COMMUNITY RESPONDS TO CARRIERS' FOOD DRIVE

May 17, 2001 11:00 pm

The La Grande community did itself proud Saturday in the way residents contributed to the letter carriers food drive.

Community Connection of Northeast Oregon, which provides canned, dried and fresh foods to emergency food box programs in Union County, reported 18,000 pounds of food was donated.

The food eventually will make its way to families or individuals who, due to unemployment, illness or other circumstances, would otherwise go hungry.

The 18,000-pound figure surpassed the expectations of the food- drive organizers. In fact, the letter carriers, who picked up the food, set a goal of 10,000 pounds.

The carriers made it simple for residents to contribute food. They passed out plastic bags earlier in the week, and encouraged people to leave their contributions in the bags next to their mailboxes on Saturday.

The mail carriers went above and beyond the call of duty to make the food drive a success. In some cases, mail delivery was slowed to accommodate the huge public response to the drive.

The drive will help take the pressure off organizations such as the Union County Salvation Army that regularly donate food to needy families. The latest food drive once again proves how people of the area are knit together, willing to respond to meet the needs of those less fortunate.

LET IDEA FLOURISH

The new owner of the Aryan Nations compound near Hayden Lake, Idaho, had a great idea. Greg Carr, whose Carr Foundation bought the former headquarters of Richard Butler and his followers, was going to turn the compound into a human rights center.

According to the Spokane Spokesman-Review, Carr apparently has abandoned that plan, opting instead to allow firefighters to use the buildings on the 20-acre compound for practice-burn purposes. The center was scrapped because of the high costs of security at the remote site and insurance liability issues.

The former hate headquarters, known for its white supremacy views, would have been an excellent site for a human rights center. The proposed education and conference center would document the impact of hate groups in the Northwest.

Fortunately, the center concept is still alive. Discussion has turned to putting the center at another site, perhaps in the library at North Idaho College. The idea for the center should not be allowed to die when the buildings on the Aryan Nations compound are nothing more than ashes on the ground.