Des Moines still needs its food bank

Keeping the Faith - Faith Elder



It's the holiday season, a time for more giving and more eat- ing. As everyone seems to be picking out another turkey and baking cookies, it can also be a reminder of the needs of our community. For many, there isn't enough food to feast.

Across the state, one in eight Washingtonians does not get enough food to meet their nu- tritional needs. Most of those whose needs aren't being met are children and the elderly. And here in South King County, higher levels of poverty means a greater need for help.

Since 1966, the Des Moines Area Food Bank has seen this need and worked to put food on the table for thousands of fami- lies. Every month, 900 to 1,000 clients receive help from the food bank, getting between 10 and 12 days' worth of food per family member. The food bank also runs the Weekend Back- pack program, which provides kids with food over weekends, and free cooking classes.

Beyond numbers, anyone who visits the Des Moines Area Food Bank can see the work being done, and how that work improves lives every day.

In the basement of Des Moines United Methodist Church, people of all ages line up in a noisy hall, waiting to pick out their food. Some peo- ple can wait for up to half an hour, so old church pews are set up to let people sit while they wait. Parents try to wrangle their children, who play on the floor. Volunteers welcome ev- eryone, making sure everyone gets what they need.

Around a corner, two rooms are packed with shelves of non-perishable food, fridges filled with eggs and dairy, and cases of fruit and vegetables. Throughout the day, flats of food are delivered from local businesses and grocery stores. The fresh food is too close to the pull date to be sold in store but is still safe to eat, so is rescued by volunteers.

And so it goes, every Mon- day, Wednesday, and Friday, except for special holidays. People leave with carts pilled with food, welcome to come back every month for as long as they need. Over the month, the food bank hands out more than 110,000 pounds of food.

While the work being done by the Des Moines Area Food

Band is helping the community, it still needs support. Without donations and volunteers, this service can't be provided and people will probably go hungry. Without continued support, there won't be a continued suc- cess.

One way to support the Des Moines Area Food Bank is to volunteer. With the high de- mand and quantity of food be- ing processed, there is always something that needs doing. For more information on how to volunteer at the Des Moines Area Food Bank, visit http:// www.myfoodbank.org/volun- teer.html.

Besides giving time through volunteering, donate. In the holiday spirit, consider giving the gift of a meal. Non-per- ishable and canned food, plus nonfood items suck as diapers and formula, can be delivered to the food bank from 8:30 a.m. to noon every weekday. The Des Moines Area Food Bank also accepts monetary dona- tions either in person at the same times, or online at https:// www.paypal.com/fundrais- er/110230052184687338/chari- ty/20324.

This year, instead of simply wishing for peace on earth, give the gifts that can feed the com- munity. While we want every- one to get the food they need, it is going to require our work and support to make that happen.

Faith Elder is opinion editor for the Thunderword.

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