The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Brianna Wray
the Times 

Waitsburg Resource Center Provides Help to Locals Year-Round

Volunteers are especially busy with special activities for the holiday season

 

November 22, 2018

Brianna Wray

First graders from Mrs. Hinchliffe's class lined up with their donations for the Waitsburg Resource Center Thursday. Together they raised over 130 items and learned the value of giving.

WAITSBURG-Volunteer Jenny Jones at the Waitsburg Resource Center found the doorway crowded Thursday by local first graders lined up with donations.

Mrs. Hinchliffe's class held a food drive, asking for Thanksgiving donations of nonperishable foods. In just over seven days, the group was able to gather 130 items, more than they could hold. Luckily the group brought along a wagon to shoulder the weight.

The Resource Center now receives about 7,000 pounds of food annually as in-kind donations from local clubs such as the Lions Club, the Waitsburg Odako Club, the Order of the Eastern Star, the Waitsburg Classic Car Club, Walla Walla & Columbia County School Retirees, Waitsburg High Honor Society, Mrs. Hinchliffe's class at Waitsburg Elementary, as well as students at Preston Hall Middle School and Waitsburg High School, Banner Bank, and the Post Office.

To round out the selection of donated items, Resource Center board member Marge Benson makes monthly orders for food from the Blue Mountain Action Council in Walla Walla, Second Harvest and Feeding America.

Families in need are invited in to make their own selections. "This is one of the few food banks left where people get to choose what they get," says Jones, "There's certain criteria they have follow, but they get to choose, which is empowering."

The Resource Center serves 511 families each year, providing nearly 16,000 pounds of food per year -about eight tons.

One of 19 volunteers, Jones says she's been at it for a couple years, "I started by accident and am thoroughly totally and completely involved now.

"I volunteer quite a bit of my time," Jones continued "I'm usually here to unload the trucks and I also come in and divvy up certain products that we get in bulk that we bag, such as coffee, flour and sugar."

The Resource Center's members provide snacks for the Weller Public Library Storytime, service a weekend food program for 25 children, Thanksgiving dinners, free lunches and an activity for children during Christmas break.

The resources don't end at food. The resource center functions as a haven, with information to meet the needs of community members. They sponsor the free dental van, emergency preparedness blankets and flashlights housed with the fire department. They also have an annual coat drive, offering free coats as winter temperatures set in.

On Dec. 1, from 9 - 11 a.m., the Resource Center will also provide Christmas Stockings for all children, with the help of the Columbia/Walla Walla Co. Fire District 2.

The Resource Center is overseen by its board members: Pastor Bret Moser, Bethany Moser, Pastor Matt Wyatt, Mary Mathews, Ted and Lavonne Bren, Heather Duncan, Jerry and Karla Scott, Pam Conover and Marge Benson.

The Resource Center originated in 1991 as a food bank held in the basement of the Christian Education Building, created by Anita Baker, Dona Jean Smith and Betty Lou Branson.

In 2010 the food bank had the opportunity to relocate to its current site on the side of the Banner Bank building at Main Street and Preston Avenue.

The Waitsburg Resource Center is a 501 (c)3, non-profit organization.

 

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