A bounty of beauty

Yuba River event has collected over 100,000 pounds of food

 Andrew Wedgbury

Nevada City Advocate 

 For Realtor Pamela Morey, a project born of her deep love for the Yuba River has helped collect over 100,00 pounds of food and almost $10,000 for The Food Bank of Nevada County over the past 14 years.

The 14th Annual Bridge of Giving will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4, at the old bridge across the South Yuba River. The event offers the opportunity to donate non-perishable food items and enjoy one of the area’s most spectacular attributes – the Yuba River.

“I live in North San Juan. So, I have the good fortune to see the river every day. To me, I think it’s like the pulse of the community, and I would often visit with people who haven’t taken the time to enjoy the river,” she said. “I come from a food background, and I looked at a way to combine two loves.” 

During the event people bring their food items to the bridge to be lined up along the railings for pick up by the food bank and stay to enjoy time in a unique part of their community, “feeding the community and feeding the soul,” Morey noted.

“What I have discovered over the years is that when people come down, it’s only 10 minutes out of town. They are so grateful they took the time to do this,” said, adding that many families and friends get together at the fundraising event.

The need for donated food in the area continues to grow. According to the Food Bank, last year the organization fed approximately 3,000 families per month, representing about 8,000 individuals. The average number of families has increased by almost 40 percent at the organization’s monthly distributions.

“Doing this at this time of year, going into a period when the need can be greater for the Food Bank to have food for distribution, really starts the holidays off with giving,” Morey said. “And it’s a particularly pretty time of year, with the fall colors starting to come in. I built it around the idea of a community event that families come to year after year.”

When the Bridge of Giving event started in 2004, 800 pounds of food was collected. By 2015, 12,805 pounds of non-perishable items were collected, along with cash donations. The event also offers various snacks and baked goods for participants. Another attraction for the event is when it occurs. 

“It’s always on the first Sunday of November, which is Daylight Savings, so you get an extra hour anyway. Why not take a drive?” she said. 

Morey said that depending on the weather people come from all over the area to participate.

“There was a lady that was close to 90 that lived down in Ponderosa Pines that came to the event and she had not been down to the river, to the bridge, since before the bridge was closed. And it was one of the highlights of her year. It’s that sort of thing that makes me so happy,” Morey said. 

She also shared the story of a friend, born and raised in the area and living in Nevada City, who had not been to the river since she was in high school and had not been there with her children. 

“It was very sad, but I find that people are more apt to do something if there’s a goal and not just for themselves. They wouldn’t just take the time to go to the river for themselves, for the enjoyment, but they will in order to support the Food Bank. And in the end, they realize what a good day they had at the river,” Morey said.

For many families and others, the Annual Bridge of Giving has become a planned event each year, bringing together the beauty and grandeur of the Yuba River with the act of helping others in need. Fall begins a season of giving, and it makes sense to not only help our community, but to help yourself to some soul-satisfying Yuba time. When was the last time you said, “I’ll meet you at the River?”

About the photo both pages: 

Pamela Morey started the Bridge of Giving event in 2004. The 14th annual event will be held Sunday, Nov. 4.