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New holiday drive to round up dollars, not turkeys, at Mount Si Food Bank

Mount Si Food Bank volunteers Art Hobbs, left, of Fall City, and Sandy Conway, right, of North Bend, await customers with donated meat and produce on the Oct. 31 distribution day. The food bank is kicking off its annual donation drive, aimed at providing holiday meals to low income families. - Seth Truscott/Staff Photo
Mount Si Food Bank volunteers Art Hobbs, left, of Fall City, and Sandy Conway, right, of North Bend, await customers with donated meat and produce on the Oct. 31 distribution day. The food bank is kicking off its annual donation drive, aimed at providing holiday meals to low income families.
— image credit: Seth Truscott/Staff Photo

Starting a new tradition can be challenging, but the Mount Si Food Bank knows how to handle a challenge.

Last year, the food bank solved its turkey problem -- more turkeys than freezer space -- by borrowing freezer space wherever they could find it.

"We had 'em at the Dairy Freeze, we had 'em at Sahara's Pizza, and some people had them at their homes," said Food Bank Director Heidi Dukich, adding "They're hard to store, they're like bowling balls."

It was a little hectic, but overall, Dukich said it worked out fine, and she allowed that it was actually kind of fun. However, she knows the food bank needs a better plan for its Thanksgiving meal distribution.

Their timing, especially, needs work.

"A lot of these turkeys are frozen," Dukich said. "You give a person a frozen turkey on the day before Thanksgiving, that's not good."

This year, the food bank is launching a couple of new traditions, including the turkey fund drive. People are asked to donate money, either in person or on the food bank's website (http://mtsifoodbank.org) toward the purchase of turkeys for the food bank clients for Thanksgiving.

Also, clients are asked to sign up if they want to have a turkey for Thanksgiving. Turkeys will be distributed a week earlier this year, too, on Nov. 14.

The changes, Dukich said, will solve the "logistical nightmare," of distributing a holiday meal from the tiny facility.

We're bursting at the seams," she said. "We only distribute once a week, so everything needs to be there."

At the same time, she worries about disappointing families who like donating a turkey to the food bank -- which they will, of course, accept, she says.

"It's a really fun thing for the community to do…. and there's more opportunity to feel connected to the food bank when you're bringing food, instead of just money."

To bring some of the fun back, Dukich promised to post the "turkey tally" counter on the website, after the Night on a Dark Trail fundraiser has ended.

Last year, the community donated all of the turkeys they needed, and the food bank didn't have to buy any. For families who want to donate the equivalent of a turkey, Dukich estimated the cost at $15, and said the food bank plans to buy about 300 this year. Not everyone takes a turkey, she said, so they will pass out chickens, too.

 

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