Annual Community Food Drive begins Oct. 12

The Bellingham Business Journal

The 15th-annual Community Food Drive – the largest in Whatcom County – seeks to address rapidly increasing requests for assistance at local food banks and is again trying to reach a goal of 200,000 pounds of food.

Donations may be made starting Monday, Oct. 12 and continuing through Friday, Oct. 16 at all Industrial Credit Union branches and Haggen stores in Whatcom County. The Community Food Drive, which has provided more than 1 million pounds of food to people in need during its history, also is sponsored by Bellingham radio stations KGMI, KPUG, KBAI, KAFE and KISM.

Food banks in Whatcom County are now receiving approximately 20,000 visits per month and distributing an average of 330,000 pounds of food each month, according to Mike Cohen, executive director of the Bellingham Food Bank. At this pace, more than 4 million pounds of food will be distributed this year by county food banks. Also, more than half of the people assisted by the county’s food banks are either children (younger than 18) or senior citizens (55 and older).

Donations will be distributed among the following organizations: Bellingham Food Bank, Blaine Food Bank, Everson-Nooksack Food Bank, Ferndale Food Bank, Foothills Food Bank, Lummi Tribal Food Bank, Nooksack Tribal Food Bank, Point Roberts Food Bank, Project Hope (Lynden) and Salvation Army (Bellingham).

“We just barely met the goal last year with 200,565 pounds. While the recession has affected nearly everyone since then, the rise in unemployment has meant our local food banks are supporting more people,” said Matt Vance of Industrial Credit Union. “However, Whatcom County residents and businesses have responded generously in the past and we’re hopeful that will continue. We encourage everyone to consider a donation of food or cash. Donations of any amount will be much appreciated.”

Food banks are seeking canned protein, canned fruit and any other non-perishable food items, pet food, diapers, toothpaste, laundry soap and shampoo. Some perishable items such as potatoes and apples can be accepted. To make large donations of perishable items, please call Industrial Credit Union at 734-2043. Donors also may purchase pre-stuffed bags of groceries at Haggen stores for $5 apiece.

Donations of cash will be accepted at Haggen stores when food drive tables are manned (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and at ICU branches. They also may be made online at Cash contributions enable food banks to purchase items where donations haven’t kept pace with the need. Checks should be made payable to Community Food Drive. Cash donations are tax-deductible.

“The impact of cash donations is multiplied by our bulk purchasing power and our ability to access warehouses that offer discounts to food banks,” Cohen said.

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