Each year-end The North County Food Pantry is able to quantify the impact our local food bank has on the communities of Elk and Chattaroy. If you appreciate numbers, here’s what 2022 looked like:
262,338 pounds of food were distributed to our neighbors.
8888 volunteer hours were spent in service to our Pantry.
2559 households were served over the year, consisting of 7234 individuals.
We served more new clients in 2022 than we have in any year since 2014.
Our year-end review from Second Harvest, the non-profit organization that provides most of our food inventory, was once again stellar. The North County Food Pantry is fiscally sound, well managed, staffed by trained and caring volunteers, well organized and in compliance with all food safety requirements. The Pantry is also recognized for providing services not usually offered by rural food banks. We serve hot meals, provide laundry and shower facilities, and offer clothing, household goods and supplies to our clients.
It is always our delight to acknowledge the generous support received from organizations and individuals in our community. Clients have noticed the new (to us) chairs in our reception area. We can now comfortably seat more visitors thanks to this gift from Country Church of the Open Bible. Saint Joseph Catholic Parish collects food from their members each month for the North County Food Pantry. Those donations come in weekly during the Lenten Season. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has provided staples like canned goods, pasta, and dry beans that are making up for the declining inventory we are receiving from government and non-profit suppliers. The volunteer staff at the Pantry is grateful for these gifts.
Don’t forget that the Pantry provides more than emergency food for families in need. We have a selection of clothing for men, women and children, including cold weather gear like boots, hats and scarves. We offer an assortment of household goods as well. And to support people staying in their own homes as they age or recover from injury, we have a wide assortment of medical equipment available to anyone in our community. If we have it, you are welcome to borrow it for as long as you need. We currently have wheelchairs, walkers, toilet risers, shower chairs and more. Call us at 509-292-2530 to inquire.
The Garden Crew is getting ready to start their work prepping our vegetable beds and planting in our greenhouse. We are saddened that longtime garden volunteer Jeanne passed away unexpectedly in February. Jeanne was a loyal volunteer and a bright light each time she came through the doors of the Pantry.
Lastly, save the date for GardenFest on Saturday, May 20 from 11-2. This annual event is well attended and free plant-starts go quickly so mark your calendar. Details to follow.
When the North County Food Pantry asks…our community responds! Garden volunteers Nola, Peter and Valerie have stepped forward to provide weekly cleaning of the Pantry’s public areas. Once planting season starts, however, they will return to gardening activities. So, we are asking again for someone to help with this vital need. It would require 60-90 minutes per week and involves light housekeeping. Please contact us if you can help.
Our neighborhood grocers generously support the Pantry on a regular basis with food donations. Watson’s Market in Riverside makes a weekly donations of items like condiments, sweets, bakery items and dairy. The new Dollar General Store on Hwy 2 just north of Elk-to-Highway Rd. is offering milk, yogurt and eggs. These protein-rich foods are often in short supply to Pantry clients. We are grateful to partner with local businesses like these.
The Riverside High School Future Farmers of America FFA class sponsored a winter clothing drive and selected the Pantry as the beneficiary. We have a great selection of winter clothes for men, women, teens and children. Clothing items are displayed by gender and size on hanging racks. (We need donations of plastic clothes hangers too.) Stop by to help keep your family warm during these cold months.
The Pantry has said goodbye to one of our Monday shoppers; John is returning to the workforce in the non-profit sector where his leadership skills and compassionate spirit will be put to good use. We will miss John, but welcome Linda who returns as a Pantry volunteer, but in a new role. There are a variety of ways to serve at the Pantry, so please contact us if you are interested in joining our team.
As we turn the calendar to a new year, the North County Food Pantry wishes to acknowledge the generosity of so many in our community who support our mission. We provide much more than food to families and individuals in Elk and Chattaroy. We are a "gathering place" for neighbors to share a warm meal and lively conversation. Our clients shop for food items that satisfy their family preferences. We offer an assortment of household goods and clothing, and necessities like pet food, cleaning supplies and paper products. None of this would be possible without supporters and friends of The Pantry. We wish to thank these people and organizations, who have supported us with gifts of time, treasure and resources:
Catholic Charities has
awarded a Rice Bowl Grant in support of our community garden for many
years. This year they increased that award so we could automate our
irrigation system and expand our green house.
Spokane Fire District #4 brought in nearly 500 pounds of food at year end
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints donated nearly a ton of dry good staples to the Food Pantry this fall.
Riverside School District donated excess milk that was unused at the winter break.
Riverside High School Future Farmers of America organized a cold weather clothing drive that we are distributing to clients.
Don offered his handyman skills and made some much needed improvements to our facility.
Saint Joseph Parish in Colbert WA has been a generous financial supporter of The Pantry.
Volunteers Jack and Julie deliver rescued bakery items every week that are procured by Caritas, a faith-based non-profit.
There have been countless neighbors who have made cash contributions to help fund The Pantry, and others who have donated beef, produce, and eggs.
