Willamette Egg Farms got cracking on its part of Fighting Hunger by the Dozens, a nationwide initiative by America’s egg farmers, by donating an incredible 9,000 dozen eggs to The Canby Center this week, just in time for Easter and Passover.
For those of you keeping score at home, that comes out to a grand total of 108,000 fresh eggs.
Canby Center Executive Director Ray Keen said the April 3 donation comes at a crucial time for local families as spring celebrations approach. Eggs are a much-needed source of versatile, high-quality protein for food-insecure families, and are in high demand, he added.
“Fresh food is what families need to be healthy,” Keen said. “And we know that a healthy family helps to address a whole host of other issues in terms of challenges that a family might face. Children learn better when they’re not hungry. And, you know, a mom or dad going to work on an empty stomach isn’t a good thing.”
“We know that low-income families oftentimes are facing challenges and making choices around high carbs and high sodium items. But foods like this make sure that a family can eat in a nutritious manner.”
The generous donation from Willamette Egg Farms also comes at a good time for The Canby Center, given its ongoing capital campaign and expansion project. The project will add more than 10,000 square feet to the nonprofit’s existing footprint, and the increased facility size will enable them to serve families for years to come.
“We’re growing our facility here, looking to triple in size, and that will enable us to serve families out into the future as well,” Keen said. “We’re just truly grateful for Willamette Egg Farms, the partnership that they bring and looking after our community, not only today, but during the pandemic.”
(The Willamette Egg Farms truck also visited The Canby Center in April 2020, during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, to deliver more than 65,000 pounds of food to be distributed to local families.)
The Canby Center’s new facility will have 400% more food storage capacity, Keen said, with forklift-accessible cooler and freezer space.
“So donations like this will be much easier for us in the future, and distribution of the food to families in need will be much easier in the future as well,” he said.
Keen said the eggs will be distributed to the center’s Thriving Together program members at the Harvest Share food pantry events that happen three times a week.
“We’ll also be sharing some eggs with some of our local partners in the community who do good work as food banks, making sure that these eggs get out to families who are in need,” Keen said.
Much like the brightly colored plastic variety at an Easter egg hunt, he expects these eggs to disappear very quickly.
“We’ll probably have these distributed within the next week and a half, which is hard to imagine, but that gives you a little bit of a sense of the need around in the community,” Keen said. “We’re seeing more and more families come through than we ever have before, and folks coming from farther reaches because of some of the challenges with inflation right now.”
Fighting Hunger By the Dozens is one of the largest total egg donations in history, with egg farmers across the country coming together to donate more than 5.5 million eggs to food-insecure families. The initiative recognizes the important role that eggs play in meeting the daily nutritional needs of Americans and aims to provide nourishing food to those in need.
“As egg farmers, we feel like it’s our responsibility to help feed the world and help those in need,” said Emily Battilega, director of sustainability at Willamette Egg Farms. “Willamette Eggs Farms is happy to support our communities, and we’re happy to give these eggs because we know they’ll go a long way.”
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