Yes, COVID-19 has made 2020 a grim year.
And eight months into the pandemic, many families and people are still out of work and struggling to provide.
Food Bank Director Debbie Christian sees it up close and personal.
“The need is certainly greater this year, and we are seeing a lot more families,” said Christian.
Now, with the holidays coming up fast — and on top of the usual need — the Food Bank is racing against time to meet the need and make Thanksgiving and Christmas possible for hurting families.
And the need is great.
Cash is what pays for the stuff the Food Bank buys, and Christian had hoped that the annual fundraiser, which in a normal year raises about $65,000 to $75,ooo, would get the organization through the holidays along with the usual need.
Last Friday’s virtual, drive-through, drop-off donation fundraiser at Grace Community Church raised about $44,000, Christian said.
“In a lot of ways, it was a very successful event,” Christian said. “We got $44,000 out of it, which is more than we had anticipated, and it was a great, feel-good event. People came through the parking lot and were excited and happy to be there. They did not get the usual full-meal breakfast, and we didn’t get to tell any part of our story, but people came through.”
The fundraiser is providing a good chunk of the money the Food Bank will need to buy the turkeys, hams and large beef roasts that it never gets enough of via donations.
”We base our numbers on what we had last year, so we need least 1,100 pieces of meat,” Christian said. “We will go out and order what we don’t get in, and usually by the end of October, I have some donations, and then we try and balance things out to get to that 1,100.”
The need is also great for the items the Food Bank still needs to order — or find through donations — like canned yams, gravy in powder form or in jars, Jello, green beans and stuffing mix.
Then there are the special, holiday-brightening sides like olives, maraschino cherries, dry packets of whipping cream and cooking oils.
“We get food that comes in on palettes, and right now, I’ve got enough mushroom soup for both holidays, but if I didn’t, I’d be buying the mushroom soup. I have enough corn for both holidays, but I don’t have enough green beans, so these are the things that are left out now and that I am still scrambling to find,” Christian said.
“I know that I’ll get some turkeys in between now and then because companies that have provided a turkey for every one of their families, some of those families will say, ‘No, give mine to the Auburn Food Bank.’ So I try and balance that with the donations that come in.”
The Auburn community has a big heart, Christian said, adding, “and that’s why I live in Auburn.”
Learn more about the Auburn Food Bank, 930 18th Place NE, at www.theauburnfoodbank.org or call 253-833-8925.