When fire evacuees fled to Corvallis Sept. 10, local businesses, farms, and community organizations collectively produced over 8000 meals in seven days to feed fire evacuees, and to raise over $62,000.
The It’s On Us Corvallis (IOUC), a project of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition Food Action Team, sent out a call for donations on social media shortly after the fires began to help feed evacuees. Their post rendered a strong response from residents and businesses with both monetary and meal donations.
“A dynamic team of restaurant owners, a catering company, local farmers and producers, and local organizations stepped up in the wake of devastating wildfires to form a tight community around evacuees, local families hosting evacuees, and each other,” IOUC wrote in a statement they released on Sept. 17.
Staff from local restaurants, including the Brass Monkey, the Bombs Away Cafe, Block 15 Brewery, Squirrel’s, and Common Fields prepared 8000 meals at Forks and Corks Catering’s commercial kitchen on 9th Street.
Volunteers distributed meals to evacuees camping out at the Benton County Fairgrounds, but they realized many people were taking refuge in hotels or in their vehicles with limited access to food.
In response, Jacob Oliver from Common Fields, Morgan Orr of Brass Monkey,owner of Forks & Corks Catering Kate Lynch, and Jeffery Sawyer of Bombs Away Café worked together with the Benton County Health Department, Visit Corvallis, and hotel owners to develop a system to deliver meals to evacuees all over town.
Additionally, since the farmer’s market was canceled due to the smoke, Jacob Oliver allowed eight local farmers, recruited by the Corvallis-Albany Farmers’ Market Coordinator Rebecca Landis, to use his large space at Common Fields to organize boxes of fresh produce to distribute to evacuees. Community donations were distributed to the eight farmers for their produce.
Though the local businesses have now left the food donations to the Red Cross, their support was vital in feeding fleeing families.
“Corvallis community members reinforced a resilient network that is more prepared for the next disaster or the next needed boost to our neighbors,” the statement said.