Annual Walk & Knock food drive Saturday

Food bank warehouse hungry for donations

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian social issues & neighborhoods reporter

Published:

 

InterService Walk & Knock Food Drive

What: Clark County’s biggest all-volunteer, single-day food drive.

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Throughout the county. Put donations out at your doorstep by 9 a.m.

Donations: Nonperishable items such as canned meats and fish, canned or boxed meals (soup, chili, macaroni and cheese), canned or dried beans and peas, pasta, cereals, rice, canned fruits and juices, canned vegetables, baking mixes and cooking oils.

Volunteering and information: Call 877-995-6625 or go to http://www.walkandknock.org.

To donate money: Send a check made payable to Interservice Walk & Knock, P.O. Box 353, Vancouver, WA 98666.

Clark County Food Bank grand opening

What: Official opening of the county’s first food bank building.

When: 1 to 7 p.m. Tuesday; ribbon-cutting and remarks from County Commissioner Marc Boldt at 1 p.m.

Where: 6502 N.E. 47th Ave.

The first Saturday in December is always a special occasion for the folks who operate the Clark County Food Bank. That’s because the first Saturday in December is the annual Interservice Walk & Knock, the massive homegrown food drive that helps stock local food pantry shelves and feed hungry people for months.

This year’s Walk & Knock is more remarkable than usual, because it’s the first time all that donated food will be unpacked, stored, organized and shipped out again at a new $4.2 million facility. That’s the Clark County Food Bank’s new headquarters, a warehouse and distribution center with offices and meeting space in a Minnehaha industrial park.

At 22,000 square feet, the new building is a serious step up from the 8,000 feet of leased space in Hazel Dell that the food bank has long struggled to squeeze inside.

“This will be the first lot of food to move through our facility,” said spokesman Monty Zach. “We’re going to hold off for one day on distributing it so, on Tuesday when we have our grand opening, the entire Walk & Knock bounty is on display.”

After that, it’ll be shipped out to the many local food pantries and soup kitchens that feed hungry people every day. Now in its 27th year, Walk & Knock has become the biggest single blast of food the Clark County Food Bank receives. Last year set a record, with 331,340

pounds — almost 166 tons — collected Dec. 4, 2010.

Given the ongoing Great Recession and the skyrocketing need for emergency food, organizers are always hoping to set new records.

“We’re hoping to break the record again,” said Walk & Knock President Joe Pauletto. “We understand there are givers last year who are receivers this year. That sort of thing calls for the rest of us to step up even more.”

Here’s how you can help: Pack a bag with canned goods and other nonperishable items and leave it on your doorstep, porch or driveway early on Saturday. Thousands of volunteers will fan out across the county beginning at 9 a.m. to gather it and bring it back to the food bank.

Canned tuna, canned meats, peanut butter, rice, beans, soup, cereal, elbow macaroni, powdered milk, baby food, diapers and toiletries are all welcome. Bags can also be dropped off at many community locations. Cash donations are always welcome.

To make a cash donation or learn more about Walk & Knock, visit http://walkandknock.org.

Then, if you feel like capping it all off with a celebration of Clark County’s giving spirit, come check out the new Clark County Food Bank building during its grand opening. That’s set for 1 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at 6502 N.E. 47th Ave.