Sometimes good can come out of tragedy.
When Cactus Jack’s Saloon bore the brunt of the flood caused by the overflowing Bear Creek on Friday, owner Gary Mitchell Jr. knew he wouldn’t be reopening soon.
So rather than waste the 1,500 pounds of food in the saloon, he donated it to Evergreen Christian Outreach.
“(Mitchell) called Saturday morning,” said Jim Shelton, EChO food bank manager. “He said he wanted to donate all the food in his restaurant to us. He said he’s not going to be able to open for some time, so he wanted to give (the food) to somebody who can use it.”
Mitchell arranged to run generators in Cactus Jack’s on Saturday to keep the refrigerators and freezers operating until EChO could rearrange its storage space to accommodate such a large quantity of food.
On Sunday, EChO staff began the daunting task of transferring the food out of the saloon into vehicles to be transported to the food bank. Passers-by saw what was happening and pitched in to help.
EChO — and the hundreds of families it helps each week — received meat, cheese, produce, bread, salad dressings and other items.
Now EChO workers are transferring the restaurant-sized packages into small containers for more people to use.
Shelton said it was unusual to get one donation of 1,500 pounds of food. In that donation, the most interesting item was a vat of tzatziki sauce, which is used to make gyros.
He promises EChO will find a use for it.