Marysville Community Food Bank serves holiday cheer | SLIDESHOW
December 28, 2011 · 12:46 PM
MARYSVILLE — The Marysville Community Food Bank’s three days of Christmas basket distribution were already on track to meet or exceed the previous year’s totals by Tuesday, Dec. 20, as volunteers checked in 87 clients during the first 40 minutes of the event’s second day.
“We get a lot more people during the holidays who are able to take care of themselves through the rest of the year, but when this season comes around they find themselves asking whether they can get presents for their kids or whether they want to eat for the month,” Marysville Community Food Bank Director Dell Deierling said.
Deierling reported that the first day of this year’s Christmas basket distribution had gone up by 7 percent, from 143 clients served on the first day of last year’s event to 153 clients served on Monday, Dec. 19.
“I predicted we’d hit about 250 clients on Tuesday, and it looks like we’ll make that mark,” Deierling said on Dec. 20. “That’s about as many clients in a single day as we usually serve in an entire week. By the end of this Christmas basket distribution week [on Friday, Dec. 23], we’ll have served as many clients as we usually serve in two to three weeks.”
In addition to a generous selection of hams, chickens and even turkeys for larger families, the Marysville Community Food Bank was able to dispense 26 Christmas trees, free to whoever wanted them, from Ray Hammer.
“One of our clients said she was going to cry because it was her first real Christmas tree,” said Deierling, who also praised the students of Marysville-Pilchuck High School for dropping off 5,850 pounds of potatoes that they’d acquired from a Mount Vernon farmer.
“I was concerned as we approached the holidays, because I saw our donations dropping so low,” Deierling said. “Our letter carrier collection drive, which is so important to us, was down for the second year in a row. But this fall, not only did the kids pitch in, but so did the realtors, the firefighters, city and school district staff, businesses, churches, service clubs, youth groups and the Navy. The Everett Clinic collected 700 pounds of food for us, even though they’d never done a food drive locally before.”
Deierling considers the Marysville Community Food Bank especially fortunate to benefit from such generosity during a difficult economy.
“I understand these are tough times for everyone, but this entire community still came together to make this happen,” Deierling said. “I can’t name everybody who helped, and I honestly don’t know how I can begin to thank them all.”
Navy Chief Petty Officer Eric Mott accompanied his son Ze’vyr in escorting Marysville Community Food Bank clients through the Christmas basket distribution line on Dec. 22, and admitted to feeling overwhelmed by the experience.
“I live here in Marysville, and my son comes here to volunteer, but I’d only stocked the shelves before,” Eric Mott said. “Seeing the number of people in need during the holiday season is something else.”
Salvador Santana’s 13-year-old son frequently volunteers at the Marysville Community Food Bank, but in light of his school commitments, his dad cut him some slack for the day.
“I’m here at least,” Salvador Santana laughed. “I’ve been coming here every Tuesday for a couple of years now, and Saturdays when I can, depending on work. I’ve seen the need increase during that time, but I’ve also seen people keep giving, which is the most important thing, because if they stop, we have nothing left to offer. It feels wonderful to be able to help provide for people who are struggling.”
Paige Turner, a sophomore at the Marysville Arts & Technology High School, was impressed by how smoothly her first holiday food basket distribution went as a Marysville Community Food Bank volunteer.
“I haven’t been surprised by the number of people who need some help during the holidays,” Turner said. “I have been surprised by how many of them have been children.”
“Hunger doesn’t just happen during the holidays,” Deierling said. “After the New Year, it will continue.”