By MICHAEL WHITNEY
Published May 23, 2012
Postal drive boosts stock, but Snohomish still needs help
SNOHOMISH - At the Snohomish Community Food Bank, director Elizabeth Grant doesn’t think the haul from the U.S. Postal Service’s recent food drive is enough to last beyond summer.
“We’ll probably be short by six to seven weeks,” Grant said.
So the food bank will have to get creative to get more food, Grant said.
The annual Postal Service letter carrier’s drive is the big drive that keeps food banks stocked through October. The Snohomish Food Bank got 20,617 pounds of food this May, down 4,500 pounds from last year.
At the same time, the food bank is seeing an increase of 50 families a week above last year’s average. These days, the food bank gets 250 to 300 families a week. Each family gets an average of 75 pounds of food.
The stream of clients is constant, volunteer Jason Schreeder said. He’s been volunteering for a year now.
Regular client Charlotte Easter said she had to leave her job to start kidney dialysis two and a half years ago.
The food bank is a “Godsend,” Easter said. “You just don’t get that many food stamps.”
Client Wanda Munson said the food bank helps her family make ends meet. Munson and her husband both have jobs, but he used to be a real estate agent that earned him a good wage. The Great Recession sucked his income down to nearly nothing, and he recently had to get a minimum-wage job, Munson said.
“Without this, we would not have hung on,” Munson said about the food bank.
Her family has been coming to the food bank for a year now. They’re hanging by a thread to keep their house, she said.
Her husband Steve just found work in a minimum-wage job and is looking for better employment. He’s 69, and many employers won’t hire him because of his age, Munson said.
“It would be a real problem if we had kids in school or living at home,” Munson said. Her children cannot effectively support them, Munson said. They have lives and families to support.
While the postal drive brought in 4,500 pounds less food than last year, Grant said she believes the community will step up.
It always does, she said.
In the holiday drive, the food bank raised 110,000 pounds of food. That amont lasts about a month and a half.
The food bank buys milk, vegetables and meat to offer nutritious food. Grant has a bigger allowance to buy more food now. A vegetable garden should help with the food bank’s needs, Grant said
Sky Valley Food Bank
The postal drive netted the Sky Valley Food Bank in Monroe almost 8,000 pounds of food, up from 7,770 last year. The Tribune wasn’t able to connect with the food bank.
Maltby Food Bank
The Maltby Food Bank in Clearview got a big boost from the postal drive this year. The food bank serves the communities of Clearview and Maltby and the southern parts of Snohomish and Monroe.
This year the postal drive brought 12,033 pounds of food, up from 9,500 pounds of food last year.
The number of clients has stayed even from last year, director Fran Walster said. The small food bank serves about 145 families a week and gives an average of 83 pounds per family.
“I plan this food will get us through the summer,” Walster said.