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Arlington Community Food Bank serves holiday cheer to families | SLIDESHOW
ARLINGTON — The Arlington Community Food Bank’s first Christmas basket distribution at its new location met expectations and exceeded last year’s demand, according to food bank volunteers who served an estimated 400 families or more on Thursday, Dec. 22.
“That’s what we planned for and it looks like we’ll meet those plans,” said Barbara Wood, a data entry specialist and board member for the Arlington Community Food Bank. “We had an additional 100 family food boxes ‘adopted’ by a number of individuals and agencies, including Rotary, which donates a lot to us each year.”
The Angel of the Winds Casino followed its donation of turkeys to the food bank for Thanksgiving by dropping off 80 hams while food bank volunteers distributed Christmas baskets on the afternoon of Dec. 22.
“They’re always so generous,” Wood said. “We’ve also got about 20 area churches that have donated stuffing mix, cornmeal mix, celery, carrots, apples and other fruits and vegetables.”
For the rest of their supplies the Arlington Community Food Bank works with buying services used by other food banks, that allow them to buy food and other supplies in bulk much cheaper than what regular customers would pay.
“That’s why money is one of the best donations we can get,” Wood said. “We can get the basics without spending as much money as individuals would have to.”
These finances and supplies are much needed since the Arlington Community Food Bank is serving more clients all the time. Last year’s holiday food basket distributions served only 325-350 families each, whereas this year, even non-holiday distribution days have attracted between 75-90 families each.
“We know it’s tough out there,” Wood said on Dec. 22. “By tonight, all these boxes of food will be cleared out.”
Cindy Moe, treasurer and fellow board member of the Arlington Community Food Bank, praised the food bank’s temporary new location at the Arlington Municipal Airport for allowing them to gather all their food items for distribution in one area, rather than storing them in separate rooms due to a lack of space.
“It’s a safe environment,” Moe said. “We can even park our delivery truck inside of the facility, to prevent it from being vandalized like it has been in the past.”
Moe noted that the food bank’s new location is even on the bus line, although she added that she’d like to see those bus routes’ hours changed to make them more convenient for the food bank’s clients.
In downtown Arlington, food bank clients with children were once again able to shop at the Arlington American Legion “Toys for Kids” event that same afternoon.
Arlington Legion Lounge Manager Debbie Jackson explained that this year’s fundraising activities yielded $16,000, which was then augmented with another $5,000 worth of toys from other donors, plus contributions from the Arlington Fire Department and the Helping Hands thrift store, the latter of which chipped in $500.
“The Kmart in Marysville even let 20 of our shoppers come in at 6 a.m. one day, and local Boys Scout Troop 92 carried our purchases out to our cars for us.”
Not only did “Toys for Kids” have close to 1,100 toy items available for food bank families, but it’s already raised $2,000 toward next year.