That’s A Lot Of Groceries

March Newsletter, 2014  Rick McPherson

Every time we take a trip, deliver groceries, do an outreach, preach a sermon or give a speech, we record it in our Ministry Log at Pacific NW Outreach.  By the end of the year our three ring note book is bulging.  I then take each report and tally the results for our Board of Directors’ Annual Meeting.  I admit there are a lot of statistics, but when you see the results I think you’ll agree that 2013 was a very busy and productive year of ministry, helping Native Americans. 

For example, we distributed over 16,800 family food boxes.  A family food box is a cardboard banana box that you’ve seen many times at the grocery store.  Did you ever wonder what they do with the boxes when the bananas are gone?  Well, we get as many as we can and use them to pack groceries for needy families.  Did you know that you can pack enough groceries in a banana box to feed two people for a week?  So, double the number of boxes and you see that we helped feed over 33,600 people last year.  That’s a lot of groceries!  And it includes other necessities, like boots, clothes, household supplies and anything else that we can fit on the truck for delivery to the reservations. 

To put this in perspective, let’s talk about value.  Specifically, let’s talk dollars.  How much money are we talking about?  If you value a food box at just $25.00, (and that’s a conservative number if you’ve been grocery shopping recently) you get, $420,000.00, and if you double that value to $50.00 a box you get, $840.000.00.  As I said, that’s a lot of groceries!  And remember, everything was given free of charge. 

Additionally we had over 265 people involved in our outreaches, travelled over 13,000 miles and attended or spoke at, an even dozen Pow Wows, churches and civic groups. 

But, I’ve saved the best for last.  You know that our mission statement is to help Native Americans, physically and spiritually.  We look for every opportunity with our ministry partners to tell the story of God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness. 

And when I get reports like this I just have to share them with you:

“We have seen close to 100 professions of faith and about 20 baptized this past year.  It is a blessing to have you as a vital part of our ministry.  May the Lord bless your work.”

That report comes from a local pastor who receives surplus bread from our ministry after we have served local Native Americans groups in the greater Portland/Vancouver area. 

Again, we give God the glory for His blessing and favor.  This is His work and we are privileged to be a part.  From the Quinault reservation in western Washington State, to the Crow Nation in Crow Agency, Montana we have crisscrossed the country and because of people like you who have prayed for us and supported us financially we have made a difference.  Thank you. 

So the next time you’re in the store, pay close attention to those banana boxes.  Think of 16,800 of them stacked up and filled with groceries.   You’re right, that’s a lot of groceries! 


Two Coffee Mugs

January Newsletter, 2014 Rick McPherson

When I saw the new bike and wagon I couldn’t wait to load the truck and get them delivered to the Reservation before Christmas.  This year we were one of the charitable non-profits selected by Les Schwab Tire Centers and KGW TV 12 to receive toys and gifts for children.   I knew that I had just enough time to make one last trip before the Holiday.  With half the truck loaded with groceries and household supplies we packed all the toys and filled every space with action figures, puzzles, games, dolls and of course the bike and wagon. 

When I exited the Interstate past The Dalles, Oregon,  I made the turn back to the Celilo Indian Village on the Columbia River.  The Yakama Tribe have lived on these banks for generations and fished for Sturgeon and Salmon.  But on this particular afternoon the streets of the little village were empty and the Gorge wind was biting and cold. 

Karen and Fred Whitford,  our friends and contacts on the Reservation greeted me and were more than excited with the full truck load.  Several times as we emptied the truck, Karen came over and put her head on my shoulder.  She didn’t say a word but her gesture spoke volumes. 

Several days before, Lana, one of the ladies from the village had stopped by our office in Gresham and visited with us.  When she saw the truck she came over to help with the work and soon the groceries, household supplies of blankets, pillows, comforters and towels were safely off the truck and stacked neatly  in the carport.  The toys were handled like gold.  They were taken in the house to be sorted and then distributed to the children on the reservation. 

I asked Lana about her  Christmas plans.  She explained to me that her family was gone and no one was planning to be with her.  She hoped her  grandson would stay but was not sure that he would.  She went on to say that one of the family had been murdered and her relatives were scattered.  In a brief moment of time I was reminded again of the violence,  family abuse and hopelessness that characterize reservation life. 

I spoke to Lana of God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness.  She told me that she was a Believer and Christ was in her heart.  I encouraged her to take groceries, supplies and toys for her grandson and family and reminded her that I would be praying for her. 

As I dropped the big Detroit diesel into gear and headed down the street for the highway, Lana came down her driveway and stopped me .  She had two coffee mugs, one for Charlote, my wife,  and one for me.  On the mugs are pictures of the original Celilo Falls with Natives,  precariously perched on boards and logs by the rapids, fishing.  I held more than two coffee mugs in my hands, I held her heart. 


Now the New Year has arrived and we are fully engaged with our mission, helping Native Americans both physically and spiritually.  There are so many “Lanas…so many Karens…so many Freds”  who need our help.

Will you help us by praying for us?  Will you help us financially?

Your gifts make all the difference in the world.  Thank you and God bless you!