Friends! Friends! Remember that $0.11 that I had leftover from my grocery shopping trips? Last night I was in a meeting at Whistler’s Family Restaurant in Tonasket, WA, completely surrounded by plates of fries, sandwiches, and salads drenched in ranch dressing, when I pulled out this:
Yes, that’s right! I bought a yummy ginger candy for $0.12 from the Tonasket Co-Op right before the meeting. Of course, it was discounted because I was a Co-Op member, but still, I only went $0.01 over the budget. I have to say, that was the most delicious candy I have ever eaten in my life. It was also a magical candy! All of that greasy temptation melted away as I chewed it, knowing that I had kept to my budget and shown a bit of self-control.
On that note, the first thing that I shall be eating Sunday morning is pancakes. I am just saying.
Today was our Food Bank Day. The Okanogan Food Bank is open Monday and Thursday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. I usually get a bag of food, but not today! If you have ever wondered about what people get at a food bank, here’s a picture of the kinds of items that were handed out today!
One of the big issues with Food Banks is that they don’t get a lot of fresh produce. Living in Okanogan County, we are surrounded by farms and orchards with an excess of produce, but often times it just goes to waste. You see, there is a grading system of sorts. If you have a few rows of pear trees, and during their development, the weather gets really funky, it can affect how the fruit grows. If the pear looks funny, say, oblong instead of what you might think of as “pear-shaped,” then the orchardist cannot sell it. It isn’t even worth picking because the orchardist is losing money. The interesting thing is that those funny-looking pears are perfectly tasty and healthy!
This is where gleaning comes in. OCCAC has a project called Food For All that is dedicated to bringing fresh produce into the Food Banks of Okanogan County and into people’s homes. Gleaning is one of our biggest programs. Our volunteers go out into orchards and farms and collect this superficially damaged (ugly but tasty) produce and bring it back to the Food Bank!
Also, Food Bank Facts brought to you by Esther Pomerantz, yet another AmeriCorps homie:
OKANOGAN FOOD BANK
OCCAC, 424 2nd Ave. S., Okanogan, WA
Open Mondays-Thursdays 9am-11am
Food Bank Fact Sheet
- The Okanogan Food Bank is a non-profit organization that receives food donations to distribute to those who can’t purchase enough food to avoid hunger.
- Food Banks work very hard to provide their clients food that is edible and within expiration date. For example: Protein, Dairy, Fruit, Grains and Vegetables.
- Volunteers are a vital part of our Food Bank’s success! Food Banks rely on volunteers to carry out day to day operations like sorting and packing food, stocking shelves, rotating stock, and distribution.
- The Okanogan Food Bank relies on the generosity of thousands of people who donate time, money, and food throughout the year to help feed the hungry. Thank you!
- Walmart: Donates 10,000-20,000lbs of food a month!
- Safeway: Donates baked goods & holds periodic food drives!
- Farmers & volunteers who participate in gleaning programs: Donated 9,000lbs so far this year!
- Northwest Harvest: Donated 74,025lbs over the past year!
- Members of the community/local organizational food drives: Yes! Every donation makes a difference!
- Monetary donations!
- Government agencies/grants: WSFP, CSFP, EFAP, & EFSP!
- On a monthly basis, the Okanogan Food Bank alone feeds approximately 3,500 people!
- Many people live so close to the poverty line that when an emergency occurs – a car breaks down or a family members becomes ill – they need food assistance.
- Sometimes people become homeless and need emergency food assistance.
- The OCCAC houses not only the Okanogan Food Bank but also serves as the distribution center for all of the food banks in Okanogan County! Please visit the food bank nearest your home. (For a list of Okanogan County Food Banks, please visit http://www.occac.com)
Contact Us: For more information on how you can help, call OCCAC 509-422-4041.