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Pilots land 1,000 lbs. of food at pantry’s doorstep

Pilots land 1,000 lbs. of food at pantry’s doorstep

Flying Tigers chapter of Experimental Aircraft Association give “Flights for Food” event benefiting Woodlake Food Pantry

@TheSunGazette

WOODLAKE – Over 1,000 pounds of food landed on the doorstep of the Woodlake Food Pantry earlier this month thanks to a group of local pilots giving kids a birds eye view of their hometown.

The Woodlake Chapter 1292 of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), known as the Woodlake Flying Tigers, raised the food donation during its “Food for Flights” event on Saturday, Oct. 5 at the Woodlake Airport. Each person over the age of 8 who donated a bag of non-perishable food was offered a free flight in one of the private planes taking off and landing at the airport. More than 100 people generously contributed to the cause, resulting in 92 participants going up for a flight and 1,010 pounds of food being delivered to the Woodlake Food Pantry.

“The members of this chapter have discussed different ways to give back to the community while sharing their love of aviation,” stated Michele Cruz, a volunteer for the chapter. “As the end of the year approaches, the members felt this was a great way to start off the holiday season.”

The Flying Tigers would like to express their gratitude to the volunteers that make these events possible, partners from the Porterville EAA Chapter, and the pilots that donated their time, aircraft, and fuel. The Flying Tigers would also like to thank the organizations that helped support the event: The Runway Cafe, Benson Aviation, Hal Crumly Inc., American Inc., and the City of Woodlake.

This was the second such event for the Flying Tigers outside of their annual Young Eagles event held each May. “Food for Flights” is part of the EAA’s Young Eagles Program, which teaches children and teens about aviation by giving them the experience of riding in a plane. The EAA Young Eagles program was launched in 1992 to give interested young people an opportunity to go flying in a general aviation airplane. These flights are offered free of charge and are made possible through the generosity of EAA member volunteers.

Since 1992, more than 1.25 million Young Eagles have enjoyed a flight through the program. Young Eagles have been registered in more than 90 different countries and have been flown by nearly 40,000 volunteer pilots. For more information, call Ray Phillipson at 798-0717 or at 559-798-1868, or Chris Crumley at 805-9221 or go to www.youngeagles.org/programs. Anyone interested in joining the Flying Tigers is welcome, and they do not have to be a pilot.

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