ARLINGTON — The Arlington Community Food Bank benefitted from a larger-than-expected holiday donation from the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians this year, which presented $100,000 each to not only the Arlington Community Food Bank, but also the Stanwood/Camano Food Bank and Northwest Harvest on Dec. 7.
"We as a tribe have been blessed, and want to help our community members in their time of need," said Shawn Yanity, chair of the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians. "We would really like to challenge those in the community to give this season, and we look at these donations as a way to jumpstart the giving process."
The Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians typically dispenses more than 400 turkeys each Thanksgiving, with a roughly matching number of hams in December, through the Angel of the Winds Casino to local food banks and other organizations that help the needy during the holidays. This year, the Stillaguamish Tribe was approached by the Arlington Community Food Bank, asking for a $7,500 donation. The Tribal Council responded by choosing to exceed this request by more than 1,200 percent, as well as by including the Stanwood/Camano Food Bank and Northwest Harvest in their donations, as other avenues to reach out to the less fortunate in the community.
"We went to pick up a check for what we thought would be $7,500 on Saturday morning, and were presented with $100,000," said Amy Butchart, of the Arlington Community Food Bank. "This donation comes at a crucial time for the Food Bank. We've been running extremely low on our stock of food for the community, and haven't had the funds needed to supplement the community's donations. As a result, we've had to give out less food so far this holiday season."
"Our shelves have never been as bare as they are right now," said Cindy Reece, treasurer of the Arlington Community Food Bank. "This will make a huge impact to our community."
This donation comes in time to help support the Arlington Community Food Bank's Christmas meal basket distribution to an estimated 1,000 clients on Dec. 20.
"We are grateful to the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians for this tremendous gift," said Sue Keezer, president of the Arlington Community Food Bank. "It will literally help us feed thousands of people at a time of great need. We sincerely thank them for their generosity and commitment to making our community a better place."
According to Butchart, the Arlington Community Food Bank is on track to complete the construction of its new facilities by the end of January, and the funds from the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians will help finish that project.
"In fact, along the way in the building process, we've had to remove some things from the project, due to lack of funding, that we can now add back in," Butchart said.