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February 17, 2005

17 tons of frozen salmon will help feed the hungry

By Susan Palmer, The Register-Guard

Struggling families will get a nutritious addition to their meals because of a donation from a local real estate developer to FOOD for Lane County on Wednesday.

Arlie & Co. donated almost $8,000 to acquire 17 tons of frozen salmon patties, which will go out in emergency food boxes to needy residents throughout the county. It works out to about .05 cents per salmon patty, according to FOOD for Lane County spokeswoman Terry Kirby.

The healthy source of protein will go a long way toward improving the nutritional content of the boxes, Kirby said. "This is fresh frozen salmon, and kids especially love these things. That's a big deal to have a protein that kids will actually eat."


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salmon patties on forklift

A forklift driver pushes a pallet of salmon past an open case Wednesday at FOOD for Lane County.

Kitty Piercy and Gary Pape

Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy, with City Councilor Gary Papé, holds up one of the bags of salmon patties made available.

Photos: Wayne Eastburn / The Register-Guard

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The salmon was made available by two other nonprofit groups, SeaShare - which collects fish from fishermen and seafood processors - and America's Second Harvest, an agency that collects and distributes billions of pounds of food to more than 200 food banks across the nation every year.

But that food, while low-cost, isn't free. America's Second Harvest charges a small fee for storing, handling and shipping. The expense goes up when food - such as the salmon - must be frozen.

The salmon was part of a bycatch - fish that couldn't legally be kept but that came up with a legal catch, said Suzanne Arlie of Arlie & Co. Federal law allows the bycatch to be donated to hunger-relief agencies.

Just more than 33,000 pounds of salmon will be available for the next two to three months at the county's 20 food pantries, all of which have freezers that can keep the food fresh, Kirby said.

Families pick up the boxes from the pantries; the food bank distributes about 35,000 pounds of food a day.

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