Gresham Meals on Wheels worker offers food and friendship - KPTV - FOX 12

Gresham Meals on Wheels worker offers food and friendship

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GRESHAM, OR (KPTV) -

It's something a lot of people take for granted, grabbing breakfast on the way to work or running out to grab food on their lunch break.

For many seniors in our area, though, it's not that easy, and that's where some dedicated workers in Gresham come in to help.

Lunchtime at Gresham's Ambleside Center keeps Brianna Bigham running from the kitchen to the dining room and back again.

Bigham is the Ambleside Center's director. She and her crew provide a free lunch to 75 seniors a day and prepare meals for many more through the Meals on Wheels program.

She has run this local non-profit for eight years now, and what began as a job became a calling.

“I thought, ‘I like to cook, I do like seniors. Sure, why not?’” Bigham told FOX 12. “I love the feeling, I love the community vibe, and I was hooked.”

Anyone 60 and older is eligible to stop in for lunch provided by Bigham and a roster of volunteers, but she said the meal is just part of what they offer.

For Bigham, the main focus is giving seniors a place to come together and be a part of a shared community.

“This area is just supposed to be you come in, you grab a cup of coffee, you sit and chat with your friends and you have lunch,” she explained. “This is really important. This is much bigger than the turkey we are serving.”

Through the years, Bigham has built relationships with many of her regulars. Some don't have family members in the area, and she wants them to know that someone is thinking about them.

“It's what keeps you going,” she said. “To be able to say hi and address somebody by name who might really not talk to other adults through the day is a special thing.”

It's that spirit of giving that led Ambleside regular Ronnie McBride to nominate Bigham for the FOX 12 -Les Schwab Tire Centers Be the Change award.

“She goes out of her way for us, she respects the seniors,” McBride said. “If there's a problem, she takes care of it.”

“It's just one of those really life-affirming things to know that,” Bigham said of the appreciation the McBride has for her. “For me, it's kind of just what I do in my daily work, and sometimes it all goes really fast. And so to know that it means a lot to you really was really special to my heart.”

While awards and recognition are nice, Bigham told FOX 12 it's the smiles and laughter from those she serves that are her greatest rewards, reminders that it can be better to give than receive.

“Working in non-profit, I'll probably never be paid a movie star salary, but if I were to judge my value to the community based on the home-baked goods I receive at Christmas, obviously, I'm doing something good.”

To nominate a person or group deserving of the Be the Change award,
please go to KPTV.com/BeTheChange.

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