Every holiday season, the Bonney Lake Food Bank works to serve food to hundreds of families and households in the area.
However, the food bank has noticed an unnerving trend this fall. The number of families being served are increasing to unprecedented levels while the donation levels are not meeting the new demand.
“Donations are going out as fast as they are coming in,” said Jeanine Ockey-Webb, executive assistant and warehouse manager. “We are booked solid for appointments, and to be booked solid and have 25 walk-ins is pretty intense.”
In 2013, the food bank served an average of 978 households, or 3460 people, between July and October. October was their busiest month in that time frame, serving 1076 households, or 3389 people, in that month alone.
Throughout that same four month period, the amount of donations in pounds averaged to 118,515.35 pounds per month. This calculates to an average of 34.25 pounds of donations per person during that four month period.
This year, the average number of households served between July and October jumped to 1,213, and the average number of people to 4,154.
October was again the busiest month so far this year – 1304 families, or 4410 people, were served that month.
The average poundage of donations for the same four month period was 123,881.2 pounds. This equates to roughly 29.82 pounds of donations per person on average for that four month period, almost 4 1/2 pounds less per person than last year.
Stew Bowen, the director of the Bonney Lake Food Bank, said this is the time the food bank would normally be stocking donations to get through the first quarter of the next year, but instead is finding it difficult to keep food on the shelves.
“It’s difficult for a single-income household to make it right now,” Bowen said. “They have more month than money.”
Bowen hopes that current and upcoming food drives will help with the increase in service numbers.
Dieringer Heights Elementary has raised 800 pounds of food so far, and by print deadline hoped to have 1,000 last Friday.
Bonney Lake High School is wrapping up their food drive, which ended on Nov. 26.
DM Disposal will also be holding a Food Drive Pick-up on Dec. 11. DM Disposal employees will be picking up non-perishable food along their routes and donate the proceeds to the food bank and the Bonney Lake Senior Center.