Lifestyle

Food bank also seeing increased need

The Vashon Maury Com-munity Food Bank was bustling last Wednesday, when it provided needed food, including holiday turkeys, to 250 Island homes.

"I think that is the most we have ever seen at the food bank," said Executive Director Yvonne Pitrof.

The food bank has been serving about 200 households each week, sometimes a bit more, but Pitrof cannot recall the number ever coming close to 250, she said, adding the increase is a sign of the times.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released a report about hunger in America, which showed the number of “food insecure” households — those that struggle to afford enough nutritious food — has climbed considerably since the recession began in 2008 and has stayed high.

Pitrof, who has worked at the food bank since 2004, said that holds true for Vashon as well. The food bank has been able to meet the increased demand partially because of large community support in 2008 and 2009. But this, year, Pitrof said, donations of both food and money are down.

"I think this recession is just dragging on everybody," she said.

The money the food bank raises one year — with the bulk of it arriving during the holiday season — determines the next year's budget, Pitrof said. By the end of this year, the food bank hopes to raise $140,000.

Pitrof is optimistic the community will step forward again. "We can do it," she said. "I've seen it."

The food bank elves will be out collecting for the food bank at the main intersection in town two weekends coming up, and throughout December Thriftway will match Care Card donations at the check stands up to $5,000. There will also be a food drive at Thriftway Dec. 10 and 11.

People can also donate online at vashonfoodbank.org or send a check to P.O. Box 1205 Vashon, 98070.

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