Churches unite for monthlong food drive

September 28, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

Parishioners from several Issaquah churches mobilized Sept. 25 to collect donations for the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank before the onset of the busy holiday season.

The push is part of the Eastside’s Month of Concern for the Hungry, a regional drive to encourage businesses, community leaders, faith-based organizations, hospitals, neighborhood associations and schools to host food drives and fundraisers.

“Staying warm and well-fed when the weather outside starts to turn is important,” the Rev. Mark Miller, pastor at Mountain Creek Christian Fellowship, said last week.

Parishioners gathered Sept. 25 at the entrances to four Issaquah stores. Expect to see the food drive participants at the stores on Saturdays through Oct. 23 — except for Oct. 2, the opening day of the Salmon Days Festival.

Parishioners distribute shopping lists to shoppers to encourage them to pick up staple items for the food pantry. Shoppers then drop off the purchases at the store. The organizers collect and donate the food.

The shopping lists also include a space for shoppers to tally the amount spent on donations for income tax purposes.

“The stores love it, because we’re asking people to go in and spend extra money,” Miller said.

The onset of fall and the approaching holiday season stretch the pantry. Donors provide everyday staples, plus the fixings for holiday meals.

Miller said the demand at the Issaquah food pantry had increased as the sour economy turned former food bank donors and volunteers into clients.

Numerous Issaquah churches joined together last year in a first-time effort to fill the food pantry. The drive hauled in 15,898 pounds of food for the food bank — more donations per capita than the other cities in the 2009 drive, Mayor Ava Frisinger said Sept. 20. The mayor proclaimed October as Eastside’s Month of Concern for the Hungry in Issaquah.

Overall, Eastside residents donated more than 77,000 pounds of food to regional food banks during the drive.

In addition to the Issaquah food drive, similar efforts launched Sept. 25 in Sammamish, Bellevue, Kirkland, Mercer Island and Redmond.

Hopelink, a regional human services nonprofit organization and a food drive participant, served 14 percent more households at six Eastside food banks last year.

Glen Miller, communications manager for Redmond-based Hopelink, said the results of the 2009 food drive reflected the generous nature of Eastside residents.

“People live in a community where people care about each other,” he said.

How to help

Look for food drive participants at the following locations from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturdays through Oct. 23, except for Oct. 2:

  • Fred Meyer, 6100 E. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E.
  • Front Street Market, 80 Front St. S.
  • QFC, 1540 N.W. Gilman Blvd.
  • QFC, 4570 Klahanie Drive S.E.
  • Safeway, 735 N.W. Gilman Blvd.

The most-needed items at the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank include:

  • Canned fruit
  • Canned beans
  • Canned meat and tuna
  • Canned spaghetti sauce
  • Canned soup
  • Canned stew and chili
  • Canned vegetables
  • Cereal
  • Dry pasta
  • Envelopes of powdered milk
  • Fruit juice
  • Jars of baby food (first and second foods only)
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Nutrition shakes
  • Peanut butter
  • Rice
  • Vegetable oil

On the Web

Find more Eastside’s Month of Concern donation sites here.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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