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Facing Record Demand, City Appeals for Food Pantry Donations

Operated by the Mercer Island Youth and Family Services, over 1,100 visits to the Food Pantry aided roughly 150 local families in 2011.

The (MIYFS) is appealing to Islanders for donations after a busy holiday season depleted supplies.

Although the Island community donated near-record levels of food in 2011, use of the Food Pantry remains high and shelves are again becoming bare, according to a city press release.

Throughout the fall and into Christmas, the Food Pantry is usually well-stocked after consecutive food drives — from the Eastside Month of Concern for the Hungry and The Lakes neighborhood Halloween food drive to the Christmastime Mercer Island Firefighter's food drive. But donations from big food drives only go so far in the face on record demand, and in the past two years MIYFS has already distributed all of those donations by late January/early February.

"We have groups that help us throughout the community ... And we're incredibly grateful for their support," said MIYFS Director Cindy Goodwin. "In this economy, all of us could need this kind of help at any time. We're here and we can help."

MIYFS Project Director Derek Franklin said a number of local churches, businesses, the , scouting organizations and individual residents contribute throughout the year, but told city councilmembers at its January retreat that record demand continues to grow and occasionally requires the department to use an emergency fund to temporarily restock the Food Pantry shelves.

"Use (of the Food Pantry) is increasing, but not as sharply as a few years ago," Franklin said.

He said about 150 families were aided in 2011 and 1,127 bags of food were distributed to Islanders who qualified for help. Residents can visit the Food Pantry on a weekly basis, if necessary. In 2010, 137 families received food and 971 bags were distributed.

The Food Pantry provides basic foods to Mercer Island families who need temporary assistance. The following non-perishable items are requested:

  • boxed cereals
  • canned fruit
  • tuna fish
  • peanut butter
  • rice products
  • pasta products
  • white and red pasta sauce
  • hearty soups

Donations to the Food Pantry are accepted Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at MIYFS located in the Luther Burbank Administration Building in Luther Burbank Park, at 2040 84th Avenue SE.

Donations can also be dropped off at the and the .

For additional information, contact Family Assistance Coordinator Cheryl Manriquez at 206-275-7869 or via email at cheryl.manriquez@mercergov.org.

Charon Gooding February 03, 2012 at 01:29 AM
and you want higher taxes for new schools when these same people need food?

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