Fresh Alliance

Volunteer driver Steve Taylor collects donated groceries from the North Bend Safeway. A grant from the Coquille Tribal Community fund will let the Fresh Alliance program expand to include local McKay’s Markets.

Tribal grant expands fresh food donations

When you’re short of cash and the cupboard is bare, a box of canned goods or a sack of pinto beans is a godsend. But food bank fare can be a monotonous diet.

 “Even if you’re living in poverty, you don’t want to eat the same thing every day,” said Sara Stephens, development director for Oregon Coast Community Action.

 The solution is Fresh Alliance, a creative project backed this year by a Coquille Tribal Community Fund grant.

Operating as part of ORCCA’s Food Share program, Fresh Alliance collects expired baked goods, produce and other foods from markets each day. Those foods – past their sell-by dates but still safe and tasty – go to local food banks, providing nutrition and variety to hungry families.

Thanks to Fresh Alliance, a family’s food box might contain fresh strawberries, salad greens, pastries – even a T-bone steak or a salmon filet.

“The ability to provide that is amazing,” said Laura Hunter, who directs South Coast Food Share.

South Coast grocers donate abundantly to Fresh Alliance – more than 400,000 pounds of food in 2017 alone. The numbers could be even higher, but ORCCA’s capacity to process donations has limited the number of stores taking part.

This year, a $20,000 grant from the Coquille Tribal Community fund will let Fresh Alliance add all seven local McKay’s Markets to its donor list.

McKay’s will join Fresh Alliance’s existing list of donor stores, which already encompasses Fred Meyer, Safeway, Walmart, Ray’s Food Place and Cash & Carry. The seven additional stores will let ORCCA supply many additional tons of fresh groceries to local food banks.

“We are delighted to support the Fresh Alliance expansion,” said Jackie Chambers, who coordinates the Tribal Fund. “Our local supermarkets have been generous partners in meeting loc

Once collected by volunteer driver Steve Taylor, the fresh food will be distributed promptly to local food banks.

al needs. This grant lets Food Share expand that collaboration and reduce food waste in our area.”

Along with nutrition, Fresh Alliance’s diverse offerings deliver a rare sense of luxury to food bank clients.

“I think many times we make assumptions about what

people in poverty should be eating,” Stevens explained. “Who really wants to eat dried beans and stuff in a can all the time?”

She recalled a young mother in Coquille who had no cake for her 4-year-old daughter’s birthday. Her food bank had one on hand – already lavishly decorated in a girlish theme.

“She just had tears in her eyes because they were going to be able to have that cake for her kiddo,” Stevens said.

Fresh Alliance is one of 57 organizations sharing more than $290,000 in Coquille Tribal Community Fund grants this year. Twenty-three of those programs, including Food Share, fall into the fund’s Health category, accounting for more than $130,000 of the total.

The Tribal Fund has distributed more than $6.1 million since 2001. More about the Community Fund




Coquille Tribal Community Fund 

2018 Health Grantees

Oregon Coast Community Action (Food Share) $20,000
Southern Coos Health Foundation $5,000
The Salvation Army of Coos Bay $2,000
Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation $6,000
Coos Bay Area Habitat For Humanity $5,000
Drug Disposal Coalition $3,000
Knights of Columbus Council 1261 $2,000
Coos Elderly Services Inc. $10,000
Oregon Coast Community Action (CASA) $10,000
Powers School District $10,000
Kairos $7,500
Bay Area Senior Activity Center $6,000
Brookings Harbor Community Helpers Food Bank $5,000
Coos Food Cupboard $5,000
Harmony United Methodist Church $5,000
North Bend Senior Center $5,000
South Coast Hospice & Palliative Care Services Inc. $5,000
United Way of Southwestern Oregon $5,000
The Gold Beach Senior Center $4,000
Coos County Friends of Public Health $3,500
Coos Bay Seventh Day Adventist Food Pantry $3,000
The Arc Jackson County $2,000
Marshfield Key Club $1,386

Transit Grant Will Expand Local Bus Service

Local bus service in Coos County will be faster and more convenient thanks to a federal grant obtained by the Coquille Indian Tribe and Coos County Area Transit.

By improving bus access to education services, health care, public agencies and job sites, the project is expected to double the ridership on CCAT, from the current 25,000 rides per year to 50,000.  Riders will reach their destinations in half the time they spend now.

“We are thrilled to have a part in bringing better public transit to Coos County,” said Tribal Chairperson Brenda Meade.  “CCAT is an absolute lifeline for so many people in our community.”

The $200,000 grant comes from the government’s Tribal Transit Program, but Meade emphasized that CCAT’s improved service will benefit the whole community.

“The Coquille Tribe lives by the potlatch tradition of sharing resources with those around us, and this project fits that philosophy perfectly,” she said. “It benefits our Tribal members, and it benefits our neighbors throughout the community.”

The grant lets CCAT reorganize its two Connector Routes by providing more frequent service and more convenient transfers from one bus to another. That’s made possible by the addition of an Intercity Route linking the Connector Routes.

Some details:

  • The existing West Connector Route travels from Charleston to Coos Bay, then to Pony Village Mall and the Department of Human Services office on Newmark Avenue.
  • The existing East Connector goes from Eastside to Pony Village.
  • The two routes currently meet at Pony Village and at Walmart. This duplication of stops lengthens both routes. As a result, the wait between buses at each stop is about an hour and 45 minutes.
  • The new Intercity Route will eliminate the duplication by providing a link between the two Connector Routes. It will include stops at Walmart, North Bend Medical Center, Bay Area Hospital, Pony Village, the Coos County Annex and Southwestern Oregon Community College
  • With the Connector Routes no longer duplicating stops, buses will be able to serve each stop every 55 minutes. That’s twice as frequent as the current schedule.
  • The increased service will add convenience not only for local riders, but also for passengers transferring from buses serving Myrtle Point, Coquille, Bandon and Brookings.

The starting date for the expanded service has not yet been determined.

All Things Salmon

For sustenance, industry or sport, salmon have had a profound influence on people and cultures. The impact of this powerful migratory fish can be seen in art works from prehistoric stone carvings through contemporary glass.

In a nationwide competition/exhibition, the Coos Art Museum focuses on the theme of salmon in contemporary art. This exhibition is funded in part by a grant from the Coquille Tribal Community Fund.

Newspaper article

More about the museum