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Arlington food bank sees record turnout

ARLINGTON — The Arlington Community Food Bank served a record-breaking number of families during its annual holiday food basket handout Dec. 22.

Approximately 355 baskets were distributed to families at the food bank during the seven-hour handout session. Each family received one basket.

“This was our largest handout we’ve ever done in terms of the amount of folks we’ve had,” said Cindy Moe, Board member of the food bank. “Typically we serve about 300 families, and our average family size that we serve is four.”

An additional 100 families were adopted out from the food bank to the Rotary Club of Arlington and other service clubs, churches and private residences, Moe said.

Volunteers began putting the food baskets together on Sunday, Dec. 20, and had 165 baskets by the end of the day. On Tuesday, volunteers spent three hours making more, Moe said, and additional baskets were compiled throughout the day.

Each basket contained essential supplies, such as flour sugar, butter, condiments and bread. Each family also received a $10 gift card for meat, a turkey, cranberry sauce and cake and muffin mix for a holiday meal.

Baskets were distributed 1-8 p.m. to residents who lived within the Arlington School District.

“Anyone who came in could have one as long as they lived here,” Moe said.

Between 20-25 volunteers were on hand at the food bank throughout the day sorting supplies and carrying baskets to residents’ cars, as well as other tasks.

As the sun went down Tuesday, volunteers Korene Thomas and Shirley McLane were busy inside the food bank wrapping up food items into baskets. The women had been at the food bank since that morning.

Outside, siblings Natasha and Josh Katanik — 15 and 19 — sorted through large boxes of eggs, onions and apples.

“We couldn’t do it without the volunteers,” Moe said. “Four times the amount of volunteers are used during Thanksgiving and Christmas handouts. We also deliver the food to shut-ins.”

The Arlington Community Food Bank offers handouts for eligible residents each Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. and Friday from 1-2 p.m.

The food bank is currently planning to build a new facility near the Arlington Municipal Airport next year to accommodate its greater need, Moe said.

For more information about the food bank, which is located at 127 W. Cox Avenue, call 360-435-1631.

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