Veneta’s Mid Lane Love Project continues its drive-through food distribution

The Mid Lane Love Project in Veneta has continued its drive-through model developed during the COVID-19 pandemic and has recently announced new and additional food pantry hours.

The Mid Lane Love Project, a partner agency of FOOD For Lane County, is the public food pantry part of Mid Lane Cares, a nonprofit organization in Veneta that also provides a free medical clinic once a month, has meals and programs for seniors and manages energy assistance programs.

Mid Lane Love Project is open for drive-through food box pick-up from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays and Fridays and 3 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. In January, Mid Lane Love Project will be adding a 10 a.m. to noon pick-up the last Saturday of each month.

“Adding late afternoon and weekend hours is something that we encourage pantries to do,” FOOD For Lane County Executive Director Tom Mulhern said, “so that they are more accessible to people with different work and life schedules.”

Mid Lane Love Project volunteers pre-pack available nonperishable staple food items in boxes. When a participant arrives to pick up food, they complete a two-page checklist of choices from the available items (produce, dairy, meat and more). The items selected are brought out to the participant’s vehicle along with the pre-packed box.

Pre-packed boxes come in various household sizes (1- to 2-person, 3- to 4-person, 5- to 6-person and 6+ person households), said Susan Regnerus, the manager of the food pantry and the senior programs. Regnerus said the largest household client the food pantry has is 11 persons, and that family is provided two, 5- to 6-person boxes. Regnerus said the participants seem to like this method, and they plan to keep doing it this way for the immediate future.

The pantry serves 18 to 25 households per day when open, and Regnerus said those numbers have increased in the past two months. The pantry distributes about 2 to 3 tons of food monthly to an average of 700 people.

In addition to food from FOOD For Lane County, the Mid Lane Love Project also receives grocery store food donations from Grocery Outlet and Ray’s Food Place in Veneta, along with bread from Panera and baked goods from Our Daily Bread bakery.

Regnerus said her interactions with FFLC staff have been really good and helpful. She recognizes that food supply will continue to fluctuate, and that is constantly communicated with the people the pantry serves.

“We are fortunate to have such a solid and community-focused food pantry partner serving the Veneta area,” Mulhern said.