I’ve spent the past 90 minutes watching students from Bates Technical College help load up trucks at the Resource Distribution Council’s old building, move it to the food bank’s new location in Lakewood and come back for more. It’s part of the overwhelming response from an article that appeared in The News Tribune on Oct. 5.
Here are some of the highlights from several conversations I had. I’m going to talk to Kris Manning of Bates later in the day, so look for an article in the paper tomorrow.
Anna Wingate, president and founder of the RDC:
The day of the article, I get a phone call. The guy says, ‘Hi, I’m Kris Manning from Bates College. We have a lot of trucks and can bring 20 trucks in if you need them.’
I’m thinking I’m talking to someone from the truck-driving school. I’m telling him about the (heating, ventilation and air conditioning system) and other stuff. He says, ‘That’s good to know.’ I asked why. He said, ‘I like to know what my instructors are doing.’
I asked him if he was the head of the truck-driving school, and he said, ‘No, I’m the dean of instruction. And while we’re at it, you have several issues you need done. You need construction, you need this, you need that.’
He put out a mass e-mail to the departments and so far, we’ve received help from the HVAC, the electrical, the truck-driving and the facilities and maintenance schools.
She said they’ve received about $2,500 in donations so far from 16 people, including some from Seattle. Others gave what they felt they could: They received single donations of $10, $25 and $30.
A few of them drive over and handed the money to us and apologized that they couldn’t give us more. Those are the ones that are precious.
They were absolutely swamped with offers of help:
The amount of physical labor people have offered to give us has been amazing. It’s overwhelming. We’ve actually had to turn people away – that’s how much people have offered.
Tommy McClure, a student at Bates, said he read the article and sympathized with the food bank:
They’re helping out as much as they can in the community and they do good work. So when we were told we were going to help them out, and I was more than happy to do it.
There’s also a practical purpose to helping out, he said:
It’s a pretty good situation for both sides. We get real-life experience, and we also get to help the community.
Dan French, a truck-driving instructor at Bates, said he and his students have donated about 30 hours of labor, and they’ll contribute another 14 over the next two days. He says it helps give perspective:
These guys get to see what truck driving is really all about. It’s not just about making money, but about helping people.
There are more photos after the jump:
The volunteers were emptying out the warehouse, pallet-by-pallet. I wish I had some pictures from before the move, but here are some as the contents are being moved to Lakewood.