40+ volunteers work tirelessly to keep our Pantry and our Community Garden operating. Our team-of-volunteers are grateful to Joe and Sandy who manage the North County Food Pantry as a labor of love. Because of their leadership, the mission of The Pantry remains the highest priority!
If you have interest in joining our team of volunteers, please call Sandy at 509-292-2530. Your efforts will be greatly appreciated.
time of year brings new clients to the North County Food Pantry, and
escalating food and fuel prices mean even more people are seeking
assistance. Traditional sources have scaled back in their contributions
to us, but the local community has filled the gap! Food donations from
the Elk VFW, and local churches have boosted our inventory in time for
the holidays. It’s never too late to organize a food drive at your place
of work, worship or recreation. Financial gifts from donors are also
greatly appreciated. Funds can be designated for specific use at The
Pantry. For example, Catholic Charities has a tradition of supporting
our Community Garden with a financial gift designated to garden
projects. The North County Food Pantry is grateful to all who have
supported our local food bank with gifts of food, funds, equipment, and
their valuable time.
As has been a tradition for many years, The Pantry distributed 200+ Thanksgiving dinners as part of Tom’s Turkey Drive in late November. Cars lined up at the Country Church of the Open Bible (CCOB) for this drive-through event. It took many local volunteers to facilitate this give-away….those who transported the thousands of pounds of turkeys to The Pantry, those who unloaded our rental truck (truck rental was an additional expense for us this year), those who packed individual bags of groceries, those directing traffic, and those loading groceries into client vehicles. A special shout-out to the Riverside HS Girls Varsity Basketball team for their help! It was a festive night, thanks to the work of many, many volunteer hands.
On Halloween night, The Pantry participated in “trunk or treat” at CCOB. This was a great community event with lots of activities (and treats) for families. That evening The Pantry distributed 30 pre-packed bags of groceries that had been assembled by members of the Riverside HS Honor Society. How encouraging it is to see students in our community volunteer their time helping others.
It’s not too late to purchase 2023 wall calendars from The Pantry for just $7 each. This is a yearly fund-raiser for The Pantry. Stop by and pick one up for yourself or a few for giving. While you are at The Pantry, browse through our racks of gently-used quality clothing. We have a good inventory of warm coats, accessories and footwear for men, women and children. And don’t forget to look through our collection of Christmas decorations to make your home “merry and bright”!
Lastly, we are still in need of someone to do light cleaning of our North County Food Pantry. Also, two of our volunteer “shoppers” have left the area, so we are really short-handed on Mondays from 10-2 (saying goodbye and thank you to both Marge and Linda!). If you can help, please contact Sandy at (509) 292-2530 during regular hours, or leave us a message.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year to our Neighbors and Friends.
North County Food Pantry will once again be a distribution point for
Tom’s Turkey Drive. A decades long tradition, families in need are
provided a ready-to-cook complete turkey dinner. No sign-up is
necessary. This drive-through event will take place on Monday evening,
November 21 from 5:30-7:00 PM. Volunteers will direct traffic through
the parking lot of the Country Church of the Open Bible to the Food
Pantry in Elk (40015 N Collins Rd.). The efforts of many make this a
wonderful community celebration. Special thanks to the honor students
from Riverside HS who will be packing grocery bags full of Thanksgiving
fixings that afternoon. Other volunteers will be directing traffic,
loading groceries and welcoming people who need assistance in order to
celebrate this holiday. Families may carpool to the event, but we can
only distribute 2 complete meals per vehicle.
The harvest from our community garden is nearly complete. Local gardeners have added to the bounty of fresh produce we have been able to give Pantry clients this fall. Our garden even produced a 116 pound pumpkin (pictured above) and another at 99 pounds!
Following a beautiful and warm fall, we are now experiencing cold winter temperatures. We are most appreciative of Bubba’s Brew Crew, for Coffee on Hwy 2 for promoting a winter coat drive that benefits clients of the Food Pantry. Donations of coats, gloves, and insulated clothing is always appreciated. These items can be dropped off at the Pantry during regular business hours: Mondays 10-2 or Wednesdays 8:30-12:00.
In addition to clothing, we have home goods like dishes, linens, and small appliances FREE for those who can use them. A wide assortment of Christmas decorations is also available, so stop by and take something to “make your spirits bright” over the holidays.
The Pantry is selling beautiful 2023 calendars as a fundraiser this fall. The cost is $7 and the proceeds help fund our operation.
Pantry clients may soon notice a slight decrease in pounds of food they receive from us. Food donations are down nationwide, transportation costs are up, and reduced manufacturing all negatively impact inventory at local food banks like ours. We are diligently seeking alternative food sources, but are more dependent than ever on the generosity of neighbors in our community. If your church, social group, youth organization or employer can help with a financial donation or a food drive, we would be grateful. No one in our community should ever go hungry.
Lastly, we are in need of a volunteer to clean the office/kitchen/bathroom/and reception area of our Pantry. Weekly cleaning would be most appreciated, and we estimate the job would require about 90 minutes per week. Please call Sandy if you can help with this task (509) 292-2530.