LONG BEACH — The peninsula community is being challenged to fund its food banks this holiday season.
The Loren H. Corder foundation will match up to $10,000 in donations to each of the local food banks in Chinook, Ilwaco and Ocean Park. The foundation is hoping to make a total gift to all three food banks of $60,000, with $20,000 going to each individual food bank.
Chuck Mikkola, treasurer for the Corder Foundation, talked about the reaction of the head of the Chinook Food Bank, Kathy Hughes.
“I said, ‘Hey would you like some money to fund the food bank?’ and she just started crying on the phone,” Mikkola said.
Amazing matching gift
It was an amazing gift, Hughes said. The Corder Foundation made a donation in 2018, but the idea to encourage a match is wonderful, she said. And it was an emotional moment for Hughes, because the food bank needs those donations to run.
“You know, we have some very slim weeks, believe me,” Hughes said. “We can only do what we can do, but our people are very appreciative.”
Hughes said people who use the food bank have a variety of stories.
“One woman called me here and said ‘My husband would be horrified if he knew I was doing this, but we’ve hit on a difficult time,’” Hughes said. “‘I just don’t have enough money to last out the month for food.’”
Hughes told her to “Say no more,” got her to the food bank and loaded the woman up with what the bank had on hand. It is impossible to know everyone’s story, Hughes said.
New location in Ilwaco
And for the Ilwaco Food Bank, which just moved to a new location, the matching idea couldn’t have come at a better time, said Rachel Gana, who heads the food bank.
The Ilwaco Food Bank moved on Saturday, Nov. 16, to the building that used to house The Portside Cafe, 303 First Ave. The new space is about twice as big as the food bank’s previous location, which was across the street from the Ilwaco Pharmacy.
The old location meant people had to wait in line outside for food and some of the donated food had to be kept in a shed outside the main building, Gana said. The old building cost about $10,000 a year in rent and utilities. Gana expects the new space to increase by about $1,000 a year in rent and utilities, totaling $11,000 a year to maintain the space.
The new space should have room for chairs and tables for people to sit at while they wait. And Gana reached out to local schools to ask if any of their art classes would be willing to paint a mural on the windows of the building.
“Instead of curtains or the fashionable blue tarps like we have now,” Gana said.
The food banks find creative ways to stretch their dollars, Gana said. And having extra cash flow means being able to take advantage of sales when they happen.
The Ilwaco Food Bank is trying to meet the needs of anyone who calls St. Vincent de Paul for a Thanksgiving basket. When it was open on Wednesday, Nov. 13, the Ilwaco food bank gave out about 100 baskets. Each basket contained a half a turkey, cranberry sauce and other Thanksgiving meal fixings. Gana has given away an additional basket a day since then, she said.
OP stays very busy
The Ocean Park Food Bank helps feed 1,500 people each month. During its most recent fiscal year, it served 5,810 families, comprising 15,782 individuals — 100 more families than the prior year. Food distributions totaled 203,627 pounds in Ocean Park in the 2018-19 period.
The food banks will not be open on Thanksgiving day, but a free community Thanksgiving meal will be held on Thanksgiving Day from noon to 3 p.m. at the Elks Club, 110 Pacific Ave. N, Long Beach and on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the Family Worship Center, 26310 Ridge Ave, Ocean Park.
The Corder Foundation was created by the will of Loren H. Corder and became a charity with his death in 1988. Since then, the foundation has donated more than $2.4 million to food banks, Pace Nutrition, Rebuilding Together, the South Pacific County Humane Society and the Loyalty Day parade in addition to other community projects.
The Chinook Observer will publish updates on the progress of the donations each week. The donation deadline is Dec. 20. In order to track donations, the foundation asks that people send their donations to the Loren H. Corder Foundation, P.O. Box 607, Long Beach, WA 98631.