Food banks look toward Home Team Harvest

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by ALISON MORROW / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @AlisonMorrowTV

KING5.com

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 8:11 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 4 at 12:46 PM

Pike Market Food Bank is typically a busy place, so volunteers aren't surprised by crowds. On Thanksgiving, they served nearly 400 households.

Wana Wilson, however, admits she didn't expect the people she saw in those crowds.

"I am surprised at how many people do come through here that I see out on the street everyday," Wilson said.

Tuesday was Wilson's first day volunteering at Pike Market Food Bank, a place that expects need to rise as temperatures do the opposite.

"There is no such thing as a utility bank. There is no such thing as a rent bank. There is no such thing as a medicine bank," explained Northwest Harvest CEO Shelley Rotondo. "There is a food bank."

In King County alone, Northwest Harvest estimates a quarter-million people struggling to buy food. That includes almost one-quarter of the county's children.

"They're got stomach aches. They've got headaches. They don't perform well in school," Rotondo said.

On Saturday, KING 5 will host the annual Home Team Harvest at 5 locations. Food bank managers want more than your leftovers or the can you forgot about last year.

"If I wouldn't serve it to my children, I'm probably not going to donate it to a food bank," said Pike Market Food Bank Manger Brian Anderson.

Food bank managers also hope the weather won't keep donations home this Saturday, one of the coldest days of the year. They hope, in Western Washington, it only feels cold outside.

"The generosity of this community warms everybody's hearts and with everyone's hearts warmed up we can beat the cold," Anderson said. "We just need to make sure there's adequate food, not just at the holidays but all the time to make sure we don't have people going hungry out there."

Though Wilson's surprised to see her neighbors showing up in need, she's most surprised  at herself.

"For me to get to this point was like, 'No'," she sighed.  "First time I walked in here, I didn't really want to do it. My pride kicked in."

Retired and on a fixed income, Wilson's first day volunteering also falls on her third year as a customer. Though she has no food to give, only her time, she says she's never felt more full.

 "I get to feel. Period," she said.

More: How you can participate in Home Team Harvest

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