The rising requests for assistance at food banks throughout Whatcom County have led the 17th annual Community Food Drive to increase its goal to 250,000 pounds of food.
Food donations may be made starting Saturday, Oct. 15 and continuing through Sunday, Oct. 23 at all Haggen stores in Whatcom County. Industrial Credit Union branches throughout the county will be accepting donations Oct. 17-21.
Donations will be distributed among food banks in Bellingham, Blaine, Deming, Everson, Ferndale, Lummi Reservation, Lynden, Sumas and Van Zandt.
The Community Food Drive surpassed its goal of 200,000 pounds of food the last three years, bringing the drive’s cumulative total to approximately 1.5 million pounds. But the number of people visiting a Whatcom County food bank each month rose to 24,000 last year, leading organizers to increase their goal this year.
Food banks in Whatcom County are now distributing an average of 500,000 pounds of food each month, the equivalent of 12 fully loaded semi-truck trailers, said Mike Cohen, executive director of the Bellingham Food Bank. Also, 44 percent of food bank recipients have at least one family member working.
A new part of the event this year is a fundraising breakfast presented by Blaine-based Nature’s Path. Donations will be accepted during an all-organic breakfast offered from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15 in the Meridian Haggen parking lot in Bellingham.
Food banks are seeking canned protein, canned fruit and any other non-perishable food items, pet food, diapers, toothpaste, laundry soap and shampoo. To make large donations of perishable items, please call Industrial Credit Union at (360) 734-2043.
Donors also may purchase pre-stuffed bags of groceries (macaroni and cheese, tuna, applesauce, chili, green beans and pinto beans) for $5 apiece at Haggen stores in Bellingham and Ferndale.
Donations of cash may be made at Haggen stores and ICU branches. They also may be made online at www.communityfooddrive.com. Cash contributions enable food banks to buy products in bulk from warehouses that offer discounts to them. Checks should be made payable to Community Food Drive. Cash donations are tax-deductible.