Bonney Lake Food Bank to get much-needed makeover

The food bank building hasn’t been painted in 13 years, ever since the Boney Lake Resource Center took over operations. Photo by Ray Still.

The Bonney Lake Food Bank is in for a little spruce-up, thanks to a local girl scout.

McKenna Sax, a Bonney Lake resident and senior at the Annie Wright School in Tacoma, is organizing four straight days of painting the food bank building to earn her Gold Award, the highest honor that can be given to a girl scout and the equivalent of the Eagle Scout badge.

After spending 13 years in the Girl Scouts, Sax is no stranger to performing community service, but she did say she struggled to find a project worthy enough of the Gold Award.

“I had a few different ideas, but they didn’t pan out,” she said. “Then I thought of the food bank, because I had volunteered there, and I knew of the area and the building and the condition it was in.”

It’s been more than a decade since the Food Bank building was painted.

According to Gary Leaf, the city’s special project manager and Sax’s advisor for this project, the building was first built in 1977 with all recycled materials.

It was owned privately, but the city purchased the building in the 1990s.

A food bank, operated by a couple of church organizations, opened in 1999.

The building was last painted in 2004, when the churches left the food bank “business.” Bonney Lake Community Resources stepped in, and has been in charge of the food bank ever since.

Sax has volunteered at the food bank on and off for two-and-a-half years, helping individuals and families calculate the amount of food they can take, as well as help them package it up and take inventory.

She said the food bank community, both the volunteers and those who utilize the food bank’s services, is very compassionate.

“Once, a lady came through and she had a family of four, so technically, she could get three bottles of spaghetti sauce. And she said, ‘No, I’ll take two and someone else can have it who needs it more than I do,” said Sax. “I was so struck by that, because these people already don’t have enough, and the fact that they’re coming in and saying they don’t need that, someone can have it – I wanted to be a part of that.”

Sax’s goal is to help the food bank better reflect its community by giving the building some much-needed TLC.

“If you look at the buildings around the food bank, they’re very well kept. And the food bank is kind of ostracized in the fact that it’s not well kept,” she said. “I think that’s sad, and it reflects on our community too – not only the people at the food bank but also the community around it.”

Providing materials for the project is Bonney Lake’s Sherwin-Williams, and the Enumclaw Painting Company is volunteering professionals who will be allowed to paint the top of the building – a task that normal volunteers wouldn’t be allowed to perform.

Her fellow scouts will also be helping, but they’ve been tasked with organizing a food drive on-site to collect food for the food bank.

All Sax needs now are people willing to give just a few hours of their day to help her paint the building.

The project is slated to begin Friday, May 5, but only the professionals at Enumclaw Painters will be starting their portion of the project.

Volunteers would come May 6 and 7 for three two-hour shifts (a morning and afternoon shift on Saturday and a morning shift on Sunday, plus a small celebration) in order to get three coats of paint laid down.

Sax said she’s capping the number of volunteers on each of those shifts at 40 people.

For the final day, May 8, Sax and Enumclaw Painters will go over the building one more time to make sure everything is ship shape.

Sax also plans on making a video of the entire project to show off to the Bonney Lake City Council sometime in June.

To volunteer for this project or for more information, Sax can be contacted at mckennacoco@comcast.net.