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Arlington Food Bank moves to temporary facility | SLIDESHOW

ARLINGTON — Those in need in the local community will find familiar helping hands at a new location, as the Arlington Community Food Bank opened its doors for the first time at the Arlington Municipal Airport on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

Arlington Community Food Bank Board President Sharon Moon estimated that more than two dozen volunteers moved close to 10 tons of food from their former facility at 137 N. Cox Ave. to their new home, albeit a temporary one, at 18810 59th Dr. NE.

“We went from 1,800 square feet to 2,100 square feet,” Moon said. “It feels like more, though, because it’s more open and it’s all on one level here. Before, we were always having to go up or down a step or two between rooms. With one big area here, though, we can arrange everything in a much more efficient manner.”

The move kicked off after 3 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2, and continued into the weekend, as volunteers not only loaded and unloaded three trucks full of food, but also broke down and rebuilt shelving and other equipment. Although their lease is less expensive, they’re now paying for utilities at the same time that they continue to raise funds for their capital campaign.

“We’re hoping to use this place as a trial run for the new building that we’ll build,” Moon said. After the first of the new year, we’ll be allowing our clients to pick out their own food items. For now, we sort out all the food items and hand them out to our clients, but many of our volunteers are senior citizens, and those boxes aren’t light to lift. This should help us work out the kinks in that delivery system.”

Efficient distribution is an especially pressing concern during the holidays, with the food bank’s average of 35-50 families served per night often increasing dramatically from October through February.

“Last Friday, we served 74 families,” Moon said on Tuesday, Dec. 6. “That number has gone as high as 97 in a single day, and the average family includes four individuals.”

As volunteers organized the boxes, shelves and palettes of food in time for their first night of customers at the Arlington Airport, they reflected on their time with the food bank and their reasons for getting involved in the first place.

“I like the new place,” said Melania Baublitz, a 9-year food bank volunteer who was inspired to take part by her mother. “The other place was so small, but this fits what we need. I always wanted to help people and give back to the community.”

“This is my fourth move with the food bank,” said Bill Robison, a former 33-year employee of the U.S. Postal Service who’s volunteered at the food bank for 25 years since his retirement. “This is the biggest place we’ve been in, though. I like helping people too, plus I need to keep active and busy in my retirement.”

The food bank’s Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets are augmented from the non-holiday average of 60 pounds per family to 80 pounds. Volunteers handed out 300 Thanksgiving baskets, and will be open from 1-7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 22, to distribute Christmas baskets.

The Arlington Community Food Bank’s regular hours of service are from 6-7 p.m. on Tuesdays and from 1-2 p.m. on Fridays. For More information, call 360-435-1631.

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Arlington food bank moves to airport, gets ready for Christmas

 

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