Mehlum leaves ‘legacy of support’ to Mapleton

Longtime local makes large donation to Mapleton Food Share

April 9, 2022 — In February, Mapleton Food Share announced it had received a sizable donation to help with a purchase of the building that houses the charitable organization. Johan Mehlum donated $125,000 for the purchase of the Mapleton Food Share building at 10718 Highway 101 in Mapleton. 

“Mapleton Food Share will be eternally grateful to Johan Mehlum,” said Karen Harden, Mapleton Food Share President. “This year, Mapleton Food Share will be 10 years old. As an all-volunteer organization, we are quite proud of how far we have come. With his generous donation, he has left a legacy of support for Mapleton.”

Mehlum, a resident of first Mapleton and then Florence, passed away on Jan. 8, 2022.

In 1964, Mehlum helped found Siuslaw Bank in Mapleton and was at its helm for the next 50 years. Though he and his family later relocated to the valley, he continued to provide generous support to Florence and Mapleton communities for the rest of his life. 

Mehlum not only made generous donations to Mapleton Food Share, but also helped to support the Rotary Club, United Way of Lane County and the Oregon Trail Council. He was also a founding member of the Western Lane County Foundation, a charitable organization.

His $125,000 donation to Mapleton Food Share will mean that his positive impact on the upriver community will continue for years to come.

The food share, now in its 10th year, has provided healthy food for area residents in need of assistance with their food budget. It is a shopping-style pantry that allows for a family to make their own choices of food based on their families’ needs. 

In addition to food, it provides clothing and household goods for a minimal donation. 

Mapleton Food Share delivers food to those that can't make it to the location and last summer they provided 3,800 sack lunches for area children. Many lunches were delivered because transportation is an issue in the area.

 “(Johan) saw the need to secure a home for Mapleton Food Share for the future,” Harden said. “The purchase will also allow us to expand an additional 1,000 square feet. With the expansion, there will be a need for repairs and remodeling, but we are up to the task.”

Mehlum has been a huge part of the success of the food share in Mapleton from day one.

“In the years that we have served Mapleton and the surrounding area, he has been a strong financial supporter,” said Harden.

The $125,000 is half of what Mapleton Food Share needs for purchase of the building that houses the organization. The food share currently leases the building, but with an additional $125,000 they would be able to purchase it.

The Mapleton Food Share is looking for matching funds to complete the $250.000 purchase price. There is a deadline approaching to secure the matching funds to complete this purchase.

Those who would like to help can donate directly at Mapleton Food Share, 10718 Highway 101, or at Oregon Pacific Bank, 1355 Highway 101, Florence, attention Lori Gates.

For those needing access to resources, Mapleton Food Share is open the second Thursday and fourth Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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