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Holiday brings higher demand at food bank

MARYSVILLE — The Marysville Community Food Bank reported a slightly larger turnout than usual during its first day of holiday food basket distributions Dec. 18.

According to Marysville Community Food Bank Director Joyce Zeigen, the food bank had already served 60 families within 45 minutes of opening at 9 a.m.

“We’ve been distributing alphabetically by last name, but next year, I think we’ll switch up the order a bit so that those of us at the end of the alphabet don’t get discouraged,” Zeigen laughed. “We’re giving out more food than we were last year so that people aren’t having to visit us as frequently.”

Zeigen thanked employees of Quadrant Homes in Marysville for donating their time as volunteers, as well as more than two dozen members of the USS Abraham Lincoln crash and salvage team, several of whom were also volunteering at the Operation Marysville Community Christmas Toy Store.

Navy Chief Petty Officer Ronnie Padilla has volunteered at food banks during the holidays before, but this was the first time that he and his crash and salvage team members had done so at the Marysville Community Food Bank, and he thanked The Marysville Globe for making them aware of the Marysville Community Food Bank’s needs.

“I asked my crew if they were up for it and they just said, ‘Let’s do it,’” Padilla said. “It’s a great feeling to give back to the community, especially at this time of the year. It’s the least we can do, considering everything they do for us. It’s satisfying to be recognized as crew members of the Abraham Lincoln.”

“It’s not much, but I hope that in some way it can be enough,” fellow Navy Chief Petty Officer Billy Ramirez said. “We’re having a good time doing this and we plan to do things like this more often.”

Marysville resident Debbie Hjort has been a client of the Marysville Community Food Bank for close to four years and recent events have made it even more important to her. A single mom who’s supporting herself and her three children, Hjort suffered a car breakdown that reduced her work time to four and half hours a day, which cut into her already tight paycheck.

“Without the food bank and the [OMCC] toy store, there wouldn’t be much of anything for the kids this Christmas, since rent and food come first,” Hjort said. “We’re just like anybody. Most of us are out there working, but with the economy the way it is, we’re having a tough time of it. We want to provide for our families, but we don’t always have the ways or means to do so.”

Chris Curtiss and his wife Elizabeth celebrate their seventh wedding anniversary Dec. 21, and they were in good spirits when they visited the food bank for their holiday basket Dec. 18. In spite of the Curtiss’ own needs, Chris is a volunteer himself at the “Marysville Community Lunch” for the homeless, which is conducted thrice weekly in the basement of the Evergreen Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Church in Marysville.

“I just believe in giving back as much as I can,” Chris Curtiss said.

“These volunteers put in endless hours, just because they care,” Hjort said. “That’s the biggest blessing you can get.”

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