Churches team up for Thanksgiving donations

Volunteers Kathy McAteer, left, along with Kathy and John Malone sort through donated food on Tuesday at Spokane Valley Partners. (Dan Pelle)
Volunteers Kathy McAteer, left, along with Kathy and John Malone sort through donated food on Tuesday at Spokane Valley Partners. (Dan Pelle)

Eight Spokane Valley churches are teaming up to collect money for the Spokane Valley Partners Food Bank to be matched by Thrivent Financial.

In previous years churches have collected turkeys and other food for Thanksgiving, sometimes even having competitions to see who can collect the most, but this year the promise of $1,600 in matching funds from Thrivent was too good to pass up.

So far one church has presented a check for $600. The turkey money, plus food drives in the Central Valley School District, gives food bank director Cheryl Ward confidence that she and her volunteers will have enough to go around during next week’s distribution of Thanksgiving food baskets.

“Things are coming in pretty good,” she said. Central Valley High School just finished a food drive that netted 26,500 pounds of food and the Central Valley middle schools collected 11,890 pounds in their annual Fill the Bus food drive. Ward said her shelves were so bare before those drives that she had to go shopping for essentials like tuna and baby food.

On Tuesday morning volunteers were doing their normal sorting in preparation for the weekly food distribution Wednesday. But they were also surrounded by boxes of mashed potatoes and cases of cranberry sauce for the special distribution next week. Boxes of turkeys were stacked in the freezer and more will arrive on Monday.

Ward, who started work with the food bank in July, has been relying on longtime volunteers to help her through. “This is my first holiday,” she said. “Fortunately these volunteers know what they’re doing.”

Ward said she has enough holiday items but is always looking for staples like peanut butter, boxed macaroni and cheese, canned fruit and tuna. The food bank also accepts donations of travel size personal care items and toilet paper.

Anyone that would like a Thanksgiving basket needs to sign up this week by calling the food bank at (509) 927-1153. Those that do will be given a ticket showing the day and time slot when they need to come pick up their basket.

Ward expects to hand out 1,000 baskets over two days. “If someone is given a time to come in and a turkey tag, there will be a turkey for them,” she said.

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