Day of Service planned to support local food banks

It is no secret that the current state of the economy has hit local food banks hard. With that in mind, five communities are working together as one to collect non-perishable foods for their hometown food banks.

From Sept. 12 - 17, families and friends will unite in remembrance of the 911 attacks and to celebrate our country's National Day of Service through a multi-community food drive.

In the Stanwood area, the North County Fire and EMS and Candie's Kids are two of many supporters of the Day of Service Food Drive. Both locations will serve as drop off sites for the food drive.

According to Adrianna McDowell, co-coordinator of the event, "We are hoping to get as many businesses, churches and community organizations involved as possible."

Parties interested in collecting food from neighborhoods, manning drop boxes at local grocery stores, or becoming a drop off site can contact McDowell at

She also encourages individuals to help out by adopting an item or two from food bank wish lists. "Many items that the food banks need are hard to get donated because people don't think about that particular item or because it may be a bit more expensive," she said.

According to Jeanie Ovenell, executive director with the Stanwood Camano Food Bank, "One of the things we always ask for is canned meat. It's one of the hardest things we can come by."

Specifically, canned beef, chicken, turkey and salmon are requested. "We're looking for something you can make a meal from, not just tuna to make sandwiches," she explained.

Coffee, hot cocoa, and chocolate milk drink mix are additional requested items. They are more expensive to purchase; thus, they are donated less often.

Ovenell also notes a need for quick and easy items that kids can fix on their own when they are home alone: macaroni and cheese packets, peanut butter and jelly, canned soup and healthy grab-n-go snacks.

Personal items that can't be purchased with food stamps are also needed. Items such as toilet paper, deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrushes, shaving products and women's hygiene products are always in high demand.

"We're so thankful when people call us and are already organizing a food drive," Ovenell said. "We're tickled for the help."

Another food drive strategy McDowell is promoting: Have your own mini food drive between now and Sept. 17. "Challenge your group members to bring an item to every meeting or have a little friendly competition as to who can bring in the most items, with your winner presenting your group's donations at the weigh-in on the seventeenth," she said.

At present, McDowell is devoting her time to recruiting organizations to participate. Whether they are able to participate in a small way or a large way, each organization will have its logo posted on the event's blogspot, news releases and marketing materials. Parties interested in collecting food from neighborhoods, manning drop boxes at local grocery stores, or becoming a drop off site can contact McDowell at

Once collected, the non-perishable items will be delivered to Stanwood Food Bank, His Pantry at Camano Chapel, the Food Closet at Warm Beach Community Church, Marysville Community Food Bank, and the Arlington Food Bank.

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