A small army of volunteers, led by Robin Brown-Wood, helped veterans and their families this past Thanksgiving 2023. Now in its eighth year, Sole to Soul is a nonprofit dedicated to serving local veterans in need. They used FFLC’s kitchen to prepare the food and FFLC’s Bailey Hill warehouse to stage their operations.
“When Robin asked us about kitchen space, it seemed like a perfect partnership,” FFLC Volunteer Coordinator and Kitchen Manager Dan Budd said. “Their team had already organized labor, food and transportation. They just needed a licensed kitchen to prepare and package the food.”
A U.S. Army combat veteran, former Company Commander and owner of Alma Catering, Robin is no stranger to leading and feeding large groups of people.
“I come from a mother who gave altruistically all her life,” said Robin. “I grew up watching her do this, and the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. I don’t think we’re on this planet just to take, take, take. I think we’re here to help our fellow human beings by giving back.”
This year the group also used FFLC’s warehouse to organize and pack all their items to be delivered. Boxes included a Thanksgiving meal complete with turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, string beans, carrots, pumpkin pies, cranberry sauce and rolls. Boxes were also filled with gifts, including new toys for the kids, blankets, hats, socks, gift cards and more. Many of the items were donated by individuals and local companies including Kendall Subaru, McDonald Wholesale, Emerald Fruit & Produce, Subaru, Dutch Bros, T-Mobile and Costco to name a few.
Members of the McKenzie Jeepers, a local Jeep club, delivered the boxes Thanksgiving morning to veterans and their families living in Eugene, Springfield, Mapleton, Florence, Blue River, Reedsport and Oakridge. By noon, 74 families and 114 veterans had received their boxes.
“I’m doing this to say thank you to the people who put their lives on the line and fight for their country,” said Kara Smith from Subaru. Kara helped coordinate donations from Subaru, helped prepare food in FFLC’s kitchen and delivered boxes on Thanksgiving day. “My dad’s a veteran. Both my grandparents were veterans. It means a lot to me.”
For more information or to get involved, contact Robin here.