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JAMES QUIGG, DAILY PRESS
Ashalyn Wilson, right, and stacks Top Ramen noodles during the Victor Valley Rescue Mission's sorting day Monday which concluded their annual Holiday Food Drive.

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Rescue mission takes in nearly 9 tons of food

VICTORVILLE • The tiniest helper at Monday's "sorting party" was 8-year-old Ashalyn, the daughter of Ron Wilson, executive director of Victor Valley Rescue Mission.

Ashalyn, donned in a child-sized red apron, worked hastily with roughly 100 other volunteers unloading and sorting 18,000 pounds of food — enough to last the rescue mission about nine months.

“This will get us right up through the slim summer months,” Wilson said of the food, which primarily came as donations from parishioners at High Desert Church.

Wilson said the mission has been providing food to 500 families a month on average, but considering their recent move to a new facility, he thinks that they will soon be able to feed more people.

The sorting party, which was held in a covered outdoor lunch area at Victor Valley High School, was staffed by volunteers from various churches and other organizations throughout the High Desert, including Girl Scout Troop #238, the National Council of Negro Women and numerous other local faith and community based organizations.

Veronica Trujillo, a volunteer coordinator for the rescue mission, said that the partnership they have established with VVHS has helped the mission in numerous ways.

“Working with the high school has made things so much more organized,” Trujillo said. “We have a lot more room here and we can have more volunteers. Our goal is to not to try to do everything, but to partner with people who have a passion for (helping others) so we can all do more.”

The volunteers, who came from every walk of life, arrived as early as 8 a.m. to unload the food off trucks. After the food was sorted, it was loaded back onto the trucks and taken to a storage facility, where it will be doled out to needy families throughout the year, Wilson said. Although the amount of food they received covered dozens of industrial-sized picnic tables, Wilson worried aloud if it would be enough.

“The really heartbreaking part is having to shut the doors if we run out of food,” Wilson said, blaming the poor economy on the low supply and high demand that’s currently placed on food banks. “We didn’t make our goal, but we did just as good as last year.”

Trujillo said this is the third year that the mission has hosted a sorting party. She said she feels she has learned so much about how to make the most of everyone’s strengths and desire to help, learning to delegate tasks — and drawing inspiration to help younger people become better citizens.

“We are building up a community,” Trujillo said, “but we are also building up leaders, too.”

Lynnea Lombardo may be reached at (760) 951-6232 or at LLombardo@VVDailyPress.com.

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