Food banks still in need

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MOSES LAKE — With the arrival of Thanksgiving and Christmas, charitable projects, donation drives, efforts to help the less fortunate go into overdrive. But eventually Christmas is in the rear view mirror, and attention turns to other things.

The outpouring of Christmas charity resonates long after the holiday season is over. “Christmas (donations at Christmas) helps us get through the rest of the year,” said Scott Kilpatrick, financial manager at the Moses Lake Food Bank.

But December donations run out eventually. “People are hungry year-round,” Kilpatrick said, quoting food bank director Peny Archer.

This time of year local food banks need food suitable for cold weather, said Mike Donovan, director of the Ephrata Food Bank. Soup and stew, canned chili and pasta, “stuff they can warm up,” Donovan said. Potatoes and other root vegetables also work well in the winter, Archer said in an earlier interview.

“Food. We need food,” Kilpatrick said.

“We can always use baby food,” Kilpatrick said, along with baby formula. Customers also ask for adult nutrition foods, like high-protein bars and drinks. The canned soups, stews and chili – hearty foods – are also in demand at the Moses Lake Food Bank.

Most cans have an expiration date, Kilpatrick said, but in many circumstances the food bank still can accept food that is past the expiration date. “The quality is still good.” The exception is expired baby formula – that’s not accepted.

Money works as a donation too – in fact in some ways it’s even more useful. “We can buy more food with your dollar than you can buy with it,” Donovan said.

“We’re able to do bulk buying with cash,” Kilpatrick said. Many stores in Moses Lake work with the food bank to give it the best deals possible, he said. “It’s the locals that are supporting us.”

For other purchases, especially food in bulk, the food bank works with Northwest Harvest. The Seattle-based nonprofit organization collects and then distributes food to food banks throughout the state.

The Moses Lake Food Bank is a distribution center for other food banks in the region, 12 in all, in Grant, Adams and Lincoln counties.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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