Boy, 7, delivers donation to Manna program from ‘Chippin’ project

When Bryan Gardner decided to offer to chip people’s Christmas trees for $5 donations to charity, his 7-year-old son Gavin got interested.

Bryan and Ali Gardner are the third-generation owners of Santiam Spray Service, founded by Ali’s grandparents Stan and Donna Ego more than 40 years ago.

“As a local company we try to give back to the community as much as we can,” Bryan said. “We’ve got the equipment. We can do this.”

Gavin got involved right away, helping to load the trees for chipping.

“We asked Gavin what he wanted to do with the money,” said Ali, a schoolteacher. “He mentioned Manna and he lit up. That was definitely his preference.”

He even came up with a name for their effort, “Chippin’ for Charity.”

The Manna program serves free hot meals on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the Sweet Home United Methodist Church at 845 6th Ave., where Donna Ego is a member.

Friday evening, Jan. 9, Gavin showed up with his family in tow to deliver a check for $282 to Manna volunteer Pat Corbi in the bustling kitchen, as elderly residents and others enjoyed the meal in the crowded fellowship hall.

Bryan Gardner said he plans to beef things up next year.

“It was mostly word-of-mouth within the church,” he said of this year’s project. “Next year I’d like to do more.”

“We have big plans,” Ali added.