The annual Interservice Walk & Knock of Clark County is back with porch pickup this year following a pandemic-caused hiatus, and organizers are seeking volunteers to help.
Residents across Clark County can put bags of food and toiletries on their porch to be picked up by volunteers beginning at 9 a.m. Dec. 3.
“It’s been three years since we had our last porch pickup in 2019,” said Tom Knappenberger, president of the organization since 2018. “So we’re really pushing getting volunteers back.”
This year marks the 38th annual Interservice Walk & Knock of Clark County, which did not shut down during the pandemic but shifted its model to using drop sites instead of porch pickups. In the past two years, food donations were down about half, though the organization did see more monetary donations than in previous years, according to Knappenberger.
Knappenberger is hoping to get more volunteers signed up to help with porch pickups. Those interested in volunteering for a few hours on Dec. 3 can sign up at walkandknock.org/volunteer/register-to-volunteer.
The Interservice Walk & Knock of Clark County is the nation’s largest local one-day food drive, according to Knappenberger. Since the drive began in 1985, it has collected more than 8.8 million pounds of food and $15.8 million in donations, according to a press release.
In Clark County, more than 100,000 people are food insecure, according to the Clark County Food Bank, which distributes 8 million pounds of food and 6.7 million meals a year. Some of that food comes from the annual Interservice Walk & Knock of Clark County.
“There’s a huge need in Clark County. I think of it as an invisible problem,” Knappenberger said.
Food and monetary donations collected during the one-day drive are distributed to food banks across Clark County.
FISH of Vancouver usually receives between 10,000 and 15,000 pounds of food from the drive, according to Executive Director James Fitzgerald.
“(The donations) can last up to a couple months as we sort through it and give it out to people in need. It is a huge boost for us to get us through the holidays and into the new year,” Fitzgerald said. “FISH is so thankful for Walk & Knock and all they do to raise food for the county pantries.”
From 2020 to 2021, FISH of Vancouver served over 13,000 households and distributed around 1 million pounds of food, according to its website.
Once volunteers collect donations from porches across the county, they will be brought to one of 10 drop sites where other volunteers will load up semitrucks to bring the donations to local food banks.
“They’re kind of unsung heroes,” Knappenberger said. “They don’t get much publicity, but these trucking companies donate the trucks and the drivers’ time.”
Those wishing to donate money can do so online at walkandknock.org or mail a check payable to Interservice Walk & Knock to P.O. Box 353, Vancouver, WA 98666.
Drop-off sites will also be set up around the county where people can donate food and toiletries from Nov. 28 through Dec. 9. To find a drop-off location visit walkandknock.org/donate/food-donation-drop-off.
For more information about the food drive, how to volunteer or how to donate visit walkandknock.org.