Community Action Skagit County Food Distribution Center in Sedro-Woolley

The Food Distribution Center in Sedro-Woolley.

A grant from the Jack & Shirley McIntyre Foundation will help Community Action of Skagit County provide food to local food banks.

Community Action announced the $100,000 donation earlier this week.

The money is earmarked for the Food Distribution Center, which is located in Sedro-Woolley and serves as a hub for 15 food banks and meal programs throughout the county.

The money will be used to buy food as well as supplies such as sanitizer, soap and gloves.

“The donation is significant,” said Liz Jennings, community engagement manager with Community Action.

She said the foundation approached the nonprofit out of concern about the increased need for food. “They came to us and said ‘Hey, can we help?’ “

Sarah Hess, a board member for the McIntyre Foundation, said she hopes others will give if they’re able.

“We hope other donors may be inspired to donate. We fear this will not be enough money to take care of the longer-term food needs that will arise,” she said in a news release.

Cole Bitzenburg, the Community Action food manager, said potential donors should avoid food drives and instead, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to drive need, donate money. He said $1 can pay for seven pounds of food.

Bitzenburg said partner food pantries are seeing a 20% increase in need. Among those using food banks are some who have never had to before.

Local food banks distributed 387,523 pounds of food in March, including a record-breaking 320,322 pounds provided by the food distribution center. Bitzenburg expects more than 400,000 pounds to be given out in April.

The percentage of food provided by the local distribution center and given out by food banks increased from 70 to 83 percent from February to March. The distribution center purchased an extra $50,000 of dry goods last month in anticipation of greater need in April and May. The center also anticipates purchasing more than 7,000 pounds of local produce.

“This is Skagit County. We take care of people,” Bitzenburg said.

Reporter Trevor Pyle: 360-416-2156, tpyle@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Sports_SVH, Facebook.com/bytrevorpyle

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