The Marysville Community Food Bank handed out more than 600 Thanksgiving dinners before the holiday this year.
The organization held three days of giveaways for their dinners with a commitment to provide turkeys to any family that wanted one.
“On Friday [Nov. 22], we had 199 families come in. On Monday [Nov. 25] we had 175,” said Dell Deierling, executive director of the Marysville Community Food Bank.
With Wednesday’s giveaway and the home deliveries the food bank is estimated to have served around 650 people this year.
Deierling said that is more than last year.
“There’s some anxious moments just because we’ve been seeing a lot more people than we have before,” he said. “The number of families coming in is picking up more, considerably more than last year.”
The food bank was still able to provide Thanksgiving dinners to all who wanted them.
“That concern was answered by a really good response from the community so that we have the resources to meet that demand,” said Deierling.
“Everybody’s going to get a turkey thanks to the community, and all the trimmings that go along with that,” he said.
The holidays can be a tough time for a lot of people who are struggling to provide for their families.
“For a lot of people, their resources are tight enough to just get by in normal life. When you throw in the holidays to do something extra and special for your family, it’s really tough,” said Deierling.
“So if we can do that for them, that allows them to use their resources for other basic needs,” he said.
Food bank client Daphne Norman said she was thankful for the organization.
“It’s so helpful because they have all the amenities like the flour, the sugar, and I can make stuff out of it,” she said.
“There’s also fruits and vegetables which I couldn’t afford to finish off the meal. It’s a blessing coming here, for sure,” she said.
The food bank has been trying to guarantee a turkey for every family for more than five years now.
“Before, whatever we had available we would give to people, but now we have committed we would provide turkeys,” said Deierling.
He said it does make a difference in a lot of families' lives.
“Some people have said to me ‘this was the first time we were going to have turkey since I was a kid,’ and when you hear that you understand how important it is,” he said.
Deierling said there are a lot of families and individuals who need help to make it through the holiday season.
“There is more ‘affordable’ housing here in Marysville, which brings people here and they can barely make that. So they need to use the food bank to continue to live in their home,” he said. “You use that word ‘affordable,’ but it’s not affordable.”
The food bank relies on donations and volunteers each year to help stock the food bank for the holidays and months afterward.
Volunteer Bill Armstrong said he wanted to come out just for an opportunity to help out.
“Last time I volunteered was several years ago and I figured they were always busy during Thanksgiving and I checked in to see if they needed a hand,” he said.
Deierling wanted to show appreciation to those who helped out this year.
“A big thank you to the community. Because it doesn’t work without the community's support. The Tulalip Tribes supported us, Keller Williams and Windermere did huge food drives for us, and Maxi’s Chinese Restaurant and Grocery Outlet were involved,” he said. “I kind of hate to start naming people because there’s so many and you inevitably leave someone off.”
The Marysville food bank will also provide holiday dinners on Dec. 16, 17 and 20 as well. More information about the organization is available at marysvillefoodbank.org.