Volunteers were out at seven different Marysville grocery stores on Nov. 3 to help kick off the Marysville All City Food Drive.
The drive is part of an effort to raise food for the Marysville Community Food Bank and holiday gifts for the Marysville Toy Store, a program that provides presents to local low-income families.
Dell Deierling, executive director of the Marysville Community Food Bank, said that the food drive helps because of the donations it brings in, and also because it marks the beginning of the holidays.
"Obviously we need food, but this particular food drive really kicks off the season of giving," he said.
"The need is always there, but as far as folks thinking about giving often that happens this time of year," he said.
The food donations help the food bank get through not just the holiday season, but also through the early months of next year.
“That’s something that a lot of people don’t realize, that this food is not just for the holiday season,” said Tara Mizell, one of the main organizers of the All City Food Drive and the Marysville Toy Store.
"The food that we're getting in here today is not just about feeding people for the holidays, but it's about getting us through the springtime, through about May when the Letter Carriers Food Drive kicks off," said Deierling.
This year saw slightly fewer families at the food bank, said Deierling, although that has ticked up recently.
"It was looking like the need was dropping marginally, but it picked up in October, more than October last year, so that makes me a little anxious about what we'll see once we get into the holidays," he said.
Volunteers came out to collect donations for the kick-off day, including from local organizations like Kiwanis, Soroptimist, Venom Baseball/Softball, Sno. Co. Express Fastpitch, Boy Scout troops and high school groups.
"We are a softball organization and we want to give back to the community by supporting a good cause and partnering with these organizations," said Crystelle Fischer, a coach with Sno. Co. Express Fastpitch.
Fischer and many of the local players came down to the Marysville Safeway for the kick-off day.
"I think they get a sense of service and they get to see people in their community by doing this. I think they really like organizing the food and just seeing how much they can collect," said Fischer.
"And I enjoy just seeing the athletes I coach in a different form and being able to give back to their community," she said.
Mizell said that volunteers often enjoy seeing the generosity of the community.
“You hear so many stories, like of an elderly couple who came out just to donate two full carts of groceries,” she said.
The All City Food Drive has also been bringing out its red barrels that it will leave in numerous local businesses where people can donate non-perishable food or unwrapped toys.
Suggested foods that are most needed include dried meals, cereal, crackers, peanut butter, jam/jelly, canned fruit, soups, instant oatmeal, granola bars and canned hams.
About 60 to 90 local businesses will be hosting the red barrels this year, said Mizell.
Although the barrels will collect food through the entire holiday season, the toys are required by early December.
“That is a little earlier than people usually start thinking about the holidays,” said Mizell, but is necessary to put on the Marysville Toy Store, which happens in mid-December.
Deierling said that the toy program is very popular.
"The calls start early about that as people see it's going to be tough. That's not a basic need, but it is an essential part of being a kid," he said.
"The need for people during the holidays does pick up because people want to do more for their family and we can help by providing the food, the toys, the gifts," said Deierling.
He wanted to thank everyone who helps the All City Food Drive.
"We have a huge appreciation for the volunteers, not just here in the stores but at the food bank and, of course, to the customers that are donating and the store managers that are helping," he said.
More information about the local food bank and the Marysville toy Store program is available at marysvillefoodbank.org.