Who is new Snohomish food bank director?
Michael Whitney photo
Snohomish Community Food Bank director Ashleigh Cruze stands for a photo in front of the fresh citrus bins of the food bank Tuesday, Jan. 22.
SNOHOMISH — Ashleigh Cruze is new to the Snohomish Community Food Bank, but not to Snohomish.
The 2001 Snohomish High graduate took over as the food bank’s director Nov. 27.
“It’s big shoes to fill,” she said to a visitor. Cruze succeeds longtime director Elizabeth Durand, who stepped away after 14 years to pursue the science of forensic genealogy used for crime-solving.
Cruze comes experienced in finding grants and fundraising. Her past job was being the director of the Mukilteo Schools Foundation.
She’d like to raise the food bank’s profile in the community. There are ideas to host a public event or two this year, she said in an interview last week.
Food banks are meant to give supplemental assistance in filling pantries.
But with inflation, people take home between $100 to $200 in groceries.
The food bank mimics the shopping experience. People grab a cart and select items to take home.
On Tuesday last week, the lobby was full and the line of shoppers poured out the door before shopping started at 3 p.m. The food bank also is open for service on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cruze said she went for the role not just because she’s from Snohomish but because the food bank provides an immediate need.
“I like how community-centered it is, and the community we serve is really lovely,” Cruze said.
About 180 to 220 families get food weekly, according to the food bank.
The shelves are stocked for spring.
The food bank buys its milk and other dairy, as well as weekly deliveries of fresh fruits.
Cash donations are helping drive the food bank’s ability to have fresh goods. “We have a large spending budget to buy items for customers,” Cruze said.
Volunteers come ready to help, from stocking shelves to setting up the displays of food.
Opening for clients is a coordinated affair. Volunteers state what roles they’d like to do, from taking posts at food bins to bringing food to certain clients.
“I always feel good when setting up dinner, and it feels good knowing that I helped someone else has dinner, too,” retired volunteer Doug Craik of Snohomish said.
Simrin Dhaliwal, 16, stocks the shelves together with his friends.
“It’s nice to do something productive,” Dhaliwal said on why he volunteers.
Cruze said the food bank can use more volunteers. It’s located at 1330 Ferguson Road. Cruze can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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