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Food banks adjusting to serve during COVID-19 pandemic, and will need help

Volunteer delivery driver Joni Edelbrock and son Kodi load food boxes in their car
Jim Scolman photo

Volunteer delivery driver Joni Edelbrock and son Kodi load food boxes in their car for deliver to people in Monroe from the Sky Valley Food Bank. The coronavirus restrictions require food banks to adjust. A coalition of nonprofits and local organizations now deliver food each Thursday as part of a “food caravan” that sprouted in late March in Monroe to be able to continue service. When asked about her day job, Joni said,”This is my first time doing this, I run a pre-school, but there’s not much pre-school going on now.” Kodi is a freshman at Monroe High School.

SNOHOMISH COUNTY — Food banks are getting creative and finding new support, as the COVID-19 crisis unfolds and the need for food-service increases. 
Elizabeth Grant, director of the Snohomish Community Food Bank, said the Snohomish site always needs cash donations and could use about one dozen volunteers.
New protocols protect both volunteers and visitors, including a process for food pick-up: A volunteer brings a menu to the parking lot, and clients mark the menu while seated in their cars. The volunteer returns to the food bank and shops for the client, returning to pack food and other items into the trunk. The cart used to bring donations is wiped down when it re-enters the site, Grant said.  
Donations come in through the back door, Monday through Saturday, as always, Grant said. “At this time, we would prefer new products or monetary donations, as we would like to reduce items coming from people’s pantries,” Grant said. 
Sky Valley Food Bank of Monroe has enhanced its delivery program normally reserved for the people who are ill or disabled. It is now doing home delivery for all clients in the Monroe School District. 
Carla Stewart, the administrative director for Sky Valley Food Bank, said donations have dropped significantly with almost no food coming in and cash donations have plummeted in the past month and a half. “Cash is best, as we are working with a skeleton crew to do emergency food boxes right now, and we have very specific needs,” Stewart said. 
The best way to donate is through the website at, or mail a check to Sky Valley Food Bank, P.O. Box 724, Monroe, WA 98272. Non-perishable food can be dropped off in the food barrel, in the front of the Monroe Boys & Girls Club, 261 Sky River Parkway.
“Our normal procedure is a shopping model,” she said. They closed the week prior and tried a drive-through service, but “we needed too many volunteers to make that happen, so we started our home delivery service.”  
She said the current plan is to deliver boxes of non-perishable foods to households every Thursday. Families in the Monroe School District who need food can call the Food Bank at 360-794-7959 to be added to the delivery list.  
The food bank is also working with the school district to make sure kids continue to receive weekend emergency backpacks, and also extra food to get through the week.
The best way to help right now, she said, is “help us with funding to buy the food we need and keep paying our bills!  We don’t need volunteers at the moment, but that could change quickly, so if people want to help with our food delivery, call us and we’ll put you on the list.  We are currently getting help with the food delivery from Cascade Church, Christ the King Church, Take the Next Step, Orange Star Farms, and the Monroe School District.”
In Everett, Volunteers of America Director of Development Jessica Moore said that “the need is incredibly high right now.”
The VOA’s most needed items are canned chicken, tuna, fruit, and soups that are either canned or packaged; bottled water; cereal and breakfast items; baby food and formula; diapers; boxed dinners; healthy kid-friendly snacks; and snack bars.
The VOA Food Bank, at 1230 Broadway, accepts food donations Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
When donors arrive to drop off food they can knock on the door and someone will come out to assist, Moore said. The building is closed to the public at this time and they have be serving the community from the parking lot, she said. 
For cash donations, donate online at or mail checks or money orders to: VOAWW, P.O. Box 839, Everett, WA 98206.



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