The Gresham Outlook | Christopher Keizur | December 7, 2020
A plane stuffed with gifts for homebound seniors flew into Troutdale as volunteers and community members did their part to spread some holiday cheer.
Doing their best to emulate Santa Claus, Troutdale’s Envi Adventures and Meals on Wheels teamed up Saturday, Dec. 5, to host the first-ever “Fill the Plane” event.
“This year there has been this feeling of wanting to do something for others, and that spirit of giving has lasted nine months,” said Corey Rust, with Envi Adventures. “This is our way of joining in because we thought local seniors needed something to be cheerful about.”
It all began at the Troutdale Airport Saturday morning, with people bringing pajamas, socks, fleece blankets, postage stamps, puzzles books and other items. The plane then made a short hop across the river into Vancouver to gather even more donations, before ultimately returning to East Multnomah County.
“Seniors right now are so vulnerable, they have been stuck in their houses for a longtime,” said Tony Staser, chief development officer for Meals on Wheels.
Those donated gifts are destined for vulnerable seniors in East Multnomah County, and will be delivered by Gresham’s Meals on Wheels Ambleside Center along with chocolates and flowers.
“People don’t realize how much joy it brings a senior to get these types of gifts,” Staser said. “It’s that knock on the door and our volunteer drivers saying hello that makes the difference.”
Across the metro region, Meals on Wheels has seen its food deliveries almost double as more seniors are unable to safely venture out of their homes. The Fill the Plane event was a way for the organization to do something special in addition to the normal food deliveries.
And Envi Adventures, which offers aerial tours showcasing the scenic region, was the perfect partner to complete the donation event.
“Having an airplane business seems like an unconventional lead to do a gift drive like this, but small businesses can make a huge impact,” Rust said.