The North County Community Food Bank in Battle Ground is doing what they can to provide families with a Christmas dinner.
Executive Director Liz Cerveny said December is always the food bank’s busiest month because the need in the community is higher.
“It’s getting colder, and everyone always thinks about Christmas dinner with the kids and the family,” Cerveny said.
She said in the latter part of November, the food bank had 90 new households who signed up for services. For the month of December, the food bank currently has 65 households signed up.
For the families’ Christmas baskets, North County Food Bank is committed to giving each of them a well-deserved meal. Cerveny said the baskets will include a large turkey for a big family, turkey breasts for smaller families, and large chickens.
“In addition to that, what we try to do is stuffing, as much fresh produce as we can obtain, flour, baking supplies, potatoes, and other basic Christmas foods,” she said. “We also give brown rice to diabetic clients instead of stuffing, so they can keep their blood sugar down. We just want to give a family a small celebration for Christmas.”
Toys and books will also be included in some of the boxes, depending on the amount the food bank has on hand.
Cerveny said the volunteers always enjoy giving back during the month of December.
“I think it just fills their hearts to serve and put smiles on families’ faces, especially when helping those that are brand new to us,” she said.
Cerveny said some new clients come forward from a place of desperation because they haven’t needed to ask for help before, so the food bank helps educate people on available resources and works to address the struggles each family faces.
“Whether it’s medical, housing, or whatever else it might be, we can at least direct them in a proper fashion,” Cerveny said.
The COVID-19 pandemic is still playing a factor in the uptick in clients the food bank has seen, but Cerveny believes it’s nowhere near as prevalent as it was last year.
“I think most of the new clients that we’re seeing are more of the individuals that are being impacted with evictions, rental issues, or their job has come to an end,” she said. “For some, it’s a shortage of hours or transportation and distribution issues that are impacting their job. Some of the hours are being cut down in a variety of places, so that trickles down and impacts families. During this time of year, when everything is more expensive not only in the grocery store, but gas and utilities, it just hits even harder.”
Other issues contributing to the increased need include the lifting of the rent moratorium in the state. Cerveny said the resources aren’t as plentiful and options are limited since federal funding is now lower.
“Across the nation, we’ll continue to see that trend increase, and I can’t even fathom what we’ll be looking at in another six months,” Cerveny said.
Those who need help can look to the Clark County Council for the Homeless resource guide online at councilforthehomeless.org/clark-county-resource-guide.
It is available in multiple languages and broken into topical information like childcare, mental health, clothing, household goods, and other sectors.
“It makes it easy access for anyone so they can immediately put that on their phone app, desktop, or just have that resource close at hand for whenever they need to look something up,” Cerveny said.
For those who want to sign up for a Christmas basket, call 360-687-5007 or email execu
firstname.lastname@example.org. Client service hours are Monday through Friday from 9 to 11:15 a.m. and Monday through Thursday afternoons from 1:30 to 3:15 p.m.
The food bank is located at 17 NE Third Ave. in Battle Ground, on the corner of Third Avenue and First Street.
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