Salt Lake to Salem: Local church helps restock damaged food bank

Marion Polk Food Share President Rick Guapo, Keizer Stake President Langdon Smith and truck driver.

On the morning of Sept. 22, a large semi-truck carrying nearly 40,000 pounds of food arrived from Salt Lake City at the Marion Polk Food Share in Salem.  

The truck, which contained food and household supplies donated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was ultimately bound for the AWARE Food Bank in Woodburn. 

The AWARE Food Bank was significantly damaged last month after a 24-year-old man intentionally set fire to the AWARE building, damaging a large portion of the food stored there. 

According to Marion Polk Food Share, “This donation of high-quality, nutritious food and high-demand household items will help AWARE restock its shelves and will provide thousands of meals for our neighbors in the Woodburn area.”

Below is a statement from Dan Kohler, public affairs director for the Keizer Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: 

“After discussing the needs of the food bank with Marion Polk Food Share President and CEO Rick Gaupo, local Church leaders made a request for the donation. Keizer Stake President Langdon Smith talked about how members of the congregations fast two meals each month and donate the cost of those meals for the poor and needy. We make this donation to help share our bounty to our brothers and sisters (of any faith) in need. This is the fourth truckload of food and supplies the Church has donated locally since COVID. The truck delivery was originally scheduled for Tuesday but humanitarian needs in Louisiana made it necessary to postpone a day. The Church has donated thousands of truckloads of food the last couple years. The driver of the truck said he has logged over 500,000 miles the last three years. 

Beginning September 27th AWARE will open in a new location at 154 Harrison St while construction continues at the old location. Donations can be made at