The Roundup -

Richland County Food Bank Ready to Serve Commutity During Holiday Season

 

December 13, 2017 | View PDF

Richland County Food Bank volunteers are busy preparing for the holiday season. Pictured (L to R), Duane Pust, Gloria Yockim and Dawn Beibl. (Photo by Jordan Hall.)

This holiday season, the Richland County Food Bank is as busy as ever. The Roundup spoke to volunteer Candy Markwald about the organization that exists to feed the hungry of Richland County.

"We average ten families on Monday and 14 to 17 on Thursdays," Markwald said, "and it's an ebb and flow. The quantity of food we give away is based on family size. We look at how many people are in the family group, and people with children receive more than people without children. If someone is frugal, it will last a while."

When asked the purpose of the county food bank, Markwald said, "We are a service assisting those in need, helping one another, and we assist them up to four times a year, emergency use only. We are not to be considered a place people can come to once a week. It is for emergency situations that we are geared towards."

Markwald has been at the food bank 12 years and explained that the food bank, which is operated by a non-profit board, relies on volunteers, saying, "We have a very dedicated small group of people, and are always looking for more dedicated people."

"Everybody who steps in the door is volunteer," she continued. "We are a 501c3 and rely upon the community to give donations, whether it's a can of tuna or a dollar. We count on volunteers to get everything done."

A number of community businesses, churches and organizations support the food bank. According to Markwald, the Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, the Ministerial Association, Faith Alliance Church, and the Sidney Middle School are just some of the organizations who have donated items to the food bank. Money that is donated is used at local grocery stores, IGA and Reynold's supermarkets, whenever they have good sales.

In terms of the food recipients can expect, Markwald said, "They get basically one can of everything, two of some other items. There are items that are protein based, and they get fruits and vegetables, instant potatoes, boxed milk, dried beans and other dried protein products, like rice. Macaroni and cheese is always popular and it is all based on what we have on hand. They get four pounds of hamburger, hotdogs, eggs and bread. If they are a family, they get a gallon milk coupon for IGA."

Those who may take advantage of the community's generosity don't deter the Richland County Food Bank's volunteers. When asked if those who take advantage of them, who may not have the needs they claim, bother her, Markwald explained, "If you went through life worrying about the bad apple, you wouldn't open your door. I think that people who come to this door are in this situation where they need assistance and it's our job to assist people, and not to judge."

To receive assistance from the food bank, the recipient needs to be a resident of Richland County. The board made that decision when, in times past, it was feeding people from McKenzie County and other areas. They have chosen a community-first approach to helping, and therefore require residency.

Markwald explained her reason for involvement with the food bank, saying, "I volunteer because I think there is an absolute need in our community for people to be able to come to a door and know that somebody is going to help them. We hear a lot of life stories, and I go home and think, 'I have a house, I have food, I have a husband, and thank you Lord.' Except for the grace of God, there we all go."

Various agencies refer needy families and individuals to the Richland County Food Bank, but it has been established for so long, most people find them without needing a referral.

The food bank is also busy preparing for an upcoming Christmas for Seniors day, at which they'll do a food giveaway to needy seniors.

Markwald said, "We have our Christmas for Seniors coming up and the date we've picked is the 19th. of December, starting at 9 and ending and noon at Pella Lutheran Church. That's for those seniors who need just a little bit more help this Christmas."

The number for the Richland County Food Bank is 406-433-8142. They are available by appointment on Mondays and Thursdays.

 

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