Arlington, Darrington food banks benefit from 'Helping Hands, Linking Arms'

Volunteer Jean Ingalls sorts out frozen foods at the Arlington Community Food Bank. - Kirk Boxleitner
Volunteer Jean Ingalls sorts out frozen foods at the Arlington Community Food Bank.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — The second annual "Helping Hands, Linking Arms" week of service in remembrance of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, will once again be benefitting the Arlington, Darrington and Oso food banks.

From Monday, Sept. 10, through Saturday, Sept. 15, donations may be dropped off at the 2 Bits & More, Advanced Orthopedic Institute, Balderas Insurance Agency, Bank of America, Britt Sport Cards, Cascade Surveying and Engineering, Cascade Valley Hospital, Chase Bank, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Columbia Bank, Co-Op Supply, Denton Massage School & Wellness Clinic, Food Pavilion, Fun Zone Daycare, Gleneagle Golf Club, Haggen Food & Pharmacy, Key Bank, Farmers Insurance, Kulits Orthodontics, Li'l Thrift, Mirkwood & Shire Cafe, Mountain Loop Books & Coffee, Rex's Rentals, Safeway and Skagit State Bank locations in Arlington and Darrington.

Arlington Family Medicine, the Arlington Library, Arlington Velo Sport, Arlington Vision Therapy, the Darrington Family Resource and Support Center, and the Darrington IGA will also serve as collection sites.

Last year, the multi-community food drive in Arlington, Darrington, Marysville, Stanwood and Camano Island brought in 23,590 pounds of food and $1,200 in monetary donations.

"It's fun to be a part of worthwhile projects that really do make a difference in the lives of others," said Dawn Dickson, a registered nurse at Cascade Valley Hospital, who's coordinated with food drive teams in all five communities over the past few months. She noted that the Arlington Community Food Bank has ample storage space to fill.

Leslie Moss, a mother of four and part-time substitute teacher for the Arlington School District, is participating in the project for the first time this year.

"I think the group effort makes everyone realize how truly blessed we are, and that things aren't as bad as they were 80 years ago during the depression," Moss said. "However, with our newfound gratitude for our meager means, most people are still willing to reach further to give. It's humbling to see."

Among the canned food items in demand at area food banks are vegetables, milk, beans, tuna, chicken, pasta sauce, cranberry sauce, stew, chili, soup, fruit juice, pasta, Crisco, SpaghettiOs, vegetable oil and canola oil. Among the boxed or packaged food items requested by local food banks are peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, cereal, Rice-A-Roni, oatmeal, dry pasta, macaroni and cheese, syrup, pancake mix and stuffing mix.

Client families of those food banks are also running short on diapers, wipes, diaper cream, baby shampoo, baby food, baby cereal, formula and toddler snacks. Donations of toilet paper, laundry detergent, shaving cream, feminine hygiene products, razors, toothpaste, bar soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes and deodorant are likewise useful and appreciated.

David Flake of Camano Island, a spokesperson for the "Helping Hands, Linking Arms" committee, predicted that this year's campaign will exceed last year's totals, as more community members become aware of the opportunity to work together to alleviate hunger.

"The hope is to have participation from all areas of the community, including churches, businesses, service groups, government entities and individuals," Flake said. "Last year, we were thrilled to have so many people from those different organizations step forward and take leadership roles. The successes that we experienced were only made possible by the united efforts of those great community partners."

The Arlington Community Food Bank is located at 18810 59th Dr. NE, on the east side of the Arlington Municipal Airport, and may be called at 360-435-1631.

Those interested in taking part in this year's "Helping Hands, Linking Arms" food drive may call Donny Wilcox at 425-931-2275, about volunteer opportunities ranging from collecting food to assisting with the official weigh-ins.

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