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Action Center gets facelift, raises product quality

Center's renovation and upgrades to the thrift shop make it welcoming


by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO:  - Three members of the work crew install new shelves in the Action Center, from left, Susan Gates, Laura Bradshaw and Melissa Filich.Annalisa Peterson, the new director of the Sandy Community Action Center, will tell anyone that the height of charitable giving is donating one’s time and talents for the good of unknown people.

Peterson says she and all the volunteers at the Action Center food bank are so grateful for the efforts of local residents who became leaders in a community service project.

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO:  - Some of the shelves in the Sandy Community Action Center thrift store looked pretty disorganized before the renovation.Thanks to those local leaders, who were trained during the Ford Institute Leadership Program, the Action Center looks like a new store.

With floors stripped and waxed, walls repainted, new shelves (from the library) installed, new hanging racks, a larger door opening to a gift shop and a new cash register station, the building takes on a new appearance.

The merchandise in its thrift shop also took on a new appearance as the items were sorted and the bar was raised on the quality level of what was appropriate.

“We’re trying to set the bar higher on the items we put out in the store,” she said. “We only want to have nice items that people would want to buy.”

Members of the group of local leaders, with training funded by the Ford Family Foundation, named themselves the “Highway to Hood” group because there were members from Boring to Welches, said Dave Snider, chairman of the group.

With a fair amount of preplanning, the group did all of the work at the Action Center during one recent weekend. And no one complained that they had to give up a weekend.

“We all had smiles on our faces the whole time we were working,” Snider said. “Even though we were giving up our weekend, we knew we were doing a project that would affect so many people in a positive way.”

One of the days the temperature was 92 degrees, Snider said, but the workers continued to smile through their sweat.

The participants had been planning the project and going through several weekends of leadership training prior to the work weekend.

“This project is something we’ve been talking about for four or five months,” Snider said, “and to finally see everything we’ve been planning come to fruition made it very self-satisfying.”

Snider delegated project management to Mitch Anderson, who was working at the center Friday night, and all day Saturday and Sunday.

“We chose the center,” Anderson said, “because it was sadly in need of upgrades. (The center) impacts a great deal of our community. It’s the oldest food bank in Clackamas County and serves a great many people.”

Anderson said the project involved cleaning the place, making more space to distribute food and assistance with marketing efforts.

Besides the Highway to Hood group, some of the center’s volunteers were there to lend a hand. The workers took shifts, with between 16 and 20 working at any time.

One of the first cleaning activities was sorting through items in the thrift store and getting rid of those items that had been there a long time - items that Anderson said, “would never be sold.”

“We’re hoping to sell high enough quality,” Peterson said, “that everyone in the community would feel welcome to look at our items for sale.”

Peterson is hoping the center would be able to upgrade its kitchen area in the future so it would become a certified kitchen.

Members of the Highway to Hood group, Snider says, want to continue to help the center connect to the community even more than it has been for many years.

“We’d like to help (the center) get the word out that its main function is not as a second-hand store,” he said. “That’s a secondary function; its main function is as a food bank.”

Anderson says the group still wants to help the center move forward through marketing, including an upgrade to its website.

For more information, call Peterson at 503-668-4746.