The pandemic has stressed our national food pantry programs. Many had been run by older volunteers who could not safely serve when Covid arrived. Others found sourcing products challenging. This occurred all while customer bases doubled then quadrupled.

The Orcas Island Food Bank faced all these challenges. A year into the pandemic it is an organization transformed. They embraced the difficulties and doubled down, sourcing more food locally, strengthening partnerships, expanding hours, and providing ample food for over 200 families every week. A great example of their community mindset is their soup program.  Volunteers glean farms for produce that is still good, but not necessarily pretty enough to sell. They use this produce to make huge batches of soup at Camp Orkila, which is then frozen in quart containers and distributed to their customers.

Their efforts have been noticed and appreciated. Recently, OICF received a $250,000 anonymous donation for the Orcas Island Food Bank. The donor praised the Food Bank’s efforts supporting local bakeries and farmers. This gift will help support those efforts and more. This represents a great way to honor the hard work of so many. Thanks also to the Orcas Island Community Church, which has opened up its building for food storage and continues to be a gracious host for the Food Bank program. Much thanks also to Island Market and the Orcas Food Coop for keeping the Food Bank shelves well-stocked.

Working together, creatively, in service to the community — thank you to all who volunteer, donate, bake, and grow to make this possible.

Stay well,