Garden club delivers 1/3 ton of donations to food bank

October 28, 2008

By David Hayes

Cate Mueller (left) photographs Issaquah Garden Club members Oct. 22 for their club newsletter with their donation to the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank. Joan Fields, Gail Holmstrom, Dianne Tanner and Karen Lee pose with food bank director Cherie Meier with their 663 pounds of food. Photo by  Greg FarrarCate Mueller (left) photographs Issaquah Garden Club members Oct. 22 for their club newsletter with their donation to the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank. Joan Fields, Gail Holmstrom, Dianne Tanner and Karen Lee pose with food bank director Cherie Meier with their 663 pounds of food. Photo by Greg Farrar 

For the past 80 years, members of the Issaquah Garden Club have found a cause to help segments within the community. This year, they’ve discovered the number in need growing due to the economic downturn. So, members have turned the attentions of their Operation Helping Hands to the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank, which has unfortunately seen an increase in its clientele.

“They’ve signed up 70 new families in just the last month,” said Dianne Tanner, co-organizer of Helping Hands. “We’ve not had a good economy in a while.”

Compound that, Tanner added, with Operation Emergency closing its charitable doors in Seattle. She estimated that’s another 800 families no longer getting the essentials they need, some of those serviced by the Garden Club in the North end of Renton.

So, last week, the Garden Club pooled the monies it raised during a plant sale in May, purchased $1,000 in goods from area stores and delivered more than 600 pounds of much-needed merchandise to the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank. The food bank had been experiencing a shortage of many items, and many Garden Club members felt Operation Helping Hands was the perfect solution to meet those needs.

“There are so many people who can’t afford to have good things,” said Gail Holmstrom, who just joined the club, but felt strong enough about the project that she volunteered to help organize it. “Hopefully, this will help a little bit. Then, who knows? Maybe other organizations will help do the same.”

Among the items the club delivered from the back of a pickup truck were 835 diapers, 20 canisters of formula and other needs on the food bank’s list, including pinto beans, rice, instant oatmeal, fruit snacks and juice boxes.

“Stuff like those snack crackers are just stuff they don’t get in,” Tanner said.

Food bank Director Cherie Meier said the 663 pounds of items the Garden Club donated is a pretty good-sized delivery for a club its size. 

“It’s wonderful,” she said. “We’re really lucky to have a community organization dedicated to this kind of cause.” 

Reach Reporter David Hayes at 392-6434, ext. 237, or dhayes@isspress.com.

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