Corvallis community groups are seeing to it that people in need get their Easter Sunday treats this year.
“I grew up with See’s,” said Rebecca Camden, a board member of the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence. “It wouldn’t be a holiday without it.”
So she and numerous other representatives from Corvallis agencies catering to women and children, students as well as sick or disabled residents dropped in to the CH2M Hill Alumni Center at Oregon State University on Saturday to stock up on donated treats from See’s Candies.
Pat Egan, CEO of the California-based company, said all of his stores have been temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“If we can’t move candy because our doors aren’t open,” he said, “we can move candy because we have amazing partners.”
So, rather than let his preservative-free inventory expire, he coordinated an effort in numerous states for See’s Easter-themed candies — chocolates, jellies, nuts and more — to be donated instead.
Egan, an OSU alum, said there are nine stores in Oregon — all of which will be emptying their shelves of Easter treats to give to hospitals and programs in their local areas. The store in Eugene was cleaned out with the help of Rose City Trucking and Egan’s friend volunteering from Pacific Power, and the candy was arranged to be dropped off on campus with the OSU Alumni Association.
“It’s moments like this where the real heart and soul of a community takes hold,” said alumni association Executive Director John Valva.
Valva, his wife Hanna and regional Pacific Power agent Celeste Krueger unpacked two pallets-worth of candy Saturday afternoon at the Alumni Center as a make-shift distribution center for community groups to collect candy for their clients.
Camden was one of the first representatives to show, and she threw her hands up in excitement at the sight of the boxes of candy. Representing CARDV and the Old Mill Center for Children and Families on Saturday, she said “this will hopefully be a nice treat” for staff members and the women and children in the at-capacity shelters.
Boys & Girls Club of Corvallis CEO Helen Higgins and Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center homeless outreach representative Chiho Sakamoto were among other community leaders who dropped in to stock up. At least 10 agencies were invited to grab some sweets , with many benefitting from coordination with the Benton Community Foundation.
“Candy is sweet,” Valva said. “And, right now, having a sweet part of life that brings a little joy during this time I feel like is something we should all partake in.”
Reporter Nia Tariq can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-812-6091.