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Marysville Community Food Bank hands out hundreds of holiday baskets to those in need
MARYSVILLE — The Marysville Community Food Bank’s needs for this year’s holiday season have more than equaled those of previous years.
Marysville Community Food Bank Director Dell Deierling estimated that as many as 300 families might have received Thanksgiving food baskets, which were distributed by close to 100 volunteer workers during the three hours that the food bank was open to serve them on Friday, Nov. 18.
“Last year, we saw 40 percent of our Thanksgiving food basket customers on Friday,” Deierling said on Nov. 18, as he prepared for the potential need for Monday, Nov. 21, and Tuesday, Nov. 22. “I thought that was just a fluke, due to last year’s snowstorm, since Tuesday is usually our biggest day. We’re open for five hours, rather than three, on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. If Tuesday turns out to be our biggest day this year though,” he paused, before smiling and saying, “then wow. It’s going to be a real challenge to keep up.”
Indeed, Deierling had only anticipated that the food bank would serve Thanksgiving food baskets to as many as 700 families over the course of all three days. Fortunately, close to 60 future sailors with Navy Recruiting District Seattle had already collected for local food banks at various Safeway stores earlier in the month, and their hard work yielded heavy results.
“We generated about 8,000 pounds for four food banks last year, so we set a goal of 10,000 pounds this year,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Chris Martin, one of a dozen sailors who showed up in uniform to volunteer at the Marysville Community Food Bank on Nov. 18. “What we actually got was more than 20,000 pounds, which we distributed evenly among the four food banks.”
This added up to more than 5,000 pounds of food from the Navy to the Marysville Community Food Bank, where Chief Petty Officer Omar Ozuna was sorting containers of flour on Nov. 18.
“We’ve normally done things like this in downtown Seattle, but our recruiting district is in charge of this sector now,” Ozuna said. “Overall, this has been very well-organized and executed. Hats off to the staff who works here day in and day out.”
Michelle Turner is a civilian, but this year marked her first holiday season of volunteering at the Marysville Community Food Bank as well.
“I started here around the first of the month,” Turner said. “My husband has been volunteering here for the past year and a half, and now that I’ve got a bit more spare time, I’m finally able to join him.”
Turner already believed in the value of community service, but working at the food bank has underscored for her the degree of need that exists in Marysville.
“These are the working poor,” Turner said. “We need to realize that they’re here, and they’re our neighbors. Even something as small as a couple of cans of corn or some potatoes can make such a difference.”
As Deierling looks ahead to the winter holidays, he encouraged donations of turkey and other meats, from turkey breasts to small turkeys and full-sized whole turkeys.
“Of course, after Thanksgiving, we’ll need to reevaluate our inventory to see exactly where we stand,” Deierling said. “Once we figure out what the holes are that need to be filled, we get to do all of this again next month,” he laughed.
The Marysville Community Food Bank is distributing winter holiday food baskets on Monday, Dec 19, and Friday, Dec. 23, from 9 a.m. to noon, and on Tuesday, Dec. 20, from 2-7 p.m. The food bank is located at 4150 88th St. NE in Marysville. For more information, call 360-658-1054, fax 658-1055 or log onto http://marysvillecommunityfb.com.