The Marysville Community Food Bank had its beginnings in the rectory of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in 1974 when a handful of volunteers got together to distribute food to the hungry and homeless out the back door. Food was stored in a former laundry area, then a bedroom. Between 30 and 40 families a week were served.
Over the years, the food bank operations have grown. In 1987, it was formally organized as a non-profit organization supported by 12 churches in the community, with oversight provided by a Board of Directors. Today, the food bank is a “partnership” supported by 18 community churches, service clubs, schools, businesses, volunteers, and individuals. After a few location changes over the years, the food bank is now located on property owned by the Archdiocese of Seattle, which generously leases the property for $1 a year.
Food is provided from a variety of sources. Local grocery stores contribute excess produce, dairy products, pastry, and bread. Food drives are conducted by schools, churches, garage sales, service clubs, individuals, and many others, including volunteers who glean local farms for fresh produce.
Our lead agency is the Volunteers of America in Everett. As a member of the Snohomish County Food Bank Coalition, the Marysville Community Food Bank receives a small amount of food from the federal TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program) and the state EFAP (Emergency Food Assistance Program). The food bank also receives food purchased by VOA from a percentage of state contributions in food items, from Food Lifeline, and Northwest Harvest.
More than 100 volunteers, along with community sponsors, work hard to provide food to the hungry and homeless in our community. Any needy family may pick up food twice a month, with each distribution containing enough food for nine meals. Larger families receive more than smaller ones. Families and the elderly who need additional assistance are given it. No hungry family is ever turned away. Volunteers also direct clients with special needs to other resources in the area. We serve clients who live in our boundary area and refer others to food banks in their community.
While major food drives are conducted during holiday seasons, it is important to remember that the needs of the hungry in our community continue all year round. A family is no less hungry in July than they are at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The number of client families served by the food bank has grown dramatically.
Volunteers and donation of food and cash are always needed and welcome.