Longtime Marys River Gleaners coordinator Cookie Johnson has been named one of two Hunger Buster Volunteer of the Year Award winners for 2015 by the Oregon Food Bank.
Volunteers with Marys River Gleaners, primarily low-income people, gather fruits and vegetables left over after harvest and surplus food from stores and restaurants for their own use and for distribution to others in need. Johnson has headed the Corvallis organization since 2007 and helped it grow to more than 900 members, making it one of the largest gleaning groups in the mid-valley.
According to the nominating letter from Linn Benton Food Share, the regional food bank for Linn and Benton counties, Johnson is “a no-nonsense, straight-talking angel” who runs an efficient gleaning operation while helping people get through tough economic times.
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Johnson serves as the low-income representative on the advisory board of the Community Services Consortium, speaks about poverty to local churches and civic groups and participates in focus groups working on hunger and sustainability issues.
The other winner of this year’s Hunger Buster Volunteer of the Year Award is Emilia Lacy, who volunteers with the Newport Food Pantry and sits on the board of Food Share of Lincoln County.