colton, Beavercreek, Mulino and Clarkes.
"Our district is far reaching," said Rise Estergreen, director of the center. "No one is turned away. If someone comes in from out of the district, we serve them and give them information for food banks and services where they reside."
Estergreen said several local families "grow a row" for food bank, providing fresh produce. The seeds have been provided by a local seed company, "Victory Seeds," here in Molalla for the past three growing seasons.
"We receive produce during the growing season from Martinez Farm in Canby," she said. "We are also involved with a food recovery program called Fresh Alliance." That's when a grocery store, in our case Safeway, gives us the outdated food product that's still viable for human consumption, instead of sending it to the land fill."
The Molalla Food Bank receives products this way from other sources, as well, including the Oregon food bank.
"Molalla Fire Department helps us by gathering food during the Christmas holidays," she said. "The Molalla Forestry Department and Kiwanis of Molalla raise money each year with a dinner/auction. This is our only fund raiser and we are so grateful for their faithfulness in helping fight hunger in Molalla."
The food bank also has someone who has been working with the organization on writing grants.
"Our motto is that No one should be hungry," she said. "It seems that was the feeling 42 years ago, when we first opened. The founders seemed to know that there was a need then as there is now. I don't know who those people were, or where the other locations were. I am wondering if anyone would know and be willing to share with us."
Estergreen said the center is always looking for dependable volunteers.
"We would love to receive dollar donations, which help us purchase food, plus the donations help pay for the rent, insurance, water/garbage, phone, electricity, maintenance of building (overhead)," she said.
Anyone who is aware of someone who needs food assistance, but is too shy to go to the food bank, is asked to let Estergreen know.
"And we will work something out," she said. "I have been known to meet a client after hours for this very reason. It feels like family when I volunteer at the center. We are there to help meet the food needs of the community."
Hours for the foodbank are 10 a.m. -2 p.m. Monday-Wednesday.
To reach the food bank, or for more information, call 503-829-8630.