Food donation

Representatives from the Delta Food Pantry, Tayshen Automotive and The Abraham Connection Homeless Shelter enjoy a moment in the warm November sunshine during the annual food drive.

This holiday season one local business has been busy gathering up edible and non-edible blessings to share with two charitable organizations in Delta.

Tayshen Automotive customers have been dropping off food items this fall to help fill up the shelves at the Delta Food Pantry. In addition, the business owned by Jami Taylor and husband Robert Shenold has stepped up to match each non-perishable food item with a dollar donation to The Abraham Connection Homeless Shelter.

But wait, there’s more. Customers who donate food items received $1 off per food item to go toward service for their vehicle at the garage located at 105 Eaton Ave. Services must take place the same day as the donation drop off.

At the end of the food drive, the Delta Food Pantry’s shelves will be overflowing and The Abraham Connection will receive a substantial cash donation to keep the lights on during the harsh winter months.

The Delta Food Pantry located in the back alley behind St. Michael’s Catholic Church, 628 Meeker St., and is open to anyone living in Delta County said Mary Pfalzgraff, co-director.

She said the charity, not affiliated the church, does ask clients to provide proof of residency and restrict their usage of the pantry to every 60 days due to the limited amount of food.

“We’re an all-volunteer organization funded 100% by community donations including food and money. We get thousands of pounds from our local food businesses and local growers. We’ve even gotten fruit and fresh produce,” Pfalzgraff said.

All of the food gathered by the Tayshen Automotive food drive will go to replenish the stock at the pantry. In addition, Pfalzgraff said the charity has purchased eggs and milk for every client who comes through the door.

“Consequently, I’ve over spent by about $3,000 more than what we’ve received so, it’s a great time for people to think about year end donations to the food pantry. Year to date we’ve served one hundred more people than last year.”

The Delta Food Pantry, established in 1983, is open 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.Monday-Friday and the fourth Tuesday of the month from 5:30 to 7 p.m. to accommodate working people and families.

Also receiving blessings from Tayshen Automotive is The Abraham Connection Homeless Shelter in Delta located at 480 Silver St. The business is donating $1 per food item received during the drive to help provide temporary overnight shelter November through April. This is the fourth year for the matching money donation.

“We own our building, it’s fully paid for, but we rely on community donations that come in to keep us going. We have very minimal paid staff. Businesses, individuals and service groups keep us going,” Cheryl Oeltjenbruns, board member, said adding, “We have a volunteer training coming up on December 12 at 4 o’clock, for anyone interested in helping. They can also bring a friend.”

Along with the temporary overnight housing, The Abraham Connection provides breakfast and an evening meal during the winter months and a lunch meal on Mondays. The meals are provided every night they’re open by volunteers made up of families, churches and service groups. All of the meals are prepared in the on-site commercial kitchen.

“And then we have a pantry with canned goods and snacks that we can supplement with what the food volunteers don’t bring in,” she added.

Oeltjenbruns said when the overnight season ends, they move their stock to other families or organizations including the Delta Food Pantry.

For Taylor, co-owner of Tayshen Automotive, the food drive is second nature. She joyfully describes herself as a “feeder” who loves to provide food for her friends, employees, family and others. So, when she learned that the local food pantry was in need, she “got on it” and put together the annual food drive in conjunction with a customer appreciation campaign.

“This is just the perfect time of the year to get people thinking about others. When you are blessed, you have to bless others,” said Taylor pointing to the large front window where the painted words ‘blessed’ and ‘thankful’ greet customers.

In 2016, after volunteering at The Abraham Connection, she decided to add the matching dollar amount for toiletries, hygiene, paper products or the electric bill to add the homeless shelter. Her goal, simply bless “two organizations doing great work.”

A week before the final deadline, the front of the store contained over 2,000 cans of food and other non-perishable items they’d been collecting since the first week in October. Within the first month, Taylor said she had over 1,000 food items.

Despite this year’s early success, Taylor said she’s learned from past experience that they need at least two months for the food drive in order to give the community enough time to participate.

“If we were finished with it today, Abraham Connection would receive a check for $2,429. We will be finished next Tuesday on Nov. 26 so more could come in,” she said.

“We’ve doubled our donation from last year. I can’t believe the outpouring of support from our customers.”

Once all the food is gathered, Tayshen Automotive will deliver the food to the pantry on Wednesday, Nov. 27, and cut a check to The Abraham Connection making it a bright holiday for two local charities.

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