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Delivering the goods

Share Our Selves picks up food from various grocery stores and restaurants to help the needy in the area.

September 28, 2009|By Michael Miller

Editor’s note: This is the third of a three-part series on how the recession is affecting the Newport-Mesa area.

8 a.m.

Bob Jordan got in his company van, set a single cup of water in a cup holder to quench his thirst, and headed off on the route that he’s taken nearly every Monday for the last 12 years.

The van, one of two owned by the Westside nonprofit Share Our Selves, maneuvered its way out of the cramped parking lot on Superior Avenue, inching around parked cars and families who had come for their daily needs.

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With the morning still cool, Jordan ventured to the pink rooftops and hillside views of Newport Coast — a neighborhood just a few miles away but a world removed from the people who line up every morning for food, medicine and job counseling.

The Newport Beach resident worked for decades in the food industry, handling production and sales for Nabisco and Sunshine Biscuits. He’s since retired but now does a food job of a different kind: Jordan drives to three locations around Newport-Mesa to collect leftover food for the Share Our Selves kitchen.

“It’s not something that’s going to serve them the whole week,” Jordan said en route to his first stop.

“It’s supplemental food. A lot of them are on food stamps and get most of their food that way.”

At the same time, Jordan — and Share Our Selves’ other drivers, who make the rounds six days a week — know that every bite counts. The nonprofit gives out about 300 bags of food every day to people who can’t afford to buy it, and Jordan makes a point to refuse nothing.

Not even on a day like Monday. When Jordan arrived at Pavilions in Newport Coast, he found seven shopping carts in back, most of them heaped with hot dog buns. But food was food, and he opened the back of his van and started bagging and boxing.

8:30 a.m.

John Harvey, the dock manager at Pavilions, sets food out for Jordan every Monday about dawn. When bread or pastries near their expiration date but are still edible, the store cleans them out and leaves them in back for Share Our Selves. Monday’s allotment was on the generous side, which is how it’s been for a while.

“We give as much away as we can,” Harvey said as Jordan signed off on the shipment. “It’s probably a little heavier now in terms of donations, because people aren’t buying as much food.”

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