Monday, 21 May 2012

Charles and His Food Pantry

Andi met Charlie on the ADV forum. When we got to Anchorage, we realize he is a friend of Barb and Amy - and other ADV riders. What a surprise.

We arrived Charles' house in Homer in the brilliant sunshine, a moose was grazing in front of the front yard, with the snow mountain and ocean in the full view of the lounge, it felt just like at home in Wanaka - except the moose.

Charlie took us down to the Homer spit and showed us around. Most importantly, he told us about his passion - the city food pantry.

                                                  with Charlie at food pantry

The food pantry is similar to the food bank in NZ. They collect donations of food and distribute to the people who have the need. There are a few volunteers working at the food pantry. Charlie picks up food from local grocery shop most days and is also on call 24 -7. They have a system, people who registered in the system pick up their food parsel every Monday afternoon. So on Monday morning, we joined Charlie and his mates sorting out all the food.

There are donuts, muffins, cakes, tin food and also lots of fruit and veges. Although the fruit and veges are not in their best condition - that's why they are donated but they are still very good. In NZ, that would be thrown out but the people in Homer sorted them out, then give to the people in need.

While we were taking the rotting part of the veges out, a lady told me to put them in a seperate box, because "people will pick it up for animals, nothing is going to waste from here." I was wonder how does that work because the US for me is a country people suing for anything and everything. Charlie said they do have permission from govt to do so. What a great thing to do for the community.  I think if our NZ could do the same, first will help lots of people, second will reduce lots of waste.

"Is there any who people abuse this system?" "Of course there is." Charlie said. The food pantry also has limited finance to support people. Charlie went and met a woman while we stayed with him, he came back not very happy. I asked how was the woman, Charlie said:"I told her not to come back to us." The woman who claimed was abused by her partner was driving a brand new rental car, but no money for fuel. Charlie went and paid for the fuel, she also wanted the receipt. Charlie said no and told her to change an affordable car as well.

Most people come to food pantry are genuinly in need of help. Charlie has been working for the food pantry for 3 years, and seeing the number of people coming to the panty is growing - this is his main concern. He believes America is in a bad shape.

Charlie also told us his romance with a Chinese lady he met on the Internet. He even sold all his belongings and moved to China to be with her. Unfortunately the hot weather there and cultural difference curtailed the romance. Charlie had to return to Alaska after a few months in China. Although he didn't make his life in China, they still remain very good friends. I even talked to the lady on Skype in Chinese - Charlie asked me to tell her in Chinese that riding motorcycle is not dangerous!

Andi spent couple of days help Charlie to fix his Honda 1979 Gold Wings so he can go riding with us on Sunday - actually the ride was on Saturday, Charlie messed up the day which he was most embarrassed.

Our stay in Homer had a shorter ending due to leaving on the Saturday rather than the Sunday but we don't mind at all as we met a few more riders and enjoyed the trip to Hope Cafe with them. We were so lucky to be able to stay with Charlie and get to know him and his passion. He made us feel at Home(r) as our own home. We can not thank him enough. All the best for Charlie, we wish you find a good company to share your love and passion.

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