Longtime Buckley Food Bank volunteer honored

Carl Lee spent 25 years helping locals get fresh food.

An icon of the Buckley community hung up his hat at the Buckley Kiwanis Food Bank last month after 25 years of hard work helping feed local residents.

In a gathering July 14 at Anchor House Coffee in Buckley, a couple dozen friends from the food bank and Kiwanis Club honored Carl Lee for his years of service to the community.

“(Lee) doesn’t needs an introduction,” Food Bank volunteer Paul Goldberry said in a speech that morning. “I just hope that when I get to his age that I’ll be able to do as much work as he’s done. He’s just an amazing guy. … The whole town and all the people they served at the food bank owe a great deal of appreciation.”

Lee bought and unloaded food, deterred pests, sorted out which food was useable and met countless families in his 25 years at the food bank. His last day was June 29.

“We’re well supported by the community,” Lee said, such as by local businesses like Elk’s Head Brewery that donate to keep the Food Bank. Folks that visited the food bank are often so appreciative that they’ll return the favor by bringing their own baked goods to the volunteers there, he said.

Lee, originally from California, worked in the grocery industry since he was a kid. He retired in 1985 and moved to Buckley a few years later, where he joined the Kiwanis Club. Kiwanis took over the Buckley Food Bank in 1997, which is also when they asked Lee, who they knew had grocery store expertise, if he’d like to help out.

“Meeting the people you work with, the people you serve, they’re all nice,” Lee said. “That’s why you enjoy it. That’s why I stayed there.”

Lee leads a rustic, hardworking lifestyle at home. At 80 years old, he still clears the grass on his 9-acre property with a scythe and chops wood to heat his home.

Among the gifts given to him Thursday was a log splitter, so that Lee wouldn’t have to spend so much time and effort chopping wood.

But Lee, ever the hard-worker, replied: “Hey, that’s part of my exercise!”

The Buckley Kiwanis Food Bank is open Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon at 127 North River Ave. It will be closed the last week of July.

Carl Lee has volunteered since 1997 at the Buckley Kiwanis Food Bank.

Carl Lee has volunteered since 1997 at the Buckley Kiwanis Food Bank.