Off Beat: Emergency calls at fire station fail to alarm food bank staff

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The Lewis River Mobile Food Bank has enlisted lots of partners in its mission to feed hungry people in north Clark County.

The four alternating hosts include two fire stations: View Fire Station, 37604 N.E. 119th Ave. (first Sunday of the month) and Fire District 2, 314 N.W. 389th St. (second Sundays).

It can make for an interesting game plan on food bank day, said Candice Howell, one of the organizers. When they were at the Fire District 2 facility a few weeks ago, it was good that they kept the building's primary goal in mind.

"It is definitely an active fire station," said Howell. "There is a certain way we have to set up, to make sure we don't impede the operation of the fire station."

That strategy came in handy when the fire department had to answer an afternoon emergency call while food bank volunteers were doing their 2-4 p.m. distribution.

"I think it was the first time a call has happened" in the middle of a mobile food bank session, Howell said.

The other sites are at Yacolt Evangelical Free Church, 509 W. Cushman (third Sundays) and La Center Evangelical Free Church, 111 E. Fifth St. (fourth Sundays). And they can bring other things to the table, so to speak.

At one of the churches, the food bank schedule coincided with a congregation potluck.

"They had their coffee urns going, and our clients were able to access hot drinks while waiting for the food bank," Howell said.

"You never know where a generous offer will present itself," she continued. A Battle Ground women's group held a fundraising event that included donations of canned food.

But that wasn't the only food that Howell left with.

"Some food was left over, and they asked if I could use it," she said. At the next food bank site, "I heated up quiche and served it to our clients while they waited in line. They liked it."-- Tom Vogt

Off Beat lets members of The Columbian news team step back from our newspaper beats to write the story behind the story, fill in the story or just tell a story.