Monte Food Bowl a big success

A letter to the editor

Food Bowl 2017 has ended and all the people involved deserve a big THANK YOU. It is hard to believe that in two short weeks the students of Montesano collected all that food and cash donations for the Food Bank. What a super group of students. Under the supervision of Anne Ekerson, they coordinated this effort and delivered the proceeds. Without this fundraiser, the Food Bank would not be able to operate at the same level.

We did hit a snag this year when the donated food was held captive in the truck, due to a mechanical failure. The tailgate wouldn’t function so we could not unload the food as planned and we had to abandon Plan A and go to Plan B. Plan A involves having the kids (students) empty the truck and fill up the Food Bank with the donated food items. This year it was roughly 13,000 pounds. The following day, the food is sorted, repacked and stacked back on pallets for storage. We coordinate with Chief Brett Vance to get trustees from the jail and along with a group of food bank volunteers the task gets completed in a matter of hours. A lot of work, but over the years it has been fine-tuned and it’s amazing to see the efficiency. However, this year we went to Plan B and it wasn’t anywhere near as efficient or fine-tuned!

The students collected roughly $30,000 this year. This is the lifeblood of the Food Bank. It allows us the opportunity to purchase the items that we need. We receive a certain amount donated through Northwest Harvest and Coastal Harvest, but we spend an additional $3,000 a month to obtain the needed product. Most of our expenditures are local and many of them provide us with discounts. Thriftway has been very accommodating and even deliver the food to our back door! Jay’s Fruit Stand is another business that works closely with us. (Please keep in mind, Montesano Food Bank has no paid staff. Everyone involved is a volunteer and their time is 100 percent donated.)

Each year I am amazed at the generosity of this community. I am proud to live in a place where neighbors are helping neighbors who are less fortunate. Earlier this year, one gentleman who had lost his job was in and received food for a couple months. Much to our surprise, he returned a few months later and donated $100 after he found a new job. I’ll leave you with that thought.

Thank you again for your donations, be it food, cash or time. Wishing you a great Holiday Season and stay safe and healthy throughout 2018. And a special thank you to Lynn Kiser who retired after heading up the Food Bank for the past 27 years!

Doug Iverson

Food Bank Director