IN THE SPIRIT OF GIVING; MISSION DISTRIBUTES FOOD BOXES TO NEEDY FAMILIES

November 25, 2003 11:00 pm
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Pilot stories and photos by Andrea Barkan

Volunteers from Brookings Outreach Gospel Mission delivered boxes of food to 100 needy Brookings-Harbor families Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Gregg Elrod, Curry County director for Child Evangelism Fellowship, and his family received one of those food baskets Monday.

The mission also gave Elrod several hundred dollars as a donation to Child Evangelism Fellowship, which is an international organization that evangelizes to children.

Immediately after Elrod and his family moved to Brookings in 2001, he had a major emergency surgery, he said.

That initial surgery was followed by eight more. He was placed on a liver transplant list Friday, he said.

Since the start of his struggle, local organizations and churches have brought food to his family, he said.

"The Christian community in Brookings is just fabulous," Elrod said. "The outpouring of love and food … I was having all those surgeries and it just kept pouring in."

Elrod and his wife have two sons, ages 11 and 15.

Chuck Fidroeff, executive director for Outreach Gospel Mission, said about 15 to 20 volunteers delivered food baskets Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

About half the food gets donated and half is purchased with cash donations, Fidroeff said.

The mission started operating in February 1997 and all the nonprofit organization's money comes from donations and thrift store sales, he said.

Fidroeff said he does not deny anyone a food basket, even if they drive up in a brand new car.

"Sometimes you just run out of money," he said.

The mission normally serves 1,800 meals every month and gives out 60 food boxes, he said.

The organization's monthly food budget is about $200, he said. The bulk of food served is donated.

It is not unusual for their storage shelves to get depleted, but Fidroeff said the power of prayer always seems to put more food on the shelves in the nick of time.

"We just bless and bless and bless and we get blessed for it," he said.

During the week of Thanksgiving, McDonald's in Brookings is providing free food for mission volunteers, Fidroeff said.

The mission will provide a free Thanksgiving meal for 50 to 100 people starting at 1 p.m. Thursday.

Donations may be dropped off between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, Fidroeff said.

"We'll need a bunch of help for Christmas," he said.

Cash donations may be mailed to P.O. Box 993, Brookings, OR 97415.