Two years ago I walked into the Bend Community Center, which is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary, on a Sunday morning to drop off leftover food from a Brooks Resources barbeque. I unloaded all the food and started to leave, but something stopped me.
I’m not sure why, but I decided to stay and help serve breakfast that day. I walked right back in the kitchen and began chopping up the sausage I had just delivered, and less than an hour later, people were eating the food I had donated and cooked. That’s when I knew I was hooked.
Since that morning, I have volunteered at BCC’s Feed the Hungry breakfast every Sunday for two years. I started doing food prep, and eventually I began making all of the salsa. We make excellent salsa using only fresh vegetables, which we chop by hand every weekend while other volunteers whip up delicious scrambles, fried eggs and biscuits and gravy. It’s truly a meal that anyone would love to enjoy.
A lot of the food we use in the kitchen is donated, and some is purchased at a reasonable cost, but it’s all used efficiently to provide meals for more than 5,500 hungry people every single month.
The experience has been very eye-opening for me. I’ve seen 16 year-old kids who are living under a tarp just because they’ve had some bad luck, and they come in for the Sunday meal cold, wet and hungry.
That’s what BCC does for people in need—provides warm food, sack lunches, tarps, tents, showers, firewood and a place to enjoy a good meal. It’s not a bunch of people coming in for free food, it’s people who, often times, have just had bad luck.
It feels good to be a part of an organization that’s meeting society’s most basic needs. In addition to “Feed the Hungry” meals, BCC runs several other programs. “Keep Them Warm” provides outdoor survival and camping gear for those who need it. “Becca’s Closet” provides free prom dresses and formal wear to low income teens in Central Oregon. There’s also a diaper bank, job training and a community bike shed for those who rely on bikes as their sole form of transportation.
I encourage you to come see us at BCC. Stop in to volunteer or see how you might be able to help—it doesn’t have to be a big commitment. Even once or twice a year would make a difference.
Donations are always accepted, and I can assure you BCC squeezes every ounce out of your food and money contributions. Let’s help them do it again for another decade. Congratulations to BCC on your 10 years of service, and I look forward to what’s in store for the future.
Kurt Reynolds owns Nordic Construction. He has lived in Bend for 21 years.