‘Speed’ food drive helps Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank at right time

February 21, 2012

By Tom Corrigan

The challenge was to see how many nonperishable food items could be gathered in one week.

In the end, students, families and staff members of Pacific Cascade Middle School rose to the occasion, said Tanya Hansen, food drive chairwoman. There was some concern the drive was going to stumble a bit, admitted Hansen and teacher Stan Kasemeier.

As of Feb. 13, one day before the end of the drive, the amount of food gathered was just not what they were hoping.

They need not have worried. Hansen said a surprising 1,100 items came in the last day.

“The kids really came through,” she added.

The drive brought in roughly 1,700 items that were packed into 76 boxes that weighed 1,601 pounds. Kasemeier’s leadership class helped promote the drive and on Feb. 14, helped load and unload Hansen’s pickup truck. After the work was finished, Hansen noted the unloading took place amid some nasty hail.

“As the leadership class, we work with the community a lot,” said Olivia Glasgow, 13.

This year’s Cascade total didn’t quite match the total of last’s drive, which reached approximately 1,900 pounds. But Hansen still called the drive a decided success. And in any case, the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank welcomed the assistance.

“My understanding is the food banks are screaming for donations,” Kasemeier said.

Charitable donations usually drop after the winter holidays, he added. Kasemeier is correct, according to Cori Kauk, food bank executive director.

“Our individual food and cash donations do spike during November and December,” she said.

During those months, people are assessing what they have and are willing to help those less fortunate, Kauk said she believes. Spring and summer also often suffer from a lack of donations, she said.

In order to try to spur donations during traditionally slower months, the Issaquah charity focuses on letting the community know the food bank is still there and still needs donations.

“We try to get into the public mind as much as possible,” Kauk said.

The food bank is trying to make a bigger splash in electronic media, keeping their website up to date and launching a Facebook page.

In another vein, in October, the food bank and other local institutions launched the Issaquah Nurturing Network, an attempt to bring various groups together for mutual benefit.

“Some just amazing relationships have been built,” Kauk said.

Learn about what the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank needs at http://issaquahfoodbank.org.

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