The Marysville Community Food Bank handed out turkeys again to clients for their Thanksgiving dinner distributions this year.
With the pandemic damaging the economy and so many jobs lost it has been a long year for food banks.
“We went into this like the rest of this year with a whole lot of uncertainty,” said Dell Deierling, director of the Marysville Community Food Bank. “We’re seeing demand that is higher than what I anticipated."
Deierling estimated that about 700 families came in for this year’s Thanksgiving dinner distribution.
“When we opened today there were six lanes of cars behind St. Mary’s Church,” he said. “It’s a higher number than we’ve seen in a lot of years already."
Despite the high number of clients this year, Deierling said they did have enough holiday food items to give out.
“At this point it looks like everyone who wants a turkey is going to be able to get one,” he said.
Deierling said he appreciates the community’s support during this challenging time.
“There are volunteers here who have kept things going through the coronavirus mess,” he said.
Because of the pandemic the food bank has remained with a core group of volunteers to reduce the number of individuals going in and out of the facility.
“The downside is that we can’t open our arms to all the volunteers who want to volunteer here,” said Deierling.
The food bank usually tries to accept all volunteers, he said, but this year that was impossible.
The volunteers said they came out to help local families.
“I wanted to come down just to help the community,” said volunteer Krista Rossi.
“I just think it’s a great time to help those in need,” said volunteer Sheri Selapack.
The volunteers generally have a good time while out there, said volunteer Kevin Boldt.
“I like to be of service and it’s just a great group of people. Everyone is delighted to be here,” he said.
Those who want to help but can’t volunteer this year can donate, said Deierling.
“The emphasis we’re putting on for supporting the food bank is financially,” he said.
Monetary donations are useful for the food bank, even if some people find them less satisfying than food donations, said Deierling.
“It allows us to buy what we need, when we need it and often at a better price than what a consumer can buy it at,” he said.
Many of their long-time volunteers who knew how to sort food have had to take a break from the food bank this year because they are in the high-risk populations for COVID-19.
“We are challenged in resources to process donated food. We’ll get to it, we’re not going to turn it down, but it’s tough because we have fewer people to sort it,” said Deierling.
So far this year, Deierling said there has been a lot of families coming in that have never used the food bank before.
“We’re going to see more of that now that restaurants aren’t allowing dining inside and we’ll probably see staff cut from that. I’m anxious about the Boeing cuts and Congress not moving forward with a new stimulus,” he said.
The federal funds to boost unemployment haven’t been around since the summer and more people are in hard spots, said Deierling.
Despite the high need he encourages anyone to come down to the food bank if it could help them.
“Sometimes I have to convince people over the phone, and they’ll say ‘well there are people who have it tougher than me and I should save the food for them,’ but don’t go down that route. We’re here to help and if coming here can help you pay your rent, keep your car or keep the lights on, come down here,” he said.