Food bank celebrates its 30th!
Thirty years ago several people got together to meet a local need. I saw for the first time the words food bank and it struck me that Ill bet there are people in Blaine who are going hungry too and that we ought to find and get a food bank going here, said Trav Skallman, the visionary for the Blaine Food Bank.
After several weeks of discussing it with various people and looking for a place to have it, the United Church of Christ offered us a small room in their basement. And on December 3, the Blaine Food Bank will celebrate its 30th anniversary.
Today the food bank serves over 540 people a month with the help of about 20 volunteers On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-12 p.m. people line up outside the door to receive the prepared bags of food for themselves and their families. The food is mostly donated from clubs, businesses, churches, food drives and individuals. Evelyn Bonallo is a retired missionary who has been with the food bank since the beginning. It is fulfilling a need for families, she said. Its nice to see ones who come back who get jobs.
One hundred and ninety three families were served during the two days the food bank was open for Thanksgiving. Each family received a bag containing dressing, canned fruits and vegetables, potatoes, flour, yams, powdered milk, juice and a gift certificate to purchase a turkey or other meat. The families also received boxes or bags of produce and bread or dinner rolls.
Everyone who serves at the food bank is a volunteer, even the manager. On Monday and Wednesday when the food bank is not open to the public, volunteers are busy packing food and stocking the storeroom in preparation for the following day. I didnt realize how much work they do here until I volunteered, said Elmo Creetch, a volunteer of two months.
In 1981-1982, 17,000 people were served and the food bank was busier than ever. What started out small in the basement of a church, soon flourished and more room was needed to serve all those in need. The food bank moved around to several locations throughout town until discussion arose about finding a place of their own. In the late 80s, Ken Kellar built the building, now located on land donated by the city on C Street.
There have been a number of donations from corporations and organizations since the 70s to bring us to where we are at the food bank now, Skallman said. Thanks to these donations the food bank is handling ten times the volume of food it handled when it began.
Im glad it has survived this long, Skallman said. The idea that we needed a food bank was certainly evident and still is.