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What can food banks use? Hams and turkeys

SNOHOMISH COUNTY — It’s T-minus two weeks to T-Day.
The two winter holidays associated with hearty dinners can be tough on struggling families.
Depending on your pick, it takes at least a turkey, a ham or a whole chicken to have a traditional Thanksgiving meal, and then a similar act happens 27 days later for Christmas dinner.
Food banks stock up for the holidays, but they cannot do it alone, and each has differing needs.
Food banks are meant to supplement households, not be the sole source for groceries. But for families, a food bank’s assistance helps give relief if food stamps run short or the budget is under duress. Food banks today try to reproduce a grocery shopping experience to help give visitors a personal feel.

Snohomish Community Food Bank
Food bank director Elizabeth Grant would “love some bigger turkeys for our bigger families” that will be among the 280 families she anticipates will be picking up food for Thanksgiving this year. The food bank last week is 88 turkeys short overall.
Grant will take turkeys of all sizes. She also has families that cook a whole chicken for the holiday, and can use those, too.
Great giving options are muffin mix, cereal, canned fruit and vegetables, pasta sauce, various vegetables, and dog food.
A special request is frozen pies for the holidays. They won’t go to waste, Grant said.
The Snohomish Community Food Bank feeds 290 people a week.
Donors should mark Friday, Nov. 22 at noon for the deadline for Thanksgiving, and Dec. 20 for Christmas.
The food bank doesn’t have a drop box anymore, but can take donations on Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and any other weekday from 9 a.m. to noon. Call 360-568-7993 for large donations or to register for Thanksgiving service.

Maltby Food Bank
The Maltby Food Bank has 160 families registered
especially for Thanksgiving and serves approximately 110 per week.
“We need 20 hams” or cash to buy them, director Natalie Oswald said, to fulfill a few requests for ham. They’re good on turkeys. The Maltby Food Bank also can use gravy, dinner rolls, and fresh produce, and are always looking for canned meats such as tuna, fresh produce, and jellies and jams.
They can take store-bought jellies and jams, but regretfully must reject homemade goods, Oswald said.
Most clients are regular visitors. “All our clients are one big family,” Oswald said.
The food bank has bins around the Clearview-Maltby areas at some stores, and also takes donations on Tuesdays from 10 to 2. For other times, call 360-668-7900.
The food bank is at 21104 86th Ave. SE, Snohomish. There’s also a barrel.
Christmas is just around the corner and the food bank would like to distribute unwrapped gifts for children ages 6 to 18. Its Christmas distribution party is Dec. 14.

Sky Valley Food Bank
One hundred whole chickens could suffice for Thanksgiving for families, and 100 hams can go a long way, too. “We don’t have any (hams) right now,” food bank director Cindy Chessie said.
But she knows that when there’s a need, the community steps up.
Extra food can help for lulls in spring, but cash is king. “We always need cash donations — we have tremendous buying power” through Northwest Harvest and Food Lifeline.
It serves approximately 1,000 families each month, representing 3,500 people in Monroe and some pockets eastward such as Index.
The numbers have stayed steady, Chessie said.
For Thanksgiving, the food bank served 279 families last year, representing 1,000 individuals.
Thanksgiving services will be on Wednesday, Nov. 20 in the late afternoon, and Friday, Nov. 22 and Monday, Nov. 25 in the morning. Call 360-794-7959 to register.
The Sky Valley Food Bank is at 233 Sky River Parkway. Check donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 724, Monroe, WA, 98272; food bank organizers can also take donations online at
For Christmas, the food bank is hosting a giving tree program. Find a child’s name on trees at places such as Galaxy Theatre, Speedway Chevrolet, Artisan Foodworks or Coastal Community Bank in Monroe. The toy giveaway is Dec. 14.

Volunteers of America Food Bank in Everett
The Volunteers of America might have armloads of turkeys, but it can always use everyday foods for its clients.
It is looking for canned fruits; healthy soups and stews;  broths; canned salmon, tuna, and chicken; peanut butter; and whole grain cereals.
The annual Stuff-A-Bus food and toy drive is coming up from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 30, Dec. 1, and Dec. 7 and 8 and 14 and 15 at the Murphy’s Corner Fred Meyer, 12906 Bothell-Everett Highway. The annual haul brought more than 6,000 pounds of food last year.
The VOA Food Bank in Everett is at 1230 Broadway.
In 2015, the VOA was serving approximately 3,000 families, about 10,000 individuals per month.

Salvation Army Food Bank
The Salvation Army Food Bank relies heavily on donations, Captain Andrea Reedy said. For the holiday season, the Salvation Army is looking for turkey, ham, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and canned yams, plus any other holiday food.
It also can use nonperishables.
The food bank is in Everett at 2525 Rucker Ave. It can take donations during its open hours each weekday: Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.



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