Stanwood Camano Food Bank

The Stanwood Camano Food Bank was one of 10 local nonprofits awarded grant money.

The Stanwood Camano Food Bank is distributing 74% more food than it did a year ago, even as prices it must pay food have skyrocketed by over 150% during the pandemic.

The food bank distributed 113,000 pounds of food in April, up from 65,000 a year prior, according to monthly data from the organization.

"You can see that the need has increased," said Wendy Foster, community outreach specialist with the food bank. "So has the cost of food."

Until the pandemic hit, food could be purchased for 3 cents a pound, she said. Now, the food bank must pay retail prices to stock its shelves. In April 2019, the organization paid about $27,000 for food. This April, that rose to $68,000. 

The bright note is that the community has stepped up so far, Foster said.

"We have more new donors than at any other time in our history," she said.

The community donated more than $249,000 to the food bank in April, and the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians gave $300,000 this month.

The need is showing in other statistics, as well. In April 2019, the organization served about 1,200 children through the Meals for Kids Backpack Program. Now, it is serving about 4,800 children per month. 

Additionally, there has been a 50% increase in families of between four and six people each who need the food bank's assistance, Foster said.

The program's costs have grown from $5,000 per month to $25,000 per month, Foster said.

Meanwhile, supplies to keep everyone safe at the food bank, including gloves, wipes, sprays, sanitizer and paper towels, cost more, as well — an increase from $750 to $2,000 per month.

A challenge to keeping up with the costs is that the public shutdown has taken away many food drives and events that typically fund the organization.

"The generosity of all our donors are crucial," Foster said. "We can keep doing this because of (their) amazing support." 

Learn more, including how to donate and volunteer, at stanwoodcamanofoodbank.org

Wendy Foster is the Community Outreach Specialist for the Stanwood Camano Food Bank.

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