Lorinda Hoffman, Operations Director for the FISH Food Bank, retired on Sept. 25. Hoffman was honored on Sept. 28 in a safe-distance sendoff luncheon at the five-year-old FISH headquarters on Tucker Road in Hood River, which Hoffman helped design. 

Her husband, Don, daughter and granddaughter were on hand along with a group of FISH staff and volunteers

“She was a really strong person in helping grown FISH to where it is now. In the new site, she was the one who organized the whole layout of the building. She moved us forward,” said volunteer coordinator Billie Stevens.

Hoffman began working as a volunteer at the food bank in 2005 and has served as Operations Director since 2009. She has been a tireless and critical part of FISH’s work over those years, according to board chair Marianne Durkan.

“The board of the FISH Food Bank thanks Lorinda for her many years of dedicated service to the Hood River community and our leadership team. We are grateful to have had her calm presence and positive attitude for so long,” Durkan said. “She exhibits a gentle kind spirit in working with our clients and volunteers. Her efforts to obtain nutritious, culturally-appropriate foods have immeasurably helped our clients experiencing food insecurity.

“Her organizational abilities have enabled  FISH to open satellite pantries in Parkdale, Cascade Locks and Mid Valley. We will miss her but are grateful for her service and are happy she can spend more time with her three grandchildren!” 

In her role, Hoffman coordinated deliveries among vendors, worked with the Oregon Food Bank and other food support agencies and makes sure that FISH’s food shelves are stocked, ensured that the other FISH sites in Parkdale and Cascade Locks have sufficient food and supporting homebound delivery efforts.

“She answers dozens of questions from volunteers every day,” Durkan said. “The COVID pandemic provided a last set of challenges. Lorinda delayed her previously scheduled retirement to work tirelessly to overcome food shortages and delivery delays and implement new distancing and health requirements.” 

Marianne Brevard will take over the responsibilities of Director of Operations. Brevard joined the FISH Board in 2016 and has lived in Hood River since 2003. She takes a particular interest in child nutrition and has served as co-chair of the Summer Lunch for Kids program for two years. Brevard served as co-chair of the Waterfront Community Park Association, vice president of Westside Elementary PTO, and volunteers with outdoor environmental organizations. Brevard will step down from her role as a FISH board member to serve as Operations Director.

“We welcome Marianne into her new role and look forward to her help in continuing to make the FISH Food Bank a valuable resource for anyone in the community in need of food aid,” Durkan said.

Changes at food bank sites

The Hood River, Parkdale and Cascade Locks sites have had altered distribution methods since October, due to change in the weather and challenges to providing outside curb service only, which has been the sites’ method since April.

At the Hood River site, clients will come into the building one at time to register (volunteers will begin asking additional information of the clients). Once a client has registered and completed their food order they return to the car and volunteers fill the order and bring it to the car. 

In Parkdale, the clients will go into the waiting room and wash their hands. If there are several clients, they will be spaced appropriately. The clients will actually go into the food area, one at a time to select the food items. Before going into the shopping area, the clients will also put on sanitizer on their hands.

Because of a low number clients at Parkdale, the board has decided to cut the distribution days at the Parkdale food bank to only two days a month. It will now be open on the first and third Monday of each month.

In Cascade Locks, the clients will also go into the waiting area, with a limit of 10 clients at a time. They will also be asked to sanitize their hands upon entering the building and will be spaced appropriately, receive their food bags and return to their car. 

“The board hopes this will work as smooth as what we are doing currently, but we know from past experience that we will probably modify it several times before we get it to an efficient process,” Durkan said.

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