Charitable-minded fairgoers in July donated thousands of pounds of food and personal care items to Snohomish County-area food banks that continues an Evergreen State Fair tradition.
“This community is amazing about giving back,” said Amy Craven, marketing specialist for Evergreen State Fair Park.
A food drive has traditionally been part of opening day at the Evergreen State Fair. In 2021, however, the food drive was rescheduled to early July to avoid large crowds at the front gates.
The food drive took place July 10 and saw donors give three or more nonperishable food items in exchange for one ticket for weekday admission during the 2021 fair. Donors could also enjoy Pioneer Popcorn, Pompeii Pizza, funnel cakes, elephant ears and other fair food when they dropped off their donations.
When the food drive was complete, volunteers collected 13,655 pounds of items which were donated to the Snohomish County Food Bank Coalition, which includes more than 19 food banks in the county. In addition, more than 2,500 fair admission tickets were given to food donors, Craven said.
Food from the fair drive was distributed based on the percentage of people each food bank serves.
Receiving donations in July was good timing for area food banks.
“That’s often when we’re seeing a drop in the food supply,” said Dell Deierling director of the Marysville Community Food Bank. Marysville’s food bank also receives support from local grocery stores, Food Lifeline, federal and state programs, and additional purchases to fill any gaps in supplies.
During the lockdown, close to 500 families came to the food bank each week seeking help. Currently that number is down to 220 per week. “I’m sure glad people are in a good place,” Deierling said of the drop in numbers.
While numbers are down, Deierling said he’s been getting questions from people who are struggling to deal with inflation and are concerned about the rent moratorium that is scheduled to expire at the end of September.
“The future makes me nervous,” Deierling said.
Organizers at the Evergreen State Fair held a food drive in 2020 during the lockdown. Despite the fair being canceled, donors chipped in more than 6,000 pounds of food and $4,275 worth of donations.
Deierling said people interested in donating should consider cash. “We can make cash go further and buy what we need.”