Yesterday’s story, Friday, Nov 4, about the Orting Food Bank and the community feed for the hungry that is occurring this afternoon, Saturday, in Orting Park, has struck a chord in many of the Mountain News readers.
Carol Wright, executive director of the Graham-Kapowsin Community Council wrote today to say that her organization is involved in a similar fashion and is helping feed hungry kids in the Graham area by expanding its Feed the Children program.
This project is a partnership between the G-KCC and the Bethel School District, and the G-KCC places a back-pack filled with groceries in each of eight schools to feed kids over the weekends. A child can take the back-pack home with them on Friday and return it empty on Monday to be re-filled. If not, a fresh back-pack is furnished to the school, complete with a second supply of foodstuffs for children selected by members of the school staff.
Many BSD students receive a large portion of their nutritional requirements at school, Monday through Friday, in the federally funded “free or reduced” lunch program. In addition, some kids also eat breakfast at school before classes.
However, a big question looms over this program: what do these kids eat at home during the weekends? Many organizations are stepping into this vacuum, and the G-KCC began a weekend food program last summer at a few BSD elementary schools.
Now, the GKCC has expanded to eight elementaries: Kapowsin, Graham, Pioneer Valley, Rocky Ridge, Centennial, Roy, North Star and Nelson.
Ms. Wright says that she has received quantizes of food from various organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club and the BSD, which receives some food supplies from larger vendors connected to the nation-wide federal Feed the Children effort.
However, Carol said that most of those foods were of a “supplemental” nature, such as “Power Bars,” and so her group is purchasing additional foods for the back-packs.
“We’re buying protein for the kids, such as peanut butter and meats, like tuna and Vienna sausages,” Carol said, adding, “We’ll give it out until the money runs out.”
Wright said that the G-KCC raised over $1,400 last summer for the food program by selling fresh rhubarb donated by farmer Bruce Lachney of Eatonville. In addition, the G-KCC has received many cash and food donations.
“Fred Meyer is donating the bags, and individuals are giving us food and cash,” Wright said. “It’s a real grass-roots, community effort.”
Those wishing to assist Ms. Wright and her organization can contact her at (253) 279-3071 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
A larger version of this kind of assistance is already under way in Eatonville. Officials of the Eatonville Family Services told the Mountain News that they prepared between 30-40 back-packs of food every week for distribution to students in the Eatonville schools. Again, the children are selected anonymously by school staff, and when the back-packs are returned Monday they are re-filled.
This program has been running in Eatonville for several years and is clearly a model for what may develop in Graham and elsewhere.
The Eatonville Family Services also runs a sizeable food bank in the Community Center, with hours on Monday, Thursday and Friday from 9 am to 11:45 am and then again in the afternoon from 1-2 pm. In addition, the food bank is also open on Wednesday for the same morning hours but is open an extra hour in the afternoon, 1-3 pm.
On Tuesdays, folks in Eatonville can also receive foodstuffs from the Living Word Assembly of God, located at 540 Eatonville Hwy West, from 10 am until 1 pm.
In Graham, a huge food bank is operated on the grounds of the Church of the Holy Disciples at 187th and Meridian.
The Eatonville Family Services also has staff that can assist residents in obtaining food stamps. Over 147,000 residents of Pierce County currently participate in the federal food stamp program and/or also receive food from the over 50 food banks operating throughout the county.
In addition, the Eatonville Food Bank will be distributing chickens and turkeys to its clients for Thanksgiving, all donated by Arrow Lumber.
© 2011 Mountain News – WA