Voices

Appetite for sharing

Spokane Valley Partners gears up to distribute 40-pound holiday food baskets to those in need

The holidays are always a time to count our blessings and give to those most in need. A nice meal on Thanksgiving and Christmas can help families in need celebrate the season just like everyone else.

The food bank at Spokane Valley Partners Food Bank, one of the many organizations housed under the roof at 10814 E. Broadway Ave., is busy gearing up for special distributions of food baskets for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“Everything from the green beans to the pumpkin pie,” said Connie Nelson, food bank director. With help from Northwest Harvest, Second Harvest and many other donors, the food bank is able to make the food baskets for its clients on top of their regular food distributions. Nelson said they should distribute 650 turkeys on Nov. 22 and another 650 turkeys on Nov. 23.

Low-income Valley residents are served through the food bank. Residents can register during its distribution hours on Wednesdays and by appointment on Thursdays. They must bring in proof of residence, and be able to prove who else lives in the residence – usually with a Medicaid card or a school registration form for children. Nelson said the clients can receive food the same day they apply, since it doesn’t take long to process the clients. In order to receive a food basket for Thanksgiving, clients need to sign up by Wednesday.

Not only will they receive regular packages on food on Wednesdays, but the residents will receive a 40-pound food basket for the holidays.

“Do not plan on walking home with this,” Nelson said.

Along with food donations, Nelson said, the food bank is in need of personal hygiene products. Food stamps can’t be used for shampoos or toothpaste. They also can’t be used for cleaning products. Nelson is asking anyone who wants to clean out their medicine cabinets to see if they have any travel-size soaps, shampoos or conditioners.

She is also looking for shopping carts. The organization is down to just 14 of these for their clients to use. She hopes local stores will donate any of their old carts they are no longer using.

“I need about two dozen,” she said.

There is also the need for hard-orking volunteers. Right now, volunteers do everything from interviewing clients to stocking the shelves to picking up food rescue items from local grocery stores.

“We want to make sure we have plenty of volunteers,” Nelson said.

The food bank gets about 40 percent of its food from Second Harvest. It also has been working with Northwest Harvest, which recently provided a loaner truck to haul food. Local schools have been holding food drives and Nelson said they have been fortunate to have that truck and two drivers to help get the donated items to the food bank.

And while they have the use of that truck, Spokane Valley Partners CEO Ken Briggs said the organization hopes to raise funds for its own van. Many volunteers have small cars and can’t fit it all into them.

Until the holiday food distribution begins, volunteers and workers are busy sorting and stocking items into its warehouse, getting ready for their busiest time of the year.

“It’s chaos right now,” Briggs said.



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