Coast Guardsmen at the Yaquina Bay Motor Lifeboat Station swam, ran and pumped their bike pedals from August through November to not only keep themselves in shape but also to collect food for Operation Snack Pack, a service of the Newport Food Pantry.
Commanding Officer Robert Ornelas said that the guardsmen logged just under 3,000 miles in swimming, running and bicycling, raising 810 cans of food for the children of needy families in Newport. Ornelas said the Yaquina Bay Motor Lifeboat guardsmen came in #1 in the Thunderwater competition nationwide. The program was initiated four years ago by the Umpqua Coast Guard Station.
Newport Food Pantry’s Jim Myers said the food boost will help ensure that needy children will have their snack packs filled when they head home from school on Fridays. It is estimated that 10% of Newport’s school children are officially classified as homeless – not having a permanent place to live – living in motels, friends homes, vehicles or couch surfing.
Pantry Director Katherine Myers said that at the peak of last year, 115 children enrolled in the snack pack program. Currently they’re at 75 children but Myers says as we get into December the numbers swell considerably.
Those who would like to donate food or funds to the Newport Pantry’s Snack Pack program can visit the pantry on line at NewportFoodPantry.org or by phone at 541-270-0842.