Food banks around Bonney Lake serve large numbers

Signs of economic tough times hit home last week when food banks in Bonney Lake, Prairie Ridge and Sumner distributed more than 600 food baskets for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Val King and Stew Bowen

Val King and Stew Bowen

Signs of economic tough times hit home last week when food banks in Bonney Lake, Prairie Ridge and Sumner distributed more than 600 food baskets for the Thanksgiving holiday.

While those numbers may sound large, the communities’ outpouring of generosity was equal to the cause, said Stew Bowen, director of the Bread of Life and Bonney Lake food banks.

Volunteers at Bread of Life distributed food baskets to 98 families on Nov. 25. The following day, 138 families signed in at the Bonney Lake Food Bank.

The total number was equal to what both food banks served accumulatively last year for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The agencies are seeing an increase in first-time recipients.

“Every time we open, we’re seeing new faces,” Bowen said. “There are circumstances in families’ lives that bring them here – whether it’s a change in marriage, health or something to do with their job. We’re seeing the economic stress on marriages, with several single dads and moms coming in for help.

Something Bowen noticed that’s new to food bank circles is how the economy has forced some families to consolidate households.

“We’re seeing children moving back in with parents, siblings moving in with each other and friends moving in with friends just because it’s tough out there,” Bowen said.

One of those families was Alma and her husband – unable to work due to a debilitating disease – and their daughter, who was fortunate to move in with a family member after Alma lost her job in April when the company she worked for shut down. With an annual income near $100,000, the family’s lives were turned upside down. They lost their home as a result.

“I haven’t been able to find work anywhere,” she said. Yet she didn’t complain. “But we’re doing OK.”

At Sumner’s St. Andrews’ Food bank, Food Pantry Coordinator Arlene Evavold has noticed an increased need this holiday season.

“We’re seeing quite a significant increase of 40 to 60 percent in clients per month compared to a few months ago,” she said. “In June, we saw 370 people; the average was about 175 per month. We’re seeing people who just aren’t making their bills, so they need the extra food to make it through. We don’t turn anybody away.”

St. Andrew’s Thanksgiving basket distribution was made possible through networking with community nonprofits, such as Calvary Community Church in Sumner, which donated 250 turkeys and 60 hams.

“Calvary did the food drive and we supplemented,” she said.

The Sumner Food Bank also offered an exchange of food and the Sumner Family Center, sponsored by the Sumner School District, also joined hands with St. Andrews by providing names of families in need, she said.

“We gave our people lots of food – not just Thanksgiving dinner,” she said. “We had fresh fruit, vegetables, pasta, soups and cereal.

If the recipients were thankful for the generous gifts, Evavold said she and the other St. Andrews’ volunteers were equally grateful for the chance to serve.

“They probably do more for us than we’ll ever do for them,” she said. “One person who’s very thankful for what you give them just makes your day.”

Reach Judy Halone at jhalone@courierherald.com or 360-802-8210.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in News

A student in Jody Emerson’s third grade class at Southwood Elementary listens in. Photo by Alex Bruell
Plateau students head back to class

Even in a life-changing pandemic, a kid is still a kid.

Provided by the City of Enumclaw, this map shows the ironman bike route where it cuts through the core of the city.
Road closures and detours during Sunday’s ironman race through Enumclaw

Some local streets will be affected by the race.

Map of proposed landfill expansion sites (screenshot from King County website)
Waste management expert knocks county’s plan to expand landfill

The waste management advocate said the decision to expand seems pre-determined despite assessment.

This image was shared by the King County Sheriff’s Office in announcing they had identified the driver in the fatal hit-and-run of a Maple Valley man. COURTESY PHOTO, King County Sheriff’s Office
King County Sheriff’s Office released this photo of the Toyota Camry that reportedly hit and killed a Maple Valley man in July. COURTESY PHOTO, King County Sheriff’s Office
SeaTac girl, 15, charged with second-degree murder in jogger’s death

Reportedly used her vehicle to ‘scare him’ while driving in Maple Valley

file photo
State employees including first responders sue state over vaccine mandate

The lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 90 plaintiffs claims Inslee’s order is unconstitutional.

Police lights
Enumclaw, Black Diamond police blotter | Aug. 24 – Sept. 8 |

Shoplifting, thefts and reports of drug paraphernalia.

Photo by Ashley Britschgi 
Jaeda Walker eyes her wooden ax throw.
Log show returns, first with the kids

The main event returns this weekend with ax throwing, log rolling and more.

Mandates and missions: How local organizations are gearing up for vaccine deadline

Gov. Inslee says many government workers must be vaccinated by Oct. 18. What will that look like?

Most Read