Toy, food donations sought by Moses Lake, Ephrata food banks

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File photo Ephrata volunteers collected money for the food bank in December 2016. The food banks in Moses Lake and Ephrata are collecting donations of toys, money and food for the 2017 Christmas basket and toy distributions.

MOSES LAKE — The Moses Lake and Ephrata food banks will be distributing food and toys this Christmas season. Both organizations are accepting donations of food, toys and money.

Registration for Operation Friendship at the Moses Lake Food Bank began Monday, with distribution scheduled for Dec. 16, said food bank director Peny Archer. Families must be Moses Lake residents to qualify.

Toys are distributed to parents who sign up, and they can sign up during food bank hours, 11 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Parents will receive papers with the required information, which they must bring with them when they come to pick up the packages.

The food bank is focusing on toys for children up to 12 years of age, although items appropriate for teenagers will be distributed to families with teens. Donations should be new toys, $10 to $15 in value, and should be unwrapped. Archer said those requests represent the voice of experience. In the past grinches have donated inappropriate items, a lump of coal being one example, in wrapped boxes. Grinches also have donated broken toys.

The $10 to $15 suggestion comes from the idea that it’s better to have a lot of relatively inexpensive toys, rather than fewer relatively more expensive toys, Archer said.

The Ephrata Food Bank Christmas basket distribution will be Dec. 23, and the Christmas baskets include toys. “All our toys are new,” said food bank director Mike Donovan.

The Ephrata Food Bank is collecting toys for children and teens up to 18 years of age. “Our hardest (age group), quite frankly, is 12 to 18 (years of age),” Donovan said. Ephrata High School’s Toys for Teens drive helps out with high school, but food bank operators still need gifts for high school students, as well as middle schoolers.

Gift cards and athletic equipment make good gifts for those age groups, he said, especially gift cards to places like sandwich shops (Pita Pit, Subway) and coffee places. “Those high school kids, they all drink coffee for some reason,” he said.

People who want to donate can contact the food bank at 509-754-5772, or drop them off at the food bank at 1010 A St. SE.

Toys are important for Christmas, but food is needed for Christmas and year round. “Food is an ongoing need,” Archer said. Donations of food and money are accepted, and for winter, more substantial food, like stew, soup and canned or frozen meat, is preferred, she said.

When it comes to food, “we’re taking financial donations for the most part,” Donovan said. Monetary donations allow food bank operators flexibility in choosing food for distribution, he said.

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