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Center Salvages Food to Aid the Hungry


Even in affluent Orange County there is a continuing war against hunger. The Food Distribution Center of Orange County set up its battle lines to fight hunger in October, 1983. Every day since then it has helped the poor by distributing food that would otherwise be thrown away.

The center in Orange receives a small amount of the estimated 2 1/2-million pounds of food that Orange County wastes every month. This includes dented canned food from grocery stores and food products that were overproduced, mislabeled or otherwise not meant for the shelves.

Retailers and manufacturers donate these products to the nonprofit center. It then serves as a distribution point for 215 Orange County-based agencies that provide for senior citizens, homeless or poor people, and for some child care facilities.

In exchange for the food, these agencies are asked to pay a "shared maintainance fee" that is set at about 7 cents a pound for the food received, according to Kelly Sullivan, resource manager of the center.

The Food Distribution Center operates on continuous help from volunteers.

"We have about 17 paid positions at the center and the rest of the work is done strictly by volunteers," Sullivan says.

Opportunities to assist the program include sorting food, working on ad campaigns, promotional work, fund-raising, food solicitation and computer inventory.

The center's main mission, stresses Executive Director Dan Harney, is to create public awareness about the hunger problem.

The center operates under the umbrella of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, a charity arm of the Roman Catholic Church.

For more information on the center or on volunteer opportunities, call the Food Distribution Center at (714) 771-1343.

The Pacific Southwest Regional Office of the National Archives in Laguna Niguel is seeking volunteers to assist researchers with genealogical records and the microfilm section. Volunteers are also needed to help with special projects, workshops and exhibits.

Hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. No prior experience is necessary; training will be provided.

For more information, contact the Volunteer Center of Orange County-Central South at (714) 588-9330.

Advanced Resources for Foster Kids (ARK), a nonprofit organization providing support to licensed foster families in Orange County, is looking for volunteers to help in their "Play Day Program."

Volunteers will care for drug babies, read to children and supervise play and meals. The program operates on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. A six-hour training session is provided.

For more information, contact the Volunteer Center of Orange County-Central/South at (714) 953-5757.

The city of Garden Grove is seeking help with "Project GO," which was designed to remove graffiti from public and private property.

Volunteers are asked to clean and paint. Workers of all ages are invited to help.

For more information, contact the Graffiti Hotline at (714) 741-5381.

A volunteer orientation meeting will be held Saturday for junior and senior high school students interested in helping with the public library's summer reading program. The meeting will begin at noon at the La Palma Library, 7842 Walker St. For more information, contact the library at (714) 523-8585.

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