Citizens help cops deliver hundreds of Holiday meals

See some of the folks who volunteer their time and effort to help the less fortunate brightening the Holiday season …

Volunteer drivers line up in the Floyd Light Middle School parking lot, ready to deliver Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division food boxes.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The icy-cold darkness of a wintry morning didn’t deter at least two hundred volunteers who appeared at the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct building at about 7:30 a.m. on December 15.

Many of these volunteer drivers, ready to deliver two or more PPB Sunshine Division Holiday Food Boxes, were dressed festively – albeit warmly – for the occasion, and patiently waited to be called into East Precinct’s garage area.

At the check-in table, Bob Lavoie, Joyce Lavoie and PPB East Precinct Administration Supervisor Karen Lavoie – with encouragement from Keira Vaughn – prepare delivery slips and maps for the volunteer drivers.

“A lot of planning and organization goes into this,” said East Precinct Administration Supervisor Karen Lavoie, who had enlisted the help of her family at the event’s check-in table. “It’s worth the work; we do this to give back to our community. It’s a great thing.”

Earlier in the month, East Precinct Commander Mike Lee told East Portland News that as many as a hundred volunteers had come out to help pack food boxes at their North Interstate Avenue location.

East Precinct Commander Mike Lee greets a volunteer driver as they pull into the station’s garage.

“Both at this facility, and at [the newly-reopened] Southeast Precinct (on E. Burnside Street), we have about 400 boxes from each facility going out to folks who are in need,” Lee added.

“It’s a chance for us to go out and do something for the community, and spread some goodwill at a time when goodwill needs to be spread,” explained Lee. “This kind of project can only be accomplished through a host of volunteers in the Bureau – sworn and non-sworn – and these community volunteers.”

Alec Lueb and his dad, Michael Lueb from the Lents Neighborhood’s “Money-Saver Mini Storage”, say they participate in this annual event “because it makes the Christmas spirit come alive for us”.

East Precinct Police Cadet Peyton Lee carries a food box to be loaded into a volunteer driver’s vehicle.

In the garage, 17 Portland Police Bureau Cadets scurry – taking pre-packed food boxes from the stacks on pallets, grabbing loaves of Franz bread and frozen chickens, and packing them in the vehicles already queued up, ready to receive their load.

“I think the Cadets have been involved in this for most of the last 12 years,” said one of their program’s mentors, Officer Michael Gallagher. “It’s in every way a community event, and they take part in helping and giving back to their community.”

Retired PPB Commander Cliff Madison, who stops by to pick up a load of boxes for delivery, is greeted by Officer Mike Gallagher.

Even though the youngsters have to arise early and work hard to participate, the Cadets appear to enjoy it.

“I’ve cadets who don’t normally come to all the meetings still show up for this,” Gallagher said. “And, we have Cadets who have already graduated from the program come back to help out – it’s clear that they just love doing it.”

Here’s a “team photo” of the Portland Police Cadets on hand to load volunteer drivers’ vehicles at the 2012 food box event.

 > From our Front Page, Portland Police Cadet Adolfo Vega Garduno loads another Sunshine Division food box for delivery.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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