Olsruds continue donation tradition

Grocery owners deliver 'infusion' of food to ACCESS

Asemitrailer full of food estimated to total 23,000 pounds was donated to ACCESS Inc. by the Olsruds of Medford Friday to help feed local families.

The Olsruds own Sherm's Thunderbird and Food 4 Less grocery stores in Medford, Klamath Falls and Roseburg. They have been donating a semitrailer of food to ACCESS each year since 2000.

Though December is a popular month for donating food, "the need is anytime," said Sherm Olsrud, who was on hand for the delivery along with his son and company vice president, Steve Olsrud.

"The need is so great," Sherm Olsrud said. "And ACCESS does such a wonderful job of distributing it."

After a busy giving season during the holidays, food supply centers such as ACCESS are often looking for donations to restock its shelves during January and February, said ACCESS Executive Director Jackie Schad.

Donations continue during those months but are significantly reduced.

"The consciousness of it fades after Christmas," she said. "Not the need."

Schad describes the Olsruds as a "huge community provider" and says the family's contribution will help feed a few thousand more families for a month.

"It's a wonderful infusion for us," she said.

When picking out the food to be donated, Olsrud chose items based on what will be the most beneficial to a family in need.

"(We donate) really edible stuff, no frills," he said. "If you're really hungry you don't need the fancy stuff."

Olsrud said he hopes his family's actions encourage others in the community to donate.

"We all have some tough times in life," he said.

In 2012, ACCESS provided emergency food boxes for 112,697 individuals in Jackson County. ACCESS always welcomes donations, particularly foods high in protein, such as canned fish, canned chicken, legumes or beans. ACCESS delivers food to 24 pantries throughout the county.

ACCESS also helps low-income residents with weatherization of their homes, energy assistance, housing assistance, medical equipment and service to seniors.

For more information on ACCESS, visit www.accesshelps.org or www.facebook.com/accesshelps.

Shannon Houston is a Southern Oregon University intern. Reach her at shouston@mailtribune.com.

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