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Muddy for a Mission
Food bank manager thinks event will have big impact in fight against hunger
With pressure on area food banks increasing, Community Connection has decided to fight dirty.
In August, the non-profit social service agency will be putting on the first-ever Muddy for a Mission Volleyball Tournament, an event food bank manager Carmen Gentry thinks will have a big impact in the local fight against hunger.
“We are trying to create new avenues to raise money to help support our food bank network, which helps our friends and neighbors,” Gentry said. “We are currently planning what I believe will become our largest one-day fundraiser. What could be more fun than playing in the mud?”
The tournament is set for Aug. 11 at the Elgin Stampede Grounds, and proceeds will provide additional food for the pantries in Union, Wallowa and Grant counties.
Gentry said Community Connection is trying to get a jump on things by putting out a call for volunteers now. People are needed to serve as referees, parking attendants, ticket booth staff, identity checkers, clean-up crews and more.
“We are seeking help from church groups, youth groups, civic organizations, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, FFA and FBLA students and anyone who wants to volunteer and help make this a fun community event,” she said.
Anybody who steps forward will be helping to fight a worthy, but never-ending battle. Gentry said that recession, unemployment and changes in the economy have all contributed to an increase in the number of people using food banks.
“Many of us are one paycheck, one sudden illness or family emergency away from a crisis ourselves,” she said. “More and more hardworking men, women and proud senior citizens have been forced to ask for help in recent years to put food on the table.”
She said that Community Connection recently compared the first quarters of the last two years and found that demand for food bank services has risen 22 percent.
In Union County during July-September 2010, Community Connection pantries served 4,154 people; in the same period in 2011, they served 5,005. In Wallowa County, 664 people were served in July-September 2010, and 760 in July-September 2011.
“Perhaps the greatest impact from emergency food services is felt by children. One in six children in our region received nutritional support from a charitable food box last year,” Gentry said.
The local community always helps out with food drives and donations, but there’s no reason to think demand on the food banks will decrease anytime soon. Gentry said volunteers for the first Muddy for a Mission tournament can make a world of difference.
“We need support so we can continue to provide valuable services to our friends and neighbors in need,” she said.
In addition to muddy volleyball, the tournament will feature a baked goods sale, a dunk tank, a 50/50 raffle and
Those interested in volunteering should contact Gentry at 541-963-7532, ext. 12.