News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Husband and wife take over management for Gleaners

Contributing writer for The Canyon Weekly

The Canyon Gleaners is back on track thanks to a local couple.

Jim and Julie Paschall, new co-coordinators of the community outreach, have lived in the Gates community for seven years. The couple has worked together for more than 40 years running a plumbing and HVAC business in the Reno, Nev., area.

“Yes, our house burned down, and yes, we have rebuilt,” said Julie Paschall, who stepped in with her husband at a critical time for the community resource. “All the outpouring of help when our house burnt was overwhelming, and I wanted to do something in the community to give back.”

Her motivation stemmed from a Facebook post by Susan St. George, an administrator for the organization, who put out a plea last June for new leadership to keep the Mill City organization going.

“We have been trying to recruit individuals for over a year, but so far no one has shown an interest in stepping into a leadership role,” posted St. George, who had to step down from her position and needed people willing to fill a number of vacancies.

“I was told by Jack Goodell, who is with the Mill City Food Bank, that Gleaners needed help with paperwork,” said Paschall, who reached out to St. George. “I was a bit overwhelmed at first, but it wasn’t long before I saw what a great resource Gleaners is to this community and jumped in with both feet.”

Paschall asked her husband to step in and help, and, she said, “since we have worked together for most of our lives, it was an easy transition.”

“Susan is great to work with, and patiently walked me through all the reports that needed to be done weekly and monthly,” she said. “She also is a great help to Jim, whose job is to order food, unload, weigh in, and organize where it all goes. We also have a great group of Canyon Gleaner members that help us every week with this process. 

“Susan James, with the Linn Benton Food Share, has also been a great resource in helping us with the ins and outs of all the processes and requirements,” she added. “We also have Zoom meetings with the other Gleaner organizations in our area, including in Scio, Sweet Home and Albany. They all are there to help and answer questions. It’s a great group of people who all volunteer in their communities.”

The Canyon Gleaners is a nonprofit, self-help membership food program for low-income families, seniors and disabled individuals residing in Santiam Canyon communities. The program is not a food back or emergency food provider. Gleaners has no paid staff, and all board members are volunteers. Food distribution hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays in the back of Stewart’s Hall, 158 SW Broadway in Mill City. 

“If you turn on Cedar Street and head towards the high school, we are on the right side by the big dirt parking lot,” Paschall said. “Anyone can come by at that time to fill out an application, or just see what we do. If those times don’t work well for you, give us a call and we can make arrangements to meet.”  

Currently, 96 people participate in the program, and membership is required. 

“We have plenty of room for more,” Paschall said. “We encourage everyone to come check us out.”

Monthly dues are based on the size of a family and range from $10 a month for one to two people, $15 a month for three to five, $20 a month for six to nine, to $30 a month for up to a family of 10 or more. Members are asked to participate in three gleans per year. 

“We also ask our members to donate six hours per month helping us with the process, but we don’t turn anyone away,” said Paschall. “If you have a need, we are here to help. Just come and fill out an application.”  

According to Paschall, being a member of Canyon Gleaners does not prevent anyone from using the Mill City Food Bank.

“In fact, we encourage it,” she said, adding, “Our goals are to get our name out there and educate people as to who we are and what we do. We want to increase membership and find others in our community who would like to give back to help those in need with donations of time and/or funds. 

“We have local businesses that have helped us out tremendously,” she added. “The Freres Foundation and Gates Community Church are two donors who we are extremely grateful to for their generosity to help us put food on the tables of those in need in our Canyon community.”

Paschall cites increasing food, gas and cost-of-living prices for why Gleaners can help.

“These factors make it difficult for more and more families to put food on the table,” she said. “Canyon Gleaners is an important resource to help these families out. We hope the Canyon as a whole will join together in helping. Hand in hand and working together, we can do great things!” 

For more information, call 503-428-2057.

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