Demand is high at food banks in Issaquah, statewide

November 23, 2012

By Staff

NEW — 8 a.m. Nov. 23, 2012

Demand is high at food banks across Washington, according to the latest figures from the state Department of Agriculture, and officials urged residents to donate to local food assistance programs.

The figures from the state agency show 1 in 5 Washington residents visited a food bank at least once during the past year. Between June 2011 and June 2012, officials recorded more than 8.6 million visits to food banks statewide — 500,000 more visits than in the previous year, according to the figures collected by the agency’s Food Assistance Program.

“These numbers show that, in the coming holiday season, we can expect that food assistance programs will be stretched to meet the need in many communities,” Director Dan Newhouse said in a statement.

The agency’s Food Assistance Program uses state and federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide food and money to food banks, meal programs and tribal voucher programs in Washington.

The program distributed 474 truckloads of USDA commodity foods to more than 1.4 million families. Overall, the program distributed 134 million pounds of food — 4 million more pounds than in 2011.

“My hope is that new partnerships we’ve formed with ranchers and dairy farmers, as well as farmers producing a variety of fruits and vegetables, will help to fill this need and that others will also step up their efforts to help the hungry among us,” Newhouse continued.

The holiday season often focuses attention on the need at the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank.

The food bank needs dry or canned beans, peanut butter, canned tuna, beef stew, soups, canned nuts, dried fruits, juices, spaghetti sauce, pasta, rice, macaroni and cheese mix, oatmeal, breakfast cereal and spices for the food banks’ pantries.

The nonprofit organization also needs to collect baby food and formula, diapers, shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrushes, tissues, laundry soup, cleaning products, socks, underwear, rain gear, tarps and tents.

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