MARYSVILLE – Tis’ the season to give back.
With Thanksgiving Day just around the corner, that means giving turkeys and a shopping cartload of trimmings to families and individuals at the Marysville Community Food Bank to help put food on their table through the holidays.
The food bank expects to distribute turkeys to 735 families this Thanksgiving, a 5 percent increase over last year, director Dell Deierling said.
This is the fourth year that the food bank has had enough turkeys to ensure that every family who wants one gets one. The goal was met thanks to donations from the Tulalip Tribes, Windermere Real Estate through a county Realtors competitive food drive, and employees at Zodiac Aerospace in Marysville, 116 of whom donated their own employer-gifted turkeys to the food bank. It required a forklift to get the turkeys into the food bank truck.
The tons of giving toward Marysville and Tulalip families in need wasn’t just for the birds, either.
The food bank and its partnering organizations, grocers, businesses and community supporters made sure families had all the fixings to give thanks for, along with enough staples to help ease the burden on household food budgets.
Marysville-Pilchuck High School students came through again, donating 6,400 pounds of potatoes in addition to the thousands of pounds raised through food drives. The potatoes came from a farm in Burlington, and students were welcome to stuff as many spuds as they could in their cars’ backseats and trunks, and truck beds.
Grove Church and their recent Fred Meyer Rush drive generated 3,850 pounds of food plus another 200 pounds in church the next day.
The annual All City Food Drive brought in 4,588 pounds of food and monetary donations.
This holiday season was shaping up to be the year of the pie shortage, Deierling said. However, “We put out a call to the community, and the next thing you know, there was an amazing response, thanks to individuals baking at home, non-grocer businesses and the grocers.”
Looking ahead to Christmas, he said the pie shelves may be a little empty again.
Any donations are welcome, but Deierling said they could use some nice cuts of ham for Christmas, too.
Deierling said the highest percentage of food donations comes from local grocers including Albertsons, Bartell’s, Costco, Fred Meyer, Haggen Foods, Grocery Outlet, Safeway, Target Walmart, Winco and others.
“They’re all such an important part of what we do,” said Deierling, reminding that food bank is also a member under the Northwest Harvest umbrella that supplies food banks.
“I’m disappointed to say that we are still in a growing business,” Deierling said. “I keep hoping I’ll come in here one day and I won’t have a job, but it’s not happening.”
Deierling said it’s never easy for people to reach out for help, but he and the food bank volunteers do all they can to make them feel comfortable.
“When we’re in a position to serve others, we serve others,” Deierling said. “When we’re in the position where we need assistance, we accept it, and that makes for a very strong community. We lift each other up.”
If clients noticed that the line moved faster recently to get in and fill a shopping cart, it’s because the food bank is using color-coded food shopping checklists with slight variations in items, but everyone gets a turkey.
Ron Hubble kept warm outside cozying up to one of three outdoor heaters waiting for family and their volunteer helper to come out the exit. Hubble said he has been out of work on a medical disability for four years, and his family of four has a hard time making ends meet.
“I don’t know what we do without this food,” he said. “We are having a tough enough time as it is.”
Maria Flores-Ramirez said she appreciates deeply the good works of friendly volunteers of the food bank and the food they will enjoy to help them through the holidays, while helping make ends meet.
“I would like to say that me and my family are thankful,” she said.
Lots of volunteers step up from service clubs, churches, sailors with the Navy and other organizations during the holidays.
Longtime resident Jim Brennick joined other Rotary Club members who were on hand like every year manning crates of canned foods, pancake mix and other foods. The decision to volunteer is an easy one for him.
“It’s about helping those in need in our community,” he said, “and there’s a lot of need right now.”
Deierling said the spirit of the community helping one another was on full display and will be for the next two distribution days prior to Thanksgiving.
Marysville Kiwanis Club provided coffee and hot chocolate outside the food bank while people people waited in line to entere the build. Marysville Rotary Club members helped distribute food items to clients inside, and members from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints were also among the food bank’s hard-working volunteer core to assist people as they moved through the makeshift aisles filling shopping carts with food donated by local grocers.
After Thanksgiving, the pace will pick up again for food basket distribution for Christmas, including gathering gifts for the Toy Store.
The Toy Store is cueing up for another successful year under the leadership of Tara Mizell with the city parks department and her cadre of volunteers. “We’ve gotten great support like we’ve never had from both volunteers and financial support coming in,” Deierling said.
The toy store expect to serve more than 1,200 children, and this year’s drive got a financial boost thanks to the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians.
Christmas food basket distribution dates are Dec. 18 from 9 a.m.-noon (with seniors and disabled having priority), Dec. 19 from 2-6:30 p.m. and Dec. 22 from 9 a.m.-noon.
The Toy Store will be open Dec. 13 for families with last names A-H, and Dec. 14 for last names I-Z. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Families in need of toy store services are asked to sign up by visiting the food bank in person before Dec. 1. No online or phone registration is available.
The food bank is located at 4150 88th St. NE behind St. Mary’s Catholic Church at State and 88th. People can donate food there or look for the red holiday food barrels available throughout Marysville. For details visit the food bank online at www.marysvillefoodbank.org.
For Arlington residents, the Arlington Community Food Bank at 19118 63rd Ave. NE also provides food for the holidays for people in need. Clients are reminded that the distribution date for Christmas is 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 20.
For details, contact that food bank at 360-435-1631, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.arlingtonwafoodbank.org.