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Bonney Lake community rallies to meet Thanksgiving Day need

Culinary students spent the last month preparing and then freeze-drying hundreds of high-end Thanksgiving meals that will go to seniors in the area.

BONNEY LAKE, Wash. — Off Highway 410 in Buckley, you’ll find a food bank that could easily be mistaken for a high-end grocery store. It's called "The Market" and is modeled after a metropolitan shopping experience.

“It’s not so much about the need for food, it’s about the need to be comforted right now in a time of crisis,” said Stacey Crnich of The Market.

On Monday, it was all hands on deck at the Market as Thanksgiving quickly approaches. Food banks across the state have been pushed to the limits this year. 

“Our numbers are right back where they were last year at the height of the pandemic so the market grew about 700 percent over the course of the pandemic,” Crnich continued.

Elsewhere in town, a younger generation is giving back to their elders. For the past month, culinary students at Bonney Lake High School have been preparing and freeze-drying hundreds of Thanksgiving meals for senior citizens in the area.

“It felt really good just to, like, give back to the community – it’s really great to help people and give people food that they are in need for,” said Bonney Lake sophomore Mallory Miele.

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Back at The Market, volunteers know while the need is high, it can also feel invisible at times.

“You know that it’s out there, but you don’t see it every day,” said volunteer Laurie Bowler, who began donating her time as a delivery driver during the pandemic.

“I’m just this little bitty slice that comes and takes some groceries to a few people,” Bowler said.

Those slices add up. And as the delivery drivers make the rounds – one person after another comes to pick up groceries from the parking lot.

Proving the need is there, but the help is, too.