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Monday, October 19, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Rotary Club donates corn, funds to food bank after booth at Spokane County Fair canceled

Greater Spokane Rotary Club members, left to right, Daryl Skomer, Chris Baca and Tom Markson wait Wednesday in the parking lot of Darcy’s restaurant in Spokane Valley for members to buy fresh-picked corn intended for their food booth at the now-canceled Spokane Interstate Fair.  (Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Greater Spokane Rotary Club members, left to right, Daryl Skomer, Chris Baca and Tom Markson wait Wednesday in the parking lot of Darcy’s restaurant in Spokane Valley for members to buy fresh-picked corn intended for their food booth at the now-canceled Spokane Interstate Fair. (Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Members of the Greater Spokane Valley Rotary Club normally would be spending the middle of September together in a booth, selling hundreds of turkey legs and corn on the cob at the Spokane County Interstate Fair.

When the event was moved mostly online, the group decided not to cancel the thousands of ears of corn they had ordered from a local farmer in hopes that the donations could be used to support a local food bank instead.

Kyle Molte, President of the Greater Spokane Valley Rotary Club said the club ordered 4,800 ears of corn for their booth just before the fair was moved mostly online. The club had a window to cancel their order but decided against it, thinking they would find a different way to use the corn they ordered to help the community.

He said they considered a booth at Spokane County’s fair food drive thru but worried they could be exposing themselves and the community to the coronavirus. They decided to work directly with the food bank they hoped to support, Spokane Valley Partners.

The club decided to sell about half of the corn to the club’s 30 members, who have been keeping it for themselves, or donating it to other food banks, firefighters and those who have been displaced by the recent wildfires. The funds from the corn sales will be presented to Spokane Valley Partners on Friday, along with the remaining corn.

Molte said the group has been giving the food bank corn over the past few weeks as it has been harvested, and estimates about half of the 4,800 ears they purchased will end up at the food bank.

“We’re trying to give them as much (corn) as they can use and turn the rest into money, and then give them the money,” he said.

Molte said he and other members of the Rotary Club were concerned that families may be short on food and facing housing insecurity because the high number of layoffs and other issues caused by the virus. Just before the pandemic, the group donated $10,000 to the organization. After the pandemic began, the club donated another $4,000, which an anonymous donor matched.

“We try to take care for Spokane Valley partners the best we can,” he said.

Though this year did not go according to plan, Molte said the Greater Spokane Valley Rotary Club will be back at the fair next year with turkey legs, mashed potatoes and plenty of corn on the cob.

